Saturday, August 16, 2014

Less Than a Month til Monhegan Island 2014!

Hi Y'all,
Greetings from Galveston, TX, where I'm sitting in the MOD Coffee Shop, eating a delicious muffin and thinking about knitting. I didn't purposefully set out to make this trip to an island a dress rehearsal for our upcoming jaunt to Monhegan Island, but in some ways, that's just what it is.

As with Monhegan, I've been traveling to Galveston for many years. And when I am here, near the salt water, and with my knitting at hand, the whole world feels better, I feel calmer, and I wonder, only half-jokingly, why I don't live near the sea year round.

Also as with the Monhegan trip, I give myself permission to just sort of explode my arts and crafts and clothes and books across the little room in which I stay (in this case, a garage apartment behind the home of my good friends, who allow me to refer to this space as The Writer's Garrett). There's something about being contained in a small space on a small island that comforts me and allows me to exhale as I am not always able to do in my day-to-day city life. I limit my choices in the very best sense of the word "limit." Maybe a better way to put it is that I carve out time for the things that bring me the most joy: reading, walking, crafting, breathing mindfully.

Island vacations offer a chance to deeply tune into nature. Those of you who've been on the Monhegan trip already know, but for those of you joining us for the first time, I can't wait to see your faces as you take in the incredible cliffs, the light dancing across the Atlantic, the towering forest trees, the Fairy Houses in Cathedral Woods, and the sun's twice-daily dazzling performances aka sunrise and sunset.

As if all this weren't enough, there are other moments, transcendent for knitters I'd say, when the worlds of Nature and Knitting collide naturally and beautifully. Toward that end, I saw a sunset on this trip that I can't help liken to Noro, which is one of my favorite lines. And then, another day, walking under a pier, I came upon a patch of sand shaped by tide and rainstorm, that created a pattern I wish I could somehow work into a sweater.

I've also spent a bit of time on Galveston digging deeper into the history of the place, something I've been exploring sporadically since I first started visiting nearly twenty years ago. There was a time when Galveston was the richest city in America, before the devastating storm of 1900. I love to tour the mansions and take in the architecture, and visit displays dedicated to helping us to remember what it once was like here. I was at the Henry Rosenberg library yesterday when I came upon an installation that included not one but two tributes to knitting.

The first featured a pair of socks dated back to 1860. Of particular note to me-- besides the fact that these socks survived-- is that they are knitted in a lovely pattern. I just love how through history it seems that utility in tools, vessels, clothing, and shelter has almost always been enhanced by an artistic touch. The second, a single cotton sock, not done, still on the needles. This one dates back to 1849 and they even know the source of the cotton. I wonder if the knitter died before finishing? I mean, I could understand quitting before turning a heel, but once that heel is turned, really there's just no excuse not to finish.

I hope when you're on Monhegan Island with us you'll take time to visit the Lighthouse Museum. It features a hodgepodge collection of furniture, fishing and boating gear, tchotchkes, and clothing (including, yes, knitted items), donated over the years by island families. So much history in that little place. I promise exploring it will enhance what, I also promise, is going to be the trip of a lifetime for you.

Can't wait.

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