Having survived the folly of youth we still need to stumble through the silliness of middle age. It’s an awkward time and there are some small resemblances to middle school. Certainly there are times when I think, “this can’t be MY body!” The gathering at the dune was good for letting go of worries and insecurities. The comfort I feel among these women is palpable. With no makeup and no way to organize one’s hair and with too few beds to go around, we quickly lapse into the basics: who is in which sleeping bag, are there enough blankets, who snores the loudest, who sleeps the lightest, whose joints will complain the most if relegated to the floor. Then, right when I wonder if anyone will be able to sleep, everyone sleeps soundly and peacefully and the next morning the kitchen is full of the smell of hazelnut coffee, freshly made scones and the chatter of women in pajamas and down vests. And we laugh about the pleasure of staying warm during the night next to another woman.
It was blustery and cold (more on the outer world tomorrow) so once we had emptied the cars of enough food and wine for a winter we started a fire, settled into comfortable spots and no one much wanted to move again. Besides, we all had work to do.
This is a group of women with busy hands, hands that go on autopilot while we talk. In addition to the emotional and spiritual recharge, I found my knitting energy restored. Each of us had different fibers, patterns and projects going and there is constant checking and rechecking of each others progress and work. Kristen announced, “I have to have nine inches before I can go back to town” and we all fell over ourselves with laughter.
At some point someone was talking about a pattern in a book called Easy Afghans but I was in a fog thinking about a political discussion tangent and thought they had said “easy Afghanis” and asked, “what??” and someone else said, “you know, Terrorist Hookers.” We decided that would be as good a name for our group as BCMA, since we no longer even make a pretense of reading a book to discuss; in fact we’ve mostly joined other bookgroups where we really are expected to read. So this group is what it is: best friends.
The only outing was a trip to the yarn shop in Holland, Mi because, of course, you can never amass too much stash. It took two cars to get us to town and the owner of the small shop was at once delighted and aghast as we blew in and began squealing and tearing the rich pyramids of color off the shelves. Fortunately, she had a small seating area for lessons and we stayed for hours as each one of us bought books, yarn, needles and buttons. We tried on sweater samples, sifted through sale bins and compared colors to complexions. I was particularly smitten with a pattern for needle felted zoo animals that included rock hopper penguins. I was already excited about ‘zoo knitting’ because of this wonderful birthday gift that Patti brought to the cottage. When I showed it to Rich last night he said just what I thought: perfect for Traveling Zoo, that time when I take small animals to classrooms. And, of course, packaging is everything and this leather tube is perfect for taking knitting along on the bus, on planes, and to my book book group.
I purchased some beautiful alpaca for winter wear for Rich and Dan; even winding it off the swift here this morning is making my fingers dance. I’m winding two tweeds together for extra interest and warmth.
These fingers move with the speed of light; they can knit an entire sweater in a weekend. Thanks to Audrey, Kristen got her nine inches so when we did go to town, the owner of the yarn shop gave us lessons in button hole variations.
These hands string tiny beads into works of art. To a one, when one of us wears jewelry, it comes from Patti.
These hands have traveled by air more than you, me and everyone else combined. Because her work has so often taken her away, it’s a special treat when she is grounded with us. For this weekend, she flew in and out of Grand Rapids.
In the end, when we reluctantly part, we pack up all of our completed projects and works in progress and take something away that is a solid and warm reminder of this important time spent in the circle of friendship. “Oh! That’s the scarf I knit that weekend at Lake Michigan…”