I’m sitting here wondering if you have had the same experience as I have had as I watch the ongoing recovery stories of Superstorm Sandy. The heart-wrenching photos of submerged homes and devastated neighborhoods can’t help but bring a wave of pity, an urge to help, a desire to do something to ease their pain. Here in Illinois we know a thing or two about Mother Nature throwing a fit and taking out your subdivision.
It’s the human stories, however, that give me pause. I hear tender stories of elderly couples and young mothers clinging to hope in Red Cross shelters. Train-riding friends bemoan the absurd bus commutes forced upon them by a lack of rail lines. All that waiting and coping, coping and waiting…
It had me ready to run to U-Haul, fill a van, and start driving east. Not just with a load of food, batteries, blankets, and bottled water, but with needles and yarn. Really, I heard a piece on NPR that had me nearly in tears, wanting to run to New Jersey and teach these people to knit.
Why? Because I know how the wait-and-cope season of a disaster feels. I know the bone-deep urge to do something–anything–only to know there is nothing yet to do. Grief, loss, damage, wreckage…the sitting around involved is as hard to bear as the disaster itself. And it is then, most especially then, that knitting keeps me alive and sane.
It is progress when there is no progress to be had. It the deeply gratifying act of creating something from nothing. It is accomplishment, calm, connectivity, activity, sheer occupation to keep the frantic thoughts at bay. It’s everything that is my personal antidote for disaster, and I want someone else to have it, too. “Here,” I want to say, handing them yarn and needles, “this can help. Let me show you how.”
DestiKNITters, has this happened to you?