Before the flame was lit, I had wanted to find 'something yummy' with which to knit my bookmark. Time got ahead of me (quelle surprise) and in the end, the yarn chose me. For which I'm grateful. When I first started knitting again, after years of not, my first project was a pair of slouch socks for my mother, who has cold feet. When she wore the socks at night, she told me that her feet were warm for the first time in years. This yarn – the Olympic yarn - was from those socks. This yarn has good karma.
After the initial derailing, I got back on track. Exactly one week after the opening ceremonies, I picked up my knitting. Feeling the nubbly bumps of fuzzy stitches in my hands was like coming home. Knitting that first stitch was magic, all over again. Heaven.
By the time I’d knit the third stitch, I knew this was going to be my last project. My muscles were protesting and not the kind of protest that says ‘take it easy, go slow and you’ll get used to it’. No, it was a firm statement on behalf of my upper body that this was no longer for me. So as I knit on, I immersed myself in the process, filled my senses and my soul with yarn sliding through my hands and the clicking of the needles. Memorized knitting.
After I had finished the last stitch, I realized that something was off (some days, I’m blonder than others). Because of that first row knit by my mother, the two tails of yarn weren't on the same end, so the idea of a tassel was up against a problem. I briefly considered knitting one more row, but that didn't feel quite right - it felt almost like cheating. My Olympic goal had been one row, 16 stitches, no more. So I took a mental step back and thought about what the past sixteen days had meant to me.
My Knitting Olympics were about my personal best, about challenging myself to do something I believed I couldn’t do. Deep in my heart, unspoken, it had also been about trying again, about finding my way back to an old love I’d missed terribly.
But here's the thing: you can't go back. In life or with knitting.
I thought about the bookmark, about keeping it after I'd finished. I thought about why I would keep it. Would it be some sort of enshrined paean to a loss? Something to look at and be sad about? Would I remember losing at the Olympics or being there?
Or instead, I could start the next part of my life. Move on to wherever I'll be going, free and unencumbered by old wounds and old baggage. And that's when I realized that this has indeed been about something other than knitting, that my Olympic challenge had to do with saying a proper goodbye and letting go.
And I did.
(title shamlessly lifted... er, inspired by Michael Marshall Smith)