Apparently, I'm not ready for Elizabeth Zimmerman. The February Baby Jacket called to me, I answered, and I've taken two weeks to get to the end of the first tiny ball of Louisa Harding Grace Silk and Wool.
Just back from that green and purple place with almost a day to write and think. Another silly magazine story on the burner to try to head off financial disaster, and so the thinking is already hemmed in. It's always been difficult to let the writing be loosed from ingratiating impulses: someone's got to like me, package me, publish me, pay me, the writing thoughts always seem to say. Or some other voice that hems them in. Hard to know at what second the writing/thinking gets derailed from the other track I'd like it to be on, it's so unconscious. But I started the day thinking about Rebecca Solnit, that most-untethered thinker and author who seems just to go where her thoughts take her, who writes about lostness as a lost art and possibility. I long to get lost and struggle against the impulses that prevent it. I could blame having children, since they keep me so tethered to the moment and the practical that wandering thoughts never get to wander nearly as far as they can see. It's like they are setting out on a hike through a long, deep woods, but end up with only enough time to do the easy, 1/2-mile loop around the periphery while they stare into the dark depths with longing, feeling little gusts of the cool, promise-filled air that flows there. But I struggled long before they came along. There is now another baby on the way. When the little form jumps inside I am reminded that she is with me all the time. My silent little partner, soon to be my little secret second self no longer. Hard to remember she's there with the two loud, running, pulling, talking others out here all the time. There is fear--a lot of it--that another one will somehow be too much. But there is also a feeling of a great gift on the way, more of something wonderful that one knows one only gets a tiny amount of in life. The time of needing to make real preparations, instead of just making room in one's imagination, is coming. I can feel it as I start to think of actual things, like needing to get warm, footed sleepers for my late-november girl, wanting to make cozy blankets from pretty fabrics backed in flannel or something silky and soothing, needing a bathtub. More little nails to clip I thought this morning as I clipped E's. And I had a pull of longing for all the littleness again, the whole thing of it, bathing her, holding her. One delight that I never knew was how having a new, another child, is such a rich shared experience with the children one or ones one already has. I did have that excellent experience with D., when I was pregnant with E. But now, seeing it with E. again, and D. together, I realize how beautifully it pulls our little family together to have more. Just seeing the relationship between E. and D. grow is so lovely, watching them find each other and realize the richness that belongs to them, lives right in their house with them, is part of them. And how now they take care of me and my belly--"sorry, baby," says E. when she bumps me by accident--and watch what I eat and drink and are quiet when I suddenly need to sleep in the late afternoon for 20 minutes.
I began making Elizabeth Zimmerman's February Baby Sweater about two weeks ago, and have had to rip it out so many times I can't count. I think I'm finally in the swing, getting the right number of stitches at the ends of the rows. But some superstitious pregnant feelings started to come over me: was I unable to get going because something was going to happen to the baby? Should I just stop now, obey the fates--those wise, fabled knitters of our life stories--were they pulling out my threads for me as a warning? Intuition or just evidence that I'm not in any way gifted with an ability to knit that nearly matches my enthusiasm?