Thursday, August 02, 2007

Setting it Aside


It's not that I didn't knit when we were in Maine, because I did. At night, when the kids were tucked into their beds in the sleeping loft, I would knit on the New England sock as Mr S read. On the plane and on the interstate, I cranked through Potato. I made some significant progress on each; I got through the heel and into the foot on the sock, and I got far enough on Potato that I finished it up this week (and will have the FO to debut this weekend).

But Maine, for me, was about putting aside everything to engage. It is hard to admit this openly, but we all know that knitting can distance you. Like TV or a good book, it can mediate the way you interact with the present, a shield against intimacy with your loved ones. It can be like a giant, flashing neon sign saying, "Leave me alone." Sometimes, I need that flashing neon sign. Sometimes, I need to be left alone, and knitting provides me with some solitude. Sometimes, you really do need to shut up because I really am counting.

But on this trip, I wanted to be alive and awake to my surroundings. I didn't want to miss one call of one loon on our pond. I wanted to hear the leaves rustling, and the sound of the kids playing in the woods. I wanted to watch the fog lift over Cadillac Mountain and hear the sound of our canoe gliding through the waterlillies. There was no TV, no radio, no newspapers or internet or cell phone. It was remote enough that there was no hum of air conditioners, no road noise in the background. (It was also close enough to civilization that is was just down the road from a yarn shop, but that is a post for another day.)

There were moments when I wished I brought my sock. I regretted a few missed photo ops for the blog: the sock on top of the mountain, the sock and a lobster, the sock at the Clam Box and the Great Maine Lumberjack Show.

But then I wonder if I brought the sock to the lobster pound, would I have been too distracted to catch this:


My husband is at his happiest eating lobsters.


Would I have been taking pictures of my sock on top of Cadillac Mountain and missed this:

Rosebud was truly moved by the experience of being on top of a mountain for the first time.

Would I have built this Fairy Bed in the woods with her if I was busy with my sock?

Would I have avoided sticky fingers and gooey kisses to protect the yarn?

So I don't have a lot of knitting to show you, but what I do have is (shhhhh) better.

21 comments:

Martina said...

Good for you! You can always knit , you can't redo life. I would be building the fairy too! Shh..

anne marie in philly said...

damn straight!

the stories you told last night are best accompanied by these pictures.

rosebud is priceless!

Kristy said...

Excellent point! I'm glad you had time to get out and enjoy life a little bit :)

Ann said...

You and your family are beautiful! And your trip looks like it was superlative! Welcome home!

Sally said...

Yes, it is good to engage, especially when you can do it in a place that is so darn fabulous.

I never thought I would see Mr S in a bib. I could go further with that (men and bibs in general), but I won't. You understand.

Have fun in Avalon!

Christie said...

I love it! Y'know, I feel that same way! I didn't knit a lot during my trip to Virginia, because I was enjoying the new scenery while we drove [or because I was driving] or because I was really enjoying being with my family. Thank you for this post and putting it so eloquently!

Oh, and the trip looks like it was so much fun! Not a missed moment!

Bridget said...

What a great post and pictures! It's nice to actually go on vacation when you go on vacation, isn't it?

triathlonmom said...

I love this post. I can't wait to show my daughter your fairy forest home. You know your blog is worthwhile when you inspire someone!
ps john sarvay is right

Madge said...

Beautiful post about living in the now, in the moment, in the joy of being surrounded by your family in a lovely respite from the crazy everyday world.

Okay, I admit it, it made me tear up. *sniff*

tiennie said...

This was a wonderful post filled with beautiful pictures, words and sentiment. Thank you!

Kim said...

Here, here. I find myself stopping knitting in front of the TV when it gets really good. I probably shouldn't even watch the TV that I knit to.... ;)

Annie said...

Amen, sister! The great thing about yarn is that it can wait, time with your family can't. Kudos to you for putting down your knitting. :-)

anmiryam said...

Thank you -- words to live by as I head off to Maine in a couple of weeks!

nova said...

It's good to have your priorities in check. All that knitting will get done here and there, but those moments of magic with your kids, you don't always get to see those things happen again. I am glad that the time are good.

Kathy said...

This has really hit me lately, that I need to not be knitting all of the time. Just because I can knit, should I? I was listening to a talk show about happiness and one of the things they mentioned was being fully in the moment. They mentioned mothers who are with their children all of the time and moms who work outside the home and their perception of happiness and found that moms who were doing other things while being with their kids weren't enjoying them as much. And yes, you NEED to be doing other things, but sometimes you have to be present in the moment, to fully engage in the activity. Yes I took my kids to the beach but did I sit on the chair and knit? Some of the time. But then I got in the sand and made the castle, I got in the water and splashed the girls....

I think you've got it. Yes you might have missed something. And then when you do get to sit and knit on your sock, it gets all of your attention! There is something to be said for not multitasking!

Laurie said...

Leaving the knitting behind gave you all of that great family time. And made you appreciate the knitting more when you got back to it, right?

What great pictures. Does Rosebud have those cool Keen sandals? I just got a pair. LOL!

SockMama said...

You are totally right about how knitting can distance us and how that's a good or a bad thing sometimes.

It looks like you and your family had a wonderful time in Maine. How could one not? I've never had a bad time in Maine myself. It's our favorite vacation destination.

Rachel said...

Great post. Knitting can sometimes really focus me and actually tune me in a bit to my surroundings, but I completely agree that it can also be that big "leave me alone" sign and cause me to turn too far inward. You articulated that balance very well here.

I'm glad you had such a wonderful vacation!

iSeL said...

Lovely post. You are so right about it all. The sock/knitting can wait; life doesn't.

mames said...

great post, great point. i went to our lake cabin in july and it was the first knitting i did since my boys were born, but it was at night. during the day we just did family cuddle time. it is awesome to have knitting and just as important to know when you don't really need it.
(p.s. found you from annie knits.)(p.p.s. i love maine lobster, only had it once, will never forget it.)

HPNY Knits said...

lovely. well said!