What I am reading: The Empathy Exams, Leslie Jamison — The Tao of Raven: An Alaska Native Memoir, Ernestine Hayes — Dancing Bears, Witold Szablowski.
What I just finished : The School of Essential Ingredients, Erica Bauermeister — Devotions, Mary Oliver — Songs of Willow Frost, Jamie Ford.
What I am knitting: A vest out of maize-colored Rowan Felted Tweed. A Churchmouse Yarn cowl pattern, wildly adapted to what I had in my yarn bag. An orchid-colored Alexandra’s Airplane scarf out of Rowan Kid Silk Haze and beaded with pink iridescent micro-beads.
What I am writing: Draft #20 of a personal essay piece, about to be submitted.
You get the picture: books, yarn, needles, paper. Last weekend my cousin and I went to an estate sale, early in the morning while the dew was still shivering on the cherry blossoms. We parked by a stone archway and stepped into a long room anchored by a walk-in fireplace, fully ablaze. I wandered this old farmhouse, stripped bare and crackling with story. When I returned to the front room the owner was saying “It just got away from us.” I fingered a chipped bowl full of scissors. My heart broke around the edges.
There is letting go and there is not keeping up. I want to be the former, smart and brave and realistic when the time comes. Recently the time has come for certain things: clothes I will never wear, shoes I cannot walk in anymore. And books. And furniture.
I sense I am in a race with myself, a new look at the future — to not be caught short of sense and burdened by stuff. Last year’s health scares just simply brought home that there is not an endless stretch ahead. So what do I really need each day?
Books, yarn, needles, paper works every corner of my brain, now that I have it back inside my head. Everything is portable and can be pulled from the same bag. Perhaps a toothbrush would be good.
And the people that love me, that are on this journey with me? I will have toothbrushes for all of you, too.
Ten months and counting from that double-whammy last year. I am learning to pack a bag of the essential ingredients and let the rest go.
Bainbridge Island, March 18, 2018. Camellia blossom: essential spring.