Spring is here, approximately two months early. I am knitting. Not well, but there you have it. A hurdle overcome after only a decade or so of trying. Quarter-life crisis in full swing. I have ripped out and re-started the same project an infuriating number of times, but that's okay. Knitting, even bad knitting with a lot of swearing, is just as calming as everyone says. The process is still a mystery to me. Why does it work? Seriously. I do not understand it AT ALL. If I make a mistake I have to rip everything out and start again. If I read too far ahead in the pattern or try to think about the big picture, I start to hyperventilate. One stitch at a time. Stitch, stitch, stitch. This is good practice for a parent. Or maybe just me. It's different than sewing in that way. You don't need to hold all the pieces in your head or think about what's next. One stitch. Then another. Then hey, congratulations, you made a hat.
I wouldn't be doing any of this if it wasn't for you, so thank you for all your encouragement and advice and just generally being fantastic people. Alicia reminded me about this piece she wrote awhile back on learning to knit, and you should probably drop everything and read it. I remember being very moved by it back then, but even more so now--to tears, actually. This is a knitting season of my life. I'm glad to have it. Glad for what it means. I still have to watch my hands closely (see previously mentioned swearing), so I have been listening to a lot of podcasts while I work: Dear Sugar (YES THIS IS A THING), Spilled Milk, and Radiolab, my old standby. I put Ewan to bed, and then put him back to bed, and then back again, and then put on my headphones and pour myself a bourbon and get to work. Fergus steals my ball of yarn like some freaking cartoon caricature of a cat. The dogs snore like dragons. It works, is what I'm saying. Quiet mind. Busy hands.
And then you have spring. Which is here, despite the odds, despite ten feet of snow elsewhere in the country. So much for my Hygge. Spring in Portland is really something. Cotton candy trees and the sky full of birds. I had no idea spring was actually like this outside of Eloise Wilkin illustrations, until I moved here from the California desert eight years ago. The desert has seasons to be sure, but they are subtle--a change in the quality of air, of wind. Maaaaybe some cactus blooming. Old retirees stop wearing socks with their sandals. (Just kidding, they never stop wearing socks with their sandals.) Spring here is basically drunk by comparison. Flowers spilling out everywhere. It seems impossible. Not unlike knitting. So we are partners in amazement, the two year old and I. We take walks. I tell him the names of the trees: plum, cherry, oak, apple, pear. He beheads a daffodil every ten feet. I find sticks and rocks and other flower casualties tucked in the front pockets of his overalls. Dirt pours out when I let down the cuffs.
The sun has been shining for ten days straight and I am trying not to think of the drought I know is coming, the dry and snowless Sierra Nevada's. We feed the ducks on Sundays. I am reading plenty: Dinner: A Love Story, by Jenny Rosenstrach, One More Thing, by B.J. Novak, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion, which I am embarrassed to say I never read in college like the good Gen-Y'er I claim to be. There are matchbox cars everywhere and on everything in my house and if someone hasn't invented a life insurance policy specifically for "death by slipping on matchbox car" then they really need to get on that already. I am making plans for my first weekend away from Ewan and Aaron since before I was pregnant, and I am a little bit worried but mostly excited. I am knitting. It is March. Impossible and beautiful.