"A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching."
- Sri Swami Sivananda
I am appalled at what I am reading in the news these days. Shopping rage appears to have replaced road rage in our society as a way of letting out our frustration.
A temporary worker at WalMart was trampled to death by crazed shoppers rushing the doors. Upon being asked to leave the store, so officials could investigate the tragedy, one woman asserted she had been waiting for over five hours and refused to leave.
What is wrong with us? Have we gone nutso?
A seven year old boy held a knife to the face of a classmate, over a dollar today.
Two men shot each other to death in a Toys R Us store. Reporters calmly stated,
"Authorities are concerned about the effect this may have on children."
- Have we become so intent upon our own aims that we disregard the dignity, let alone the life, of others?
- Is money really that important?
- Are we exhibiting the classic symptoms of addiction and withdrawal?
As we head into the greatest "gimme" festival of the year, I have to ask...
What are we missing?
Over the weekend, I watched The Lord of the Rings on TNT. Now, I have seen this movie many times before, but this time I turned on the closed caption option. (I am hard of hearing and wear aids, but still struggle from time to time. Nothing man can invent truly replaces what God has made.)
It was revelatory, how much of the dialogue I had been missing. All the sotto voce comments, all the unusual names (I am now officially ready for Trivial Pursuit: the LOR geek version) all the subtle nuances, the subtext... All were revealed by that little line of script running along the bottom of the screen.
And it made me wonder...
What else had I been missing?
In my rush forward, in my inattention to detail, in my quest for progress over process, in my moving on to the next thing...
What was I missing?
You may have noticed that I rarely design with anything heavier than DK weight yarn. Occasionally, I envy the quick progress such projects deliver. but I don't enjoy knitting them.
I love the fine details of lace, like this lovely rendition of Triad from Fleegle's blog .
I love the intricate twinings of cables, like in this motif from my upcoming design: Evening Violets
I love the raised texture of twisted stitches, as in another design I am working on: Durum ( the type of wheat used in making pasta)
I love the details.
There is a certain richness, a depth of flavor, a resonance that results when you pay attention to the small things. Like the nuances of the movie script, these fine details enhance the quality of the finshed project. I love to run my fingers over the finished surface and take delight in its beauty.
I think we, as a nation, are being offered a chance to slow down, back off, regroup, rethink, and focus on the fine details of what makes life worthwhile. As our economy slows and our debt piles up, many of us are taking stock of where we are and pondering where we want to wind up.
I value knitting above all as an opportunity to slow down and drop out of our hurried world. Long before our pocketbooks demanded it, I withdrew from the mall, dropped out of the rat race, and sought a more grounded life. (Now, if I could just resist internet shopping...)
Don't get me wrong. I believe in providing a product that meets a need, whether that need is for food or beauty. I know that I would not be in business were it not for the avid desire of knitters for the patterns I produce.
But I think the difference lies in the process. We knit not just to make things. We knit to experience things. We knit for the feeling of the yarn flowing through our fingers, for the joy of the pattern forming beneath our hands, for the love of our fellow man.
When I design, it is not just for "what sells." I imagine all of you out there in the blogosphere, I close my eyes, and ask,
"What do they want? What do they need? What will bring them happy knitting?"
This last summer, it was light and airy lace. We could all walk in the garden together. A year ago, it was wandering in the spice markets of Morocco. This fall, it was easier, less expensive, smaller projects that would meet our needs for holiday knitting - Aperitifs.
I push myself to release, not for my gain, but for yours. I think, "Someone out there is waiting for this pattern. She will enjoy knitting it and whoever receives it will enjoy wearing it."
That is what makes this whole business so gratifying for me. It's not about me; it's about YOU!
It's about the joy in another's face when we express our love, the relief in tired eyes as we shoulder another's burden, the peace that results when we stop saying, "Me first" and begin saying, 'After you."
And that is what we are all too often missing...