Yarn Along (by Bethany)

It’s Wednesday and time for Yarn Along, which is hosted by Ginny on her blog Small Things.

Yarn Along Photo 2.13

This is half a sock. A third of a sock, really. It’s on top of a book, which is on top of a book of sock patterns, which is on top of a crate of books, which is on top of another crate of books, which itself is held up by a floor, which is held up by walls, which are held up by a foundation, which is held in place vertically by cement and held up by sand, in a city famous for its fault lines and the way its structures have a way of crashing down.

I’ve had a terrible week. If you think that last paragraph is dark now, you should have seen the first draft.

The book in the photo is Steven Kotler’s West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief. This book has been on my shelf for years, largely unnoticed, and on Sunday I found it at a moment when I really, really needed it. Those kinds of discoveries happen to me quite often and are, as far as I’m concerned, the primary reason to keep a large home library. Libraries and bookstores are there for me when I want books, but how many times have I needed books at those moments when bookstores and libraries aren’t accessible: in the middle of the night, when cars are broken, when I am far away from anywhere, either literally or figuratively. This is a memoir about the way Kotler used surfing to rebound after a health crisis that brought him to an absolute personal and professional low point. It’s also about the things that human beings choose to invest with religious significance. It’s about God and gods and shamans and weather and oceans and Joseph Campbell and mythic heroes and people who give up everything else in life to float around in a dangerous ocean on a little tiny board in recognition of the fact that that’s what we’re all doing, really, and sometimes it’s a good idea to acknowledge that reality. It’s a good book. I recommend it.

The sock is green. It’s the first lace item I’ve ever even attempted in the eighteen years since my first knitting lesson. I’ve made a few errors in the pattern, but they don’t look too bad, and I think I know how to avoid such glitches from here on out. I worked on it a lot on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (while the colorblock sweater I’ve been showing you for the last few weeks sits still in pieces, by the way), but since then I haven’t been able to focus much on it. But I like knowing it’s there – something beautiful and intricate yet entirely manageable – for when the nastiness has passed.

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2 Responses to Yarn Along (by Bethany)

  1. Tara says:

    The sock looks wonderful, and I think I’m going to find that book! It looks amazing. Hope you feel better soon!

    • lfpbe says:

      Tara – you would love the book, except that it will make you want to drop everything and devote your life to surfing (which will take time away from paper-grading) :-).

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