Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Respite knitting

My adopted home state of Wisconsin has been rocked by political unrest I would have thought inconceivable a few short weeks ago.  The Japanese earthquake was bad, the tsunami worse, and the nuclear ramifications have me glued to the computer, with three or four news windows open simultaneously. The unrest all over the Middle East brings to mind high school history texts and the year 1848--"the year of revolution" in Europe.

What can I do, as a small person in this sudden upheaval, this messy world?  I read carefully, try to send donations where they will do the most good, maybe volunteer for whatever might make a small difference.

Yet I think the most important thing for me personally is to try to shield my children from this news--one is taking an important math final at University as I write this, one is basking in recent acceptance to the college of her choice, the little one is aiming to aim higher at his next science Olympiad event.

These kids will have the weight of this world on their own shoulders soon enough, soon enough. No need to burden them with all this now--boiling nuke rod pools, the possibility that household income will be substantially cut among their friends and neighbors, the effects on their friends' college choices.

Life is uncertain. On your way to the supermarket in Cairo, the revolution erupts. You wake up on a workday in Tokyo and the ground slips out from under you. The bus going downtown in your quiet Midwestern hometown is rerouted because 75,000 people--nurses, firefighters, plumbers, professors, teachers, DMV clerks--are out demonstrating, and the next day, 100,000 are out in the wind and winter weather. Modeling calmness is hard. I feel like a fake.

Thank goodness for a project in hand, for mohair and beads and lace and yarn.  For community boards and e-mails and questions about the best way to cast off. Thank goodness for knitting.