26 October 2008

Rollercoaster Ride

Dear Mandella,

Have you ever read Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet? Let me give you selected excerpts from one of my favorites:

Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, and yet a little way beyond the outworks of our divining, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; . . .

I believe that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension that we find paralyzing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings living. Because we are alone with the alien thing that has entered into our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for an instant taken away; because we stand in the middle of a transition where we cannot remain standing.

. . . many signs indicate that the future enters into us in this way in order to transform itself in us long before it happens. And this is why it is so important to be lonely and attentive when one is sad: because the apparently uneventful and stark moment at which our future sets foot in us is so much closter to life than that other noisy and fortuitous point of time at which it happens to us as if from outside.

Rainer Maria Rilke
August 12, 1904

And this is where I have been for the past 2 - 3 weeks: Unable to see further than my knowledge reaches, then suddenly aware that the future had indeed entered into me and transformed.

I had been grousing about some major changes in the way my work was to be done and about the added responsibilities that were assigned to me; this week I discovered that all of this added up to a redefined job classification which will ultimately mean a significant raise in salary if it's approved. (I don't know when or if any of this will come through, but the signs are favorable.)

In addition to all of that, I've been on a rollercoaster ride with my beloved dog, Charka, who will be 13 people-years old next month (which is roughly 91 dog-years). She has been so weak in her hind-quarters that she can't get herself up the four steps from the back yard to our deck. The shot of cortisone we got for her on Wednesday afternoon kicked in about 26 hours later and she's perkier in attitude and behavior, but I know this is only a temporary fix because the cortisone lasts only 3 - 4 weeks and has the nasty side effect of eating away at her stomach lining. I know that eventually she will have to be euthanized (sp?) and it will be my decision. I am dreading it.

I also learned on Wednesday morning that Peg, one of the part-timers at the stationery shop where I work part-time, has gone home from the hospital for home-hospice care. That second round of chemo for the leukemia did so much damage to her and she just won't recover from it. Peg was diagnosed at the end of August and did so well with her first bout of chemo that we were certain she'd come through this with flying colors. It is impossibly sad.

On top of all of this, the yarn gods have been toying with me. I'd gotten out all of my leftover balls of Cascade 220 wool to start knitting a pullover (with lovely and colorful striping). Feeling plucky about the pattern of color and stitches I'd come up with, I cast on a front to knit simultaneously with the back. Alas, I screwed up the stitch pattern in a such a way that it had to be frogged. I pulled it all off my needles and put it back. The yarn gods were right: I had too many projects going anyway.

All of this was after I'd tried to start a pullover in the lovely Louet Gems sport weight I'd dyed to a lovely shade of red. That one was doomed by a poor plan and needed to be taken off the needles. (I've worked out the pattern now and all should be well, but I'm not starting it until after the beginning of the new year.) It was also after about a dozen failed attempts to get a scarf going with an 8 oz skein of the same yarn that I'd dyed into quasi-Southwest colors. I think that the first yard or two of wool on that skein is worn down to lace-weight!

My wonderful sister Mary is visiting from Albuquerque this weekend. She is the one for whom I knit the Opera Shrug. Alas, it's too small for her! It will go to her daughter-in-law and I will start anew on something for Mary. I have some new Cascade Venezia (wool/silk combination) in worsted weigh that will do very nicely, but I can't start it until I finish (A) the second of the hand/wrist warmers from the Berocco Alpaca fine and (B) the cardigan for Jane (which is now to the point where I bind off for the armholes).

We took my sister to dinner last night at Rick's Cafe Boatyard which is on the Missouri River in downtown Omaha, but prior to eating we took a walk on the new pedestrian bridge that spans the Missouri and connects Nebraska and Iowa for walkers and bicyclists. It was dark when we walked it and it was lit beautifully. I'll have to check to see whether any of my pictures came out at all well -- it was windy so it was hard to stand completely still for the dark photos.

The bridge is an amazing structure. The suspension cables and the serpentine design gave me an impression of music, but I can't describe it any more distinctly than that. Here's a link to a web cam trained on the bridge.

Alas, today I have a migraine. I think it was a combination of dust in my nose from cleaning (long story) and the high winds in our area. But, the day is sunny and the trees are vibrant colors. I'll ride this part of the rollercoaster happily.

Hugs and good knitting to you!


1 comment:

Lady Euphoria Deathwatch said...

Hi Judith and Mandella,

Oh Judith, I feel for you with the dog situation. My dog, Lady Short, is in the same boat. Thirteen and back end on the fritz. So sad to watch a beloved pet going down hill.

I hope your head feels better very soon. Congrats! on the job situation also.

Sincerely, Euphoria