Saturday, September 29, 2012
It was a Rosemary Day yesterday, a precious day spent with my granddaughter as we continue getting to know each other. Nearly six weeks old, she is beginning to focus her world. We spent a quiet day experiencing it together. As we walked around the block, I looked at the houses and streets comprising her neighborhood. I smiled good morning to a fellow clearing his yard and nodded hello to another morning traveler. She slept snuggled safely on my chest, breathing in fall's fresh air. We sat in her backyard garden, listening to bird song surrounded by the still-green of early autumn. We lounged in her bedroom, standing by the window to follow the light, gliding in the corner chair, and studying the shape and brightness of her toys. Her world opens as each day is unwrapped.
I am getting to know this daughter of my son--the shape of her head and her mouth, the slope of her nose and the drape of her neck, the delicacy of her hands and feet. Her mama tells me her body temperature "runs hot" like her daddy's, and after our walk with her little body next to mine, I change her diaper and see some dots of prickly heat on her chest; her mother was right, but then mothers always know best. After a little trial and error I discover a good place and posture to feed her a bottle (freshly pumped that morning) and she takes it (wonder of wonders!), drinking it down to the last drop. I hold her, talk to her, breathe in the perfume of her and dream of all the days ahead...it is a wonderful life, sweet Rosemary. Welcome to it....
Monday, September 24, 2012
For the past week or so, my nightly needle time passed with my hands holding a different kind of needle, an embroidering needle instead of knitting needles. It has been decades since this hoop held fabric, but lately I have been noticing more and more projects appearing which combine floss, canvas, and various forms of needlework. I found a project that looked useful and fun and I went at it, making X after X. The feel of the needle and the rhythm of the stitch came back rather quickly.
Just in time for scary season...two Franks, fresh off the hoop! Happy Fall everyone!
Friday, September 21, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
"We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come."
Today I begin living the seventh decade of my life. Today I leave my 50’s behind and begin life in my 60’s. Today, I am 60 years old. Oh. My. Goodness.
I have lived long enough for seven men to occupy the White House. 1952, the year of my birth, was an election year and Harry Truman turned over the presidential reigns to Dwight Eisenhower. 2012 is also an election year, one which I hope records the reelection of Barrack Obama, our first black president (Before I leave this world, I dream of seeing a woman called Madam President). In my lifetime, I have witnessed war, from the Cold War to the current protracted War on Terror. I have viewed rockets leaving our planet taking astronauts and rovers from Cape Canaveral/Kennedy to the sky, the moon, and now to Mars. I have watched the economy rise, fall, and even tank multiple times. I have observed maps altered and renamed by politics and struggle. I have seen the Berlin Wall fall and our fear of Communism fade, and I have seen houses and waistlines expand as we Americans increased our appetites for more, always more. I have chatted by telephone on a party line, a wall phone, and a cell phone. I have been swept along in the tidal wave of the information age and the omnipresence of computers, owning several permutations of personal computers from the first Mac to an iPad. I have seen backyard gardens morph into living locally. I have watched styles shift and change and have lived long enough to witness the 50’s become cool again with Mad Men and much of my former wardrobe become classified as “vintage.”
I have given birth and raised three amazing children. I have buried both of my parents. I have welcomed three beautiful grandchildren… I have spent a chunk of my life (and soul) in the classroom teaching. I have cheered in celebration and cried in sorrow. I have confronted health challenges for me as well as for those I love.
Life never really stands still, even when we wish it would. And as I stand on the threshold of a new decade, there are few things I hope remain behind as I move ahead.
What I wish to shed:
Weighing and measuring myself by a number on scale or by some artificial yardsticks of success
A critical eye and a sharp tongue
A rootless spirit
Our stockpile of stuff
Urgency, fear, worry, and anxiety
Too tight a tether to the virtual world—being too plugged to an illusory world that I check out of the real one
What I hope to hold:
Abiding in the present
Breathing slowly and deeply
Movement of body and mind
Careful living--responsible stewardship of the earth
Finding poetry in the everyday --so much really does depend “upon a red wheelbarrow”
Love for family and friends
A closer walk and deeper friendship with God so I may come closer this admonition::
He has showed you, O man is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6: 8
Saturday, September 15, 2012
"...a common field is a field of honor forever."
Surely there are scant sights more beautiful than a blue-sky September day in the mountains of rural Pennsylvania when land and sky connect in perfect majesty. Yesterday was such a day for us, traveling westward through farmlands and over mountain ridges. We paused at Shawnee State Park to eat lunch overlooking a still lake reflecting a cloud-dotted heaven. By early afternoon, we arrived at the destination of this pilgrimage--Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the National Park established there in commemoration of the crash of Flight 93.
It is impossible to visit this site without interacting with the landscape and countryside, a profoundly moving aspect of this memorial inherent in its intention. One enters this National Park and drives for three miles through fields of wildflowers and young groves of trees before entering the crash site area. That meandering drive of unfolding vistas quiets the mind and prepares the heart for the emotional experience of interacting with the memorial at the crash site.
A pathway of cut stones, walls of granite, seats for contemplation, and spots of reflection gently guide and create a footpath through memory. It is a place to stand, or sit, or pray, and..to remember.
Spontaneous memorializations indent the walls and underscore the names.
The crash site itself is walled off, except to families and select others. On the path from the wall of names, the direct sight line to the bolder marking the crash site is viewable through a gate roughly hewn from Pennsylvanian wood, symbolizing the monumental effort made by the passengers of the flight who attempted to gain control of the cockpit.
What artistry abides in the human spirit, bubbling up to create such memorial spaces which mark collective history yet elicit personal and individual responses. Such places truly are sacred and hallowed grounds.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Ravelry is an online knitting community that offers space for knitters to organize a digital studio/noteobbok of sort for their yarn habit. You can document past and present projects gather patterns, list yarn stashed, link to blogs followed, and "friend" other knitters. You have access to a vast network of knitters and can view their work and read their commentary, which is helpful when considering whether or not to make a certain pattern. I joined in 2008 when it was all the rage in the knitting world, but my Ravelry page sat unedited all this time. Basically, I used Ravelry to look at patterns and projects; I simply didn't have the time to invest in sustaining a real presence.
A few weeks ago, I happened upon a knitalong on Ravelry and I decided to join, a first for me. So now I had a group listed on my page in addition to a "friend", a fellow teacher and coworker of my son's. I added my last two projects and my page is starting to come to life a bit. Better late than never, I guess...
The knitalong I joined was for The Quaker Ridge Shawlette, a lovely little shoulder shawl designed by Susan B. Anderson. I thought it would be a nice piece to wrap around my neck, once the weather cools. Yesterday, I assembled my needles, pattern, and my yarn--two skeins of Madelinetosh Pashima in Flashdance, a pretty multi purple. The yarn is delicious, soft and a bit silky to touch.
I wound it during the first quarter of the Penn State game.
It is ready to go and so am I. Today is day one of the knitalong, and tonight I begin knitting along with a couple hundred other knitters, this virtual knitting circle of women who all are making the same shawl. Our "official" ending date is Sunday, October 21. It will be interesting to see the difference other eyes and other hands make as we all knit separately and yet together. I will keep you posted!