Mittens and Mortality
I heard something on Wiretap about a website that tries to reconnect people with their lost mittens. It was a sweet and quirky piece on loss, about how a mitten is sometimes one of the first losses we suffer that no one but us really cares about. Parents don’t post signs all over the city, trying to find your mitten. If you’re lucky, you get new mittens, but the new mittens aren’t as good as the ones you had. It might also be one of the first times we notice that the value in some things is because it’s a pair. Half becomes useless.
About 25 years ago, I bought a book on knitting mittens. Pretty standard: a dozen patterns with pictures and instructions. For some reason, maybe because I was on a long car trip across the country with little to read, I read the introduction, and it got me really choked up. It was one of those things, like Pirate Radio, that always gets me, because it's about trying to bring your better self into the world. It said something about how it doesn’t matter if you pick patterns from this book or a different one, but find a mitten pattern, memorize it, make it your own. Knit mittens for everyone you love, and when the mittens get lost, knit them a better pair. And when the person seems a little lost lost, knit them a pair even if they don't need it, because actually, they do. Because life is about losing and carrying on with dignity and with luck, two mittens. It’s about people noticing and caring for one another, and offering what they can, even if consolation is in the form of two tiny woolen paws.
I just went to find that book and couldn’t. I looked with my other knitting books, and also with my writing books, but poof. Maybe I gave it away. Would I do that? Yes. Because I haven’t made two of anything in a long, long time. Hats. That’s all. Two heads are not better than one. If people had two heads, there would be nothing left for a person like me to knit.
I’ve been having the same dream over and over lately, not like MLK’s dream or anything. In my dream I realize I have to leave, go away from my loved ones to a far away place, and I can’t take anything with me, and I have no work or housing or anything in the new place, but there’s nothing I can do about it. BC says it probably means I have some undetected disease that only my subconscious knows about. Don’t we all. Mortality, that’s the disease.