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

Monday, October 12, 2009

Show & Tell

"Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I'll understand."

- Chinese Proverb

When I first began to write, a good piece of advice came my way:

Show; don't tell.

Don't write, "It was cold." Write, "The north wind blew through the trees with a vengeance. These were not whispering pines. No. These great northern bastions knew better than to waste their energies in such a way. These trees used all they had to bend, but not break. To withstand the great gusts that blew from across the lake. To endure until the summer sun again warmed their branches."

What did it smell like? What did it sound like? What did it feel like?

Show; don't tell.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps, I have taken that too literally to heart.

I have fallen into the practice of letting my pictures tell my story, posting only when I have something worthwhile to show you: something to make you drool with longing; something to entice your return to gaze upon knitting, or yarn, or babies; something that moves my little enterprise forward and puts money in my pocket (at least until the next college tuition payment!)

And in so doing, I have forgotten the power of my words. The need to post when I have something worthwhile to TELL you: something to make you think, something to turn to when you have need of reflection; something that puts no money in my pocket, but puts warmth in my heart and purpose in my spirit.

I forgot that life wasn't all about knitting. (GASP! HERESY!) I thought you were only interested in my work.

Then, over the weekend, you all reminded me you were interested in me.

I got more comments on my last post than I have gotten over any pattern revealed, any yarn shamelessly shilled generously offered, any design endlessly dissected.

A post with no knitting.

No fooling...

There is a time for knitting (which is most of the time - let's be honest here) but it is only part of what makes up a life. And I had lost sight of that other part of me - the part that I originally began this blog to share.

Thank you for the timely reminder.

We have made an offer on the lot and are waiting to hear back from the sellers with, what I am sure will be a counter-offer. Then we will meet somewhere in the middle, I suspect. That is how the game is played.

And, just like that, we will have taken a big step into an unknown future.

DH and I went up to the lot at sunset last evening and watched the sun go down. And I tried to envision another house and a different life.

Eldest son was one year old when we moved into our current house. We have been there since 1985. My boys have never known another.

I have lived my entire life within 2 hours of Indianapolis. I even went to college nearby. My brother went East and never came back. I was content to stay and raise a family within the comfort of what I knew.

Living in the country, with a very l-o-o-o-o-n-g winter, will be a big change for me.

We are embarking upon our last adventure together. This will be the home we leave behind when we die. We will build a small home for our life now, rather than rattling around in a too big house with the ghosts of children now grown running through the halls and slamming the doors.

We flushed a deer in what will be our backyard. We felt the cold touch of the wind on our faces, as we turned to meet it full on from what will be our front porch.

And while I yearn for the closeness with nature, the peace and serenity, the quiet beauty of our chosen spot upon this earth, I am also a bit afraid to leave so much behind. The known is always safer than the unknown.

I have never turned back from a new challenge. If I had, the Indianapolis Arts Chorale would, perhaps, be no more. Soulful Parent, Soulful Teen; Moving From Control to Care wouldn't have its own little page on Amazon. There would be no Sunflower Designs. You would not be reading these words.

I return to Indianapolis, knowing that I am bound for other shores. It is one thing to talk; another entirely to put your money down.

We will call the new land, "Afterglow." DH suggested, "At Last" or "Finally" because it has taken him so long to get me to fully commit to the move.

But as I stood gazing over the lake after sundown, reveling in the pink sky, the land whispered its name in my ear - "Afterglow" - because it came after the rest of our life, and for the love that we bear each other, which warms us like the embers of our younger infatuations. I would not trade our life together for any other.

We will make a new home. And, in so doing, we will do our best not to leave anything worthwhile behind, but rather to carry it forward within our hearts.

Including all of you. You are an ever-present blessing in my life.

Sunflowers grow anywhere, right?

There is a stanza within the Leelanau song that we sing at the close of all the community sings held in the summer months:

"The afterglow when the sun has set:
These are things we'll never forget."

Afterglow - it's a good thing...


knittinnurse51 said...

Afterglow sounds perfect. Your description of the property is lyrical. I'm sure that you will find many flowers to fill your garden and inspire your designs.

Nalamienea said...

you've brought tears to my eyes with your writing today. I look forward to more posts like this one. :)

ChiDeb said...

It's been a weepy afternoon for me, and your post didn't help. I feel like we're never going to be able to retire, move someplace peaceful, be alone together. I have a disabled sister that lives with us, and even though she is 13 years older than me, I think she will outlive us all. It makes me sad some days to be in this position.

Afterglow sounds wonderful to me.

Debbie said...

I am so happy for you and your husband, your future looks so beautiful! I appreciate how accurately you present what I am unable to express, afterglow, wonderful! I look forward to more of your posts.

Donna Lee said...

If I could design a perfect way to spend the last act of my life, your afterglow sounds like it. Just about perfect.

I wish you joy and happiness there. And yes, sunflowers can flourish anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Wow and Wow! Afterglow sounds wonderful. I am envious of the tranquility you have found but will dwell on the word afterglow in pursuit of my own. Thank you,Susan!

thaddeusrose said...

If you truly feel inside what your words say, you will not regret moving to Afterglow... it will only get better as time passes, just like all things if we know how to use them. Congratulations and thank you for your posting!

Anonymous said...

Your patterns are beautiful beyond words, even though I have not knit them all yet they are a treasure I hold dear. But these posts like others have said, warm my heart while bringing tears to my eyes...maybe these posts are what make the patterns so beautiful. The loving heart and mind that designs them and then shares with all who stumble into the Garden. Thank you. Anne aka vibj

Mady said...

Great decision! Congratulations. I hope the negotiations go to your liking. It is a beautiful spot for a house -- and a home.

Tora: said...

How wonderful for the both of you - headed off to a new adventure....can't wait to follow along with you

caroline said...

such beauty. sending all good vibes that it will be yours.