Monday, December 17, 2007

Well folks, I've decided that there is hope for humanity after all. (Warning: You'll find no yarn in the following story.)

Last Thursday I went down to Boston for a business meeting. I took the bus, which is every Mainer's friend when going to Boston. The trip down was smooth and uneventful. I had my meeting, met my brother for a nice lunch, and then...wham. Snow arrived. By the time I made it back to South Station, the city had shut down and there was a mass exodus out of town. I stood in line waiting to board the 2:15 bus. And then the ticket guy came out and said, "I have room for four more." I counted ahead of me... one... two... three... four... and then me.

Fifth in line. So I stood as the 2:15 left and waited for the 3:15, not wanting to abandon my prime spot in line. Around us, chaos reigned. All buses heading south were canceled. Angry New York-bound passengers steamed to and fro, yelling, huffing, puffing, and generally Not Helping Things. But the line of folks headed to Maine stayed calm and philosophical. "These things happen," said the guy behind me, smiling.

So the 3:15 arrived. Joy! We boarded. We got comfortable. I took out my iPod and settled in. And then the driver climbed on board and announced that they'd had an emergency at Logan and needed the bus. "You'll have to disembark and wait for the next bus, which should be here in about 30 minutes." We all got off and massed back inside -- my pristine spot in line lost forever. Not something to be fought, I told myself. I just want to get home. It's ok.

Finally the next bus finally arrived. I prepared for a jostle, and I hoped for a seat this time around. And then the crowd ahead of me parted. People looked back in the crowd until they spotted me, and then someone said, "That's her -- she's been waiting here the longest, she should board first." The others agreed and parted so that I could walk up front.

Quite frankly, this blew my mind. And this simple act of human kindness kept my heart warm and hopeful even as we proceeded to get caught in the most astounding Boston gridlock I've ever experienced. The streets were a snowy chaos, cars in every direction, no lanes, nobody paying any attention to the traffic signals, and nobody moving.

We watched our first movie.

We watched our second movie.

I napped as they started to replay the first movie again.

And during this time we barely reached the outskirts of Boston. (The same town from which we'd left, if I need remind you.)

We were all together in this bus with nothing to do but be together. Nobody was fighting it. I listened to people tell their life stories to one another. I listened to them offer advice, jokes, laughter, compassion. I listened to people call home and say goodnight to their children. And as we pulled into the Portland bus station SEVEN hours after we'd left (it's a two-hour ride normally), we all applauded the driver. If our butts hadn't fused with our seats by that point I'm sure we would've given him a standing ovation.

Did I mention I hadn't brought any knitting with me? As I said, there's no yarn in this post.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The allure of a "room of one's own" seems to be timeless and universal. My heartfelt thanks to everybody for your well-wishes as I begin moving into my room of my own.

So far I've made just two significant discoveries about my space.

First discovery: There's a reason they sell double-paned windows.
When it's 12 degrees outside and the wind is blowing at 35 miles per hour, a sparkly winter wonderland spreads across all my windows. I knew there'd be insulation issues with the single-paned windows but was not in a position to fork out four times the cost for the fancier double-paned ones. So, well, this is the result. (Note to self: Keep towels handy on warmer days. All that water has to go somewhere.)

Second discovery: Despite these single-paned windows, the space is snug as a bug in a rug. The heater heats both floors like nobody's business, and it's warm enough for this little scene to play itself out on my windowsill.
See? She's wearing a skirt, that's how warm it is.

And third (ok I've made three discoveries about the space): My most prized knitterly possession has nowhere to go.
It's a cherry umbrella swift I purchased years ago. I love this swift. I use this swift. It needs a place to go. The place where it was supposed to go is too thick. Ken will be summonsed.

In the meantime, I'm loving spending time in this new space and simply looking out the windows. Every 10 minutes the view changes. The light shifts, the clouds move, the pond freezes and thaws and freezes. And, for the last two days, the snow has fallen.

Maine's yearly cycle has, for me, two magic moments: The first time you hear the peepers in the spring, and the first snowfall. It is exquisite, pure, and beautiful.