women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Progress

"I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy."
- Madame Marie Curie

While I was in New York last weekend, it was my privilege to attend the spring recital by the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater's School of Dance. My nephew (and godson) William has studied with them for several years, and this was my first chance to see him in performance.

From the timidity of the tiniest would-be ballerinas in their pale pink leotards to the youthful exuberance of the high school kids; it was an invigorating and inspiring program. These kids really know how to "step it up and dance" to steal a line from Bravo.

At program's end, as parents and students alike milled about the lobby, searching for each other, someone in our family asked Will how long he had been working on the numbers he had just performed. His answer?

"I've been working on the moves since September and the actual choreography since February (Forgive me Will, if I have remembered incorrectly!)

That is nine months in development and four months in rehearsal.

I wondered how many times he had done those moves. I pondered how hard he worked to learn them. I marveled at the ability of these kids to transcend their limitations.

I know progress comes only with dedication and the willingness to fail.

For every precise turn that unspooled right on time, there were dozens (at least!) that didn't make the grade. For every tap of the kick line, there were countless times they missed the beat. For every performance smile on these young faces, there were many rehearsal disappointments and many sighs of frustration.

Behind success, lies the unwavering will to "pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again."

Seven levels lie between a new student and the end of the program. That is a lot of sweat and tears, a lot of muscle cramps and sore feet, a lot of time when these kids could be playing on the playground or hanging with their friends.

The progress they make from year to year is neither swift nor easy, but it is joyful.

And inspiring. Truly inspiring.

*****

Speaking of progress...




Iris is getting longer.


Look for the pattern on June 1st (pending approval from Knitty Noddy.)





Sherwood is not getting the majority of my time right now...


But I have managed to work my way through the second repeat of the center pattern.


You can see how the leaves line up now.


Drizzle is back on the needles.


I am past the floating bead ruffle at the end.


And have begun the stockinette section.


Next comes the lace...









And I have a new scarf in design.

Made out of this lovely color of seasilk: Seashore.





This is Hydrangea, the July installment of the Garden Variety Collection.

I wanted a vintage look for this one. Hydrangeas are old fashioned garden flowers. They make me think of long lazy afternoons on the porch swing with a tall glass of cold lemonade.


The colors, palest pink, watery aqua, and sandy beige, reminded me of the variegation hydrangeas exhibit, depending upon the alkalinity of the soil.

I also kept in mind the vision of dried blooms, with their faded elegance and beauty.


Iris was all about the angles and the curving fountain shape. Hydrangea is more difuse, more delicate; she is still a rectangular scarf, but her lines are softer.


The beading is a soft iridescent aqua and adds a bit of sparkle, but not too much flash.

Soft.

Always soft.


After much trial and error, I decided on the lovely Versailles border for the ends of the scarf.

I wanted something that was a little floaty, but with a strong horizontal line.


And wait until you see what comes next...

No peeking...

Unless you want to test knit this one. (I am trying to share the knitting around so no one gets burned out.)

*****


I have been delinquent in my blogging during the last month or so. You can bet, when I fall silent, it is because all my energy and time are consumed with creation.

For every pattern you see, there are countless failures.

For every scarf I complete, there are many I'm not happy with.

For every original idea adopted, there are many derivative options rejected.

For every fifty rows, several trips to the frog pond.

Like the young dancers of the Alvin Ailey School, I put a tremendous amount of effort into moving forward in my chosen art.

And like them, I feel the exhilarating leap of joy within my breast that comes with completion.

Completion that comes only through progress.

Which is neither swift nor easy...

But often comes at considerable cost.

I am so proud of William, and of all his fellow students.

Through them, I touch the future.

3 comments:

Knit and fall back in it said...

How exciting to share your nephew's success with him. Your new design looks incredible. You have outdone yourself.

Pat K said...

And you are SOOOOOO right.

GailR said...

Full circles - overlapping circles - the achievements of William and the other students overlapping and complimenting your comments about your designs and the designing process.

The photos are intriguing. I look forward to seeing more of them.