It's just over a year now that my faithful friend Tania and her family made their trek back home (389 days ago to be exact). The Northwest was never home to them, although they worked hard to make it fit for a handful of years. Looking back I'm surprised they made it that long. Torn away from their families, the places they've known all their lives to be banished out into the rustic setting of the Olympic Peninsula. Tania and I only had each other while our husbands circled the US on tours for weeks and weeks at a time. We managed a sort of co-parenting for our 3 young children, trying to keep life as normal as possible without their dad's. It was under no uncertain terms: Survival of the Fittest. We were each other's support system, and E has always viewed these friends as blood. Tania's news totally knocked me off my feet, and I can say honestly that recovering has been a slow and painful process. I'm not convinced that the ache will ever subside. She walked with me through the peaks and valleys and that's important, the immediate absence of kindred friendship like that leaves you wounded.
Tania knit me a scarf one year for my birthday, or was it Christmas? She knew my favorite color, and chose a very soft and cozy strand for one of her very first projects. As is custom in mastering the art of knitting the stitches are uneven and awkwardly sag in places. I recall her mentioning that she had to wrestle it away from her oldest son (2 or 3-years-old at the time), leaving a fringe of uneven loops at one end. Character. I've often worn it proudly, and this afternoon just seemed like another great occasion. She's been on my mind. The thought did once cross my mind to re-knit it to even things up, but to do so would have snuffed the soul right out of it and I'm glad I've left it just the way it is.
I picture her unconventional grip on the needles, her concentration, her love. How she touched each part of this scarf that wraps round and round my neck and can't help but feel the warmth. After all these days and miles apart we've managed to stay connected, I feel like I'm still part of her life, part of her family. I think we both sense the invisible strand that stretches, stretches from her to me; both of us holding ends not willing to let go.