Whales Before My Window

As much as I deride myself for my self-proclaimed reigning status as Queen of Unfinished Objects, when I pick up an old project that has lingered too long in limbo, there is so much more to that act for me than simply returning to a forgotten piece of knitting.  Though I may initially feel the burden of finishing what I have pushed aside, in time I feel myself returning to the scent and sensation of memories buried deep within the fibers of my work.  My fingers gently tease out the strands of time and weaves them into a subtle mantle of remembrance, transporting me to another time and place.  What begins as work becomes a reminder of a sliver of time I have forgotten.  Cherry Fizz has been such a project.
 

Sunset on Bullman Bay - October 2009


 
It is October 2009 and I am about 4 months pregnant as we make our way to the coast.  We ride a ferry I’ve never been on, something not difficult to do here in the Pacific Northwest, where water travel is the norm.  We pass miles of lonely coastline, all jagged boulders and slate-grey froth beneath a sky that perpetually hints of rain.  Scattered clusters of dilapidated homes sprout from the earth like mushrooms, moldering under lush carpets of poison green moss, a gift of the damp twilight that is their birthright.  As always, I wonder what people so far from urban life do for a living.  Are they lonesome in this isolation or have they desperately sought it?  I watch them pass and I mourn for those who don’t belong here but must stay, with a sadness that overwhelms me, despite not being mine to claim.  We are driving to Bullman Bay, where my husband will be taking a three day intensive kayaking class and I will relax, walk the beach, and generally rest myself and incubate our baby.
 
When we arrive at the Bullman Beach Inn I am amused.  I don’t know what I thought I was expecting, but this isn’t quite it.  Our room will be at the far end of what looks like an outbuilding.  We have paid for the “Waterfront Full View” room, which is a song in October – only $75 per night – and we find that the view is fantastic.  Stepping through the sliding glass door into our room, we find what is really more like a furnished apartment.  There is a living room with a recliner and small love seat, which leads straight into a small kitchen with a dining table and two chairs, both rooms flanked on one side by that stunning ocean view.  Down the short hall to the left is our bedroom, complete with two twin beds, and a bathroom to our right across from the bedroom.  All this is furnished in an eclectic mix of 60’s surfer chic and 70’s basement, complete with dark wood paneling.  I’m instantly charmed and imagine the distant day when we might bring our child here and tell him or her about the time we visited before their arrival.  The only hitch is the twin beds.  We are snugglers. Yes, I’ll admit it.  But my belly has started to swell a bit and my back, hips and knees often hurt even though I’m early in my pregnancy.  So it’s really not so bad if we have our own space at night, and it’s just for a couple days anyway.
 
I get up early with R. Darling in the mornings before his class.  We have coffee or cocoa or tea and a little something to eat.  Then he prepares to battle wind, surf, frustration and exhaustion, from his kayak on the turbulent waves off the coast of Cape Flattery.  Sometimes I go back to bed after he leaves, but mostly I curl up in the recliner and read, looking up periodically to savor the panoramic view of sky and sea through my front window.  I have brought 4 books and Cherry Fizz.  I end up reading all 4 books in the 3 days of our visit and I work on Cherry Fizz half-heartedly in between.  Yet, it is this trip that I associate Cherry Fizz with the most.  For the first trimester of my pregnancy I was so exhausted and so ill all the time that I had to quit knitting.  For some reason the activity made my nausea unbearable and I resorted to spending most of my time that I wasn’t asleep, reading books.  But by October, I was feeling better and I had missed my knitting.
 
Each day I would walk the beach once or twice, buffeted by cold winds that whipped my hair into a dark froth.  I had to remind myself to look up at the sea and savor its swirling kinetic force, because my eyes were continually searching the sand.  Sea glass, pitted stones in gloriously misshapen forms, and the rare agate, made their way into my pockets, reminders that I was indeed here and it wasn’t just a dream.
 
What I remember most is the morning R. Darling and I saw a whale from the kitchen window.  The sky had pinkened from pre-dawn grey to early morning lavender.  We were eating breakfast and chatting before R.Darling had to leave for the day, watching the light change across the open ocean before our window.  R. Darling saw it first; a plume of water bursting free in the cold morning air.  He pointed when it happened again, and I squinted but couldn’t see.  The whale moved back into deeper water and I was disheartened I did not get to see it.  Later, after R. Darling had left, I scanned the sea again, hoping I might catch a glimpse of something, anything, and I was rewarded with a momentary eruption of air and water to the left of my field of vision.  I watched the whale spouting for a while and felt a connection to this gentle creature and the rhythms of nature.  I touched my stomach and thought of my baby and wondered about our future.
 
Now, Cherry Fizz is finished and whenever I look at it, I’m transported back to that long weekend at the beach.  What a wonderful gift I have given myself.  This scarf will always evoke happy memories for me and I will remember forever the whales before my window.
 

 

  • Pattern: Cherry Fizz by Kate Gilbert  (Ravelry link here; Twist Collective Spring 2009 link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  Approximately 1.39 hanks of Dream In Color Classy in “Absolute Magenta”
  • Needles:  Size 8 bamboo straights
  • Mods:  None

 

 
I love this scarf!  It was worth the nearly 2 year wait (I started it in June of 2009, let it idle until October 2009, and then dropped it again until January 2011).  The charts were complicated and I actually really enjoyed that aspect of it.  Watching the medallion shapes grow and change was really thrilling, especially when I picked it up again after my long hiatus and really dedicated myself to finishing it.  I had a little trouble with the double increase (dinc) in the pattern and realized I was most probably doing it wrong until January when I started it again.  I think there is a video now that explains how to do it, but I figured no one will probably notice except for me and I wasn’t about to rip out all of a 2/3 completed scarf just to suit my OCD tendencies.  Blocking was a pain because I didn’t have enough pins and nowhere to lay it out (Knittymunchkin’s room used to be the blocking zone) but I made do and it doesn’t look too bad.  I think I’ll get lots of use out of this and even if I don’t, it will always remind me of a special trip and a wonderful time in my life, waiting for the arrival of Little Mister.

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9 thoughts on “Whales Before My Window

  1. You look so beautiful in that photo! And I loved reading your story. It is those types of moments that we must store away and remember with all out hearts.

    Fantastic scarf! It looks amazing.

  2. What a great story! I have associations with some projects. Just bought enough Dream in Color for a sweater. It’s nice yarn.

  3. Lovely scarf! You know, it’s odd, but I don’t have any deep memory associations with any of my knitting. When I took up knitting again, I started by kntting a way-too-big sweater on a long trip to and from Italy. However, I’ve long since donated that sweater away, but it didn’t bother me a bit to be rid of it, even though it was associated with a very nice vacation.

  4. You look amazing and I feel as is I saw everything you did. Your writing has always been an inspiration. As always, thank you for sharing and inspiring!

  5. What a beautiful scarf! I do have associations with some of my knitting. Sometimes it’s the reason I bought the yarn, sometimes it’s what was going on while I knit the item. For good or bad, we knit the kinetic memories into the items.

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