Thursday, January 10, 2008

Simple Joy

It's no secret to those who know me that I get too wrapped up in things. I feel as though I think about everything all of the time.

Here's a good example. I've purchased a large salmon filet for tonight's dinner. It's sitting in the refrigerator here at work. Every few minutes, I stop and think to myself, "Remember that there's salmon in the fridge!" I'd write a sticky note to myself about it, but that would lead me down the slippery slope of office supply procurement, and then I would find myself doing a rough count of the number of sheets of sticky note paper still on each of my two little pads, wondering if I should waste a note on something so simple as remembering to take dinner home. And what happens if and when I get the salmon home? We still haven't purchased a vent hood for our range, and the aroma from dinner two nights ago is still lingering in our bedroom as a result. What happens if I cook the fish and the whole house smells? I then start thinking about adding a vent hood to the kitchen, how much it will cost, how much it would cost to redo the entire kitchen, whether we should do that before replacing the inefficient windows, and how we're going to refinance both houses in order to be able to do any of this. I then start panicking about our financial situation. Maybe we shouldn't have moved. We were happy enough in our old house. Now, Daisy and Falstaff are happy in our old house. I need to get over there and clean up the yard and spray the peach tree with fungicide. I should put that on a note or a list.

All of that from a lovely salmon filet.

I'm trying to change this about myself, trying to remember that not everything has to be thought out in intricate detail. Sometimes it's good enough to let things be simple.

Lucy has this down. Lucy has very few wants. She loves food, she loves her bone, she loves being inside, and she loves us. We give her only those four things, and she's happy. We've tried over the course of her years with us to give her more. We tried to give her a nice yard, but she didn't much care for it. She wants to be in the house. We tried to teach her to play ball, but she'd only ever chase it a few times, then bring it back and lay at our feet. She wants to be with us, not running away from us to chase a ball. We tried to give her more elaborate, less tooth-wearing toys, but she'd ignore them in favor of frantically searching for her bone. In short, if we feed her and then let her inside to sit next to us and chew on her bone, she's good. She wants nothing more. She has no ulterior motives, no plans or schemes. She is simply happy.

The other day, while Accountant Boy was online looking at cars, I had an urge to knit and nothing in particular on the needles. I'd swatched for a sweater, but then I was going to have to find the pattern, and adjust for some differences in gauge, and then what if I didn't have the right circular needles, and...too much stress. Wasn't knitting fun for me at one point? When did it become another thing to worry over?

I wandered into the garage and opened one of the stash bins, the bin that has all of the single skeins. I thought about how I needed to reorganize all of the bins, and that thought sent me spinning down the path of reorganizing the whole garage, even though it was near midnight and below freezing. "No! Just stick your hand in and pick one!" I said to myself. I came up with a skein of Berroco Chinchilla Colors in 'Tuscany'. I'd bought it, along with other yarn that I don't exactly remember, from Webs. I only had the one skein, and it was probably four years old. There wouldn't be more of it. I stood there with it in my hand, debating between using it and waiting until I had the right yarn for the body of a sweater so that I could use the Chinchilla for the collar, even though I have no thoughts of wanting a multicolored faux-fur collared sweater.

I shook myself out of my daze of thoughts and left the garage. I plucked a pair of size 13 needles out of the pretty jar that Daisy gave to me a couple of years ago. I sat cross-legged on the chaise with my one ball of yarn and my big needles. After a couple of test cast-ons to see how wide my scarf would be, I started knitting.

It was soothing, the sound of the wooden needles tapping together, the rhythmic sweeping as they slid past each other. I watched with interest as the colors linked together from row to row. I kept stopping to tug on the material to see how it was going to look, and grinning gleefully at the plush furrows. It was only ten stitches wide. There was no way to mess it up, no pattern to follow, no deadline for completion. It was just fun. I'd forgotten how much fun it could be.

I don't know how long it took to finish, maybe two or three hours. By the time we left the house the next day, I was wearing it.

It's stretched quite a bit, making it much narrower and quite a bit longer than I'd thought it would be. I don't care. I wrap it around my neck three or four times and wear it anyway. Marvel at how good it looks with my abstract Korean art.

Feeling inspired by my new outlook on knitting, I went back into the bins and came up with four balls of sock yarn from Interlacements. According to Clayton, there wasn't enough twist for it to be used for socks. I bought it two Stitches ago, intending to make a Clapotis from it. Then I threw it in the stash and kept coming up with impractical alternatives involving doubling it with a solid sock yarn and making a sweater from it.

The Hell with that noise. It's time for that yarn to be something other than a complicated thought in my head. It's coming along nicely, I think.

I'm not making formal resolutions this year, because they'd only end up as more worries on my mind. I'm simply going to try to follow my little mantra. Less thinking, more doing. Less planning, more living.

1 comment:

Trillian42 said...

"Less thinking, more doing. Less planning, more living."

I LIKE that! I need to remember that one. I'm the same way - my mind races, and it makes me crazy.