Lace Musings Cont.

Continued from the August newsletter...

The foothills are waking  and no other vehicles slalom down the Saluda Grade tandem to mine. Fog lays thick over Columbus and Tryon, and for several heartbeats I see it clearly: mist reaching across the countryside, miles in every direction, before I plunge in myself and become lost. In the clear air I’ve left behind, an archipelago of peaks stretches into watery sunlight, above the lapping fog—but now I can see no evidence of it. That vision is past.

Beside me on the seat is the knitting bag I always carry. I’ve been prepping the Lace III class coming up in August, so the bag holds a silvery-soft ball of Findley alpaca-merino-silk, a pattern, and almost exactly three quarters of an Estonian lace scarf.

I remember working every stitch, and it takes no imagination whatsoever to bring forward the feel the scarf’s silken web in my fingers, the slide of loop over needle as the fabric builds. The memory is so powerful that for a moment it supersedes the foggy road, and I become this evening’s me: happily looping the lovely yarn into the final length of scarf, picking up stitches around the edges to knit the border.

According to one theory in physics, there is no present, and the only elements of time that exist are the past and the future. The math that works this out is mind-boggling, but today as I drive the practicality of it all hits hard. The delicate web of fabric I plan to teach is not only a remembrance of my own past, it reflects the collective skills of a millennia of individuals being launched, smiling, into the indeterminate future. The time this lace has spent in my hands connects me both to the laces of my forebears and to new people I will be too dead to meet (especially since I just nearly drove over a Honda in the rotary getting off of I-26 at 108 in Columbus).

The headlamps don’t come on automatically in this old blue truck; as my heart rate returns slowly to normal, my left hand reaches for the dash and does the work. Click, Click. Lights are now on. Such a fleeting present, like my vision of the hilltops in the fog and the near miss with a Honda in the rotary, exists in the spaces between the stitches of the past and the future.