Sweethearts at the Bench

Lovebirds July 29Yesterday I knit in the hot mid-afternoon sun wearing my big floppy hat and a copious slathering of sunscreen.  I watched three crows hanging out on the electric line for a while, cawing to one another.  I wonder if that is how we sound from outer space?  My Democrat friend drove by and asked me, “Aren’t you hot?” and I told her I was okay.  She had a car accident not too long ago, and has had neck and back pain.  She works so hard in July, recruiting people to march with her in parades every weekend.  She is truly a civic servant.

The sky and water shone a beautiful blue hue.  I like uneventful knits like this one, breathing space.  In a crazed culture like ours, it is radical to take one hour just to be, and I’m grateful for any excuse.

When I arrived at the intersection on Tuesday, the bench was occupied by a couple of sweethearts who were reading a book together.  I didn’t have the heart to ask them to move, so I sat on a low brick wall and knitted there instead.  I snapped a photo of them unawares.  A man told me that I was the only person he had ever seen sitting on the bench until now, and that the couple was reading a book of New Yorker comics which seemed appropriate somehow.  After half an hour, the couple got up and came over to introduce themselves to me.  Then another young WWU couple came and joined us.  I was happy to realize that the magic of community isn’t contingent on the location.  It has happened so consistently at the bench, I had almost begun to ascribe to it talismanic powers!

This third year of knitting, the message I am consistently getting is “let go.”  I let go of the knit rope after it got tangled up in the street sweeper, and watched it rip in two.  That required another letting go–of my desire that the rope should arrive at the ocean, whole and unbroken.  Then I had to let go of my dream of becoming a full-time artist at the end of a year, a time span that was unreasonable and crazymaking.  Now, I feel I’m being asked to let go of my dream of finding a partner.  The vision of the young couple enjoying themselves on MY bench was bitter, touching an ache for intimacy that in 36 years has never been fulfilled.  My desire has reached a fevered pitch recently, and that is the sign that it’s time to once again let go.  Recently, I told C. about some of the struggles I’ve been having, and she said, “Some people have a need to be in control more than others–I’m one of them.”  Ugh, it’s true for me too.  I never wanted to discover this control freak in myself.  Just when I think I’ve got the plot figured out, it takes a new twist, and that makes me NUTS.  I want the fairy tale ending and I want to know about it in advance–thank you very much–the prince will rescue Rapunzel, Ulysses will return for Penelope.  Letting go this week has felt like dying.  I’ve washed my heart with tears, but it feels softer now as if several jagged stones have shaken loose.

I feel light, I feel hope, I feel joy.


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