Living A Knitted Life

An older woman sat opposite me at my table on the train tonight. She was, I’m guessing, a pleasant woman. I overheard a very brief part of her conversation with someone – she seemed caring and compassionate to whoever she was talking to. But it wasn’t her in particular that got me thinking, but more what she was doing.

After we made our way out of San Jose and we had left the Great America station, the train wound its way through the Bay Area salt beds. An area that is seemingly relatively untouched by the explosion of concrete that is the Bay Area. As we move north the train’s horn blasts occasionally like a roving fog horn in search of inclement weather.

I don’t know for sure where she got on – I think it was Oakland. I hadn’t been paying much attention after we started moving through the salt beds. In my “official” capacity as a commuter I had the headphones on and was watching a movie on my computer and it wasn’t until I looked up that I noticed her sitting there. She had a gentle looking face, with a dark complexion that is typical of her obvious African American heritage. I wouldn’t like to guess her age, but if I was forced to it was her activity that gave it away more than her looks and I’d put her in her late 60’s.

She pulled from her bag a bundle of green wool and two knitting needles and begun to knit a garment of some sort. Maybe it was a green sweater, hat or scarf. Either way she had just begun. Every time she glanced up and caught my eye she would smile with a warm look in her eyes from behind her glasses.

But it was the knitting that got me thinking tonight. Our lives are like knitting. We start out as one single strand being guided by our parents and the influences that surround us. As we grow we become more complete. And for those of us that are lucky enough we get introduced to new people, new places, new experiences – just as if the person knitting our lives had introduced a new color thread.

I’m one of those lucky ones. I know I am. I had an upbringing in which I was knitted with glorious color. Every color you can think of.

Every so often the lady stops and looks at what she’s done before carefully deciding what the next move is. For some reason some people are always being knitted while the rest of us are knitting our own lives. Sometimes we need to stop and look before we make the next move. Too often we don’t. Sometimes we don’t know if we’ve made a mistake until the loops become unravelled later down the road.

I’m happy with the way my life was knitted together. Really happy. I’m fortunate that I don’t have many hanging threads. I know why this is. It’s because I was really lucky that those that were doing the knitting, knitted with all the love and care that they knew how.

I think it shows in how great the sweater turns out…