Friday, May 22, 2015
Seventeen years ago this week, we crossed the bridge into Maine and began our new life. That number seems surreal to me, both a blink of an eye and multiple lifetimes. I remember, in my 20s, zoning out when someone began a sentence with "17 years ago." That was, like, so irrelevant to now.
And yet if you're really, really lucky, if you manage to keep waking up every morning, your reward is that you, too, can be one of those people who begins their sentences with, "Seventeen years ago."
How exhilarating it felt to arrive in a place where we knew nobody. We had no strings in Portland, no ties, no history in this town at all. Our canvas was blank, we could paint on it whatever world we envisioned. I bought a state-of-the-art Dell desktop and set up shop in a sunny window overlooking our tiny courtyard. I took to the freelance lifestyle instantly.
Two years later that very same month, I got an idea to start an online knitting magazine all about yarn. I bought the domain "knittersreview.com" and started working on the logo and layout. It all came quickly and easily. After years of using my skills for things that didn't resonate, it felt exquisite to pair them with my passion.
Blink, and that was 15 years ago. From my work on Knitter's Review came books, years of traveling and teaching, several radio interviews, and even a gig on PBS. It's been a really rather beautiful gift, a grand adventure, none of which I could have possibly anticipated when we crossed the river and cheered the "Welcome to Maine" sign.
Fifteen is a good number. It's odd but round, well past one decade but without the creeping sediment of 20. It's that roadside stop, the one at the crest of the hill, with picnic tables and blooming rugosas and a clear view of the road you've traveled thus far--and the possible paths ahead. It's a beautiful roadside stop, and I'm enjoying the rest, the perspective, the introspection. I've packed a picnic and may stay a while.
Right after we arrived in Portland, we received a housewarming gift from my old colleagues in San Francisco--a clivia plant, which sported a cluster of orange flowers. This plant has kept me company all these years, accompanying me through… let's see… one, two, three, now four moves. It's a patient and friendly plant that deserves a lot more TLC than I've provided. Yet this week, 17 years later and right on schedule, it decided to gift us with another bloom.