I couldn’t believe her luck, but adorable found a great apartment, complete with friendly roommate, on her very first try. Saturday morning found us hitting the road early and making our way to Ikea, where we furnished her entire room (almost). We arrived at 11 am, wandered through the candy-land world of imaginary living-rooms and pristine kitchens inhabited by nebulous spirits and violated by all layers of humanity. There’s a gleeful voyeurism in a visit to Ikea – you wander through someone else’s home, sit on their made bed, browse their bookshelves, open their cupboards – you invade another person’s private space in a way that would be frankly abhorrent in the real world. I can’t help myself, I gulp thirstily at the tactile detail of it all until I’m bloated with the bright colors and slick surfaces, over-stimulated and exhausted.
After three hours of simply looking around, adorable and I stumbled across the street to have lunch and plan our secondary wave of attack. We measured and discussed the schematic of her living space, pondered bedframe and bookshelf options, and finally settled on the items we would try and purchase. At three, we threw ourselves once more into the breech and emerged two hours later with most of the things we’d been hoping to get and a promise that more would be delivered the next day.
There’s nothing like being a big sister – it’s the part of myself that I feel proudest about, the part of myself that makes me feel confident and capable. So of course, there’s very little as fulfilling as spending the day helping the little sis get settled in. After conquering Ikea we managed to purchase a mattress and a TV and finished the day off with a dinner of delicious sushi.
Sunday I was supposed to show up at adorable’s new place and help assemble all that Ikea (next to knitting, I consider furniture assembly a worthy “crafty” activity) but I woke up with a nasty head-cold, barely able to move. The Baron and I made a quick appearance at a baby shower and then I napped the rest of the day away.
Yes, all this moving is big doings, and exhausting in its own right, but there’s more. It’s like I’ve been in a sweatlodge, just working out what’s been going on, and now there’s detritus to shake off, slowly, and in tiny crystalline pellets.
There is a little monster inside my brain that likes to cause trouble. It’s the creature that calls to me when things get scary, telling me I’m out of place, not quite right, out of bounds. To combat this little monster, I like to try and create order, define a structure for things: like knitting, you follow a pattern, work your techniques, build row after row, and finally end up with something solid, something whole: A leads to B which leads to C which leads to, ta da! a beautiful sweater or a wonderful and fulfilling life. Even the crazy projects like Clapotis, with risky and exciting knit-through-back-loop and drop-stitch directions, come to fruition through careful attention to pattern and process. Life is not always so easy, does not always bend to structure and rhythm or patterns in black and white on the page. I try as hard as I can to research, organize and structure myself into safety, away from the risk of getting hurt or disappointed, but sometimes all that structure becomes an obstruction between me and the chance for happiness right in front of me.
The long and short of it is that The Baron has asked me to make his house my home. It’s a baby-step, and we’re both a little timid about things right now, but I can’t imagine a more loving and good-hearted person to take this step with.
All this motion puts me in mind of a favorite poem:
Keeping Things Whole
In a field
I am the absence
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.
When I walk
I part the air
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.
We all have reasons
to keep things whole.
And on that note, the final butterfly from the Pavillion of Wings: