I have heard It said, and please do not ask me by whom, because I cannot tell you, but it appears to be said by wise people of a certain age, ‘the older you get, the less you know, and the less certain you are’. This is usually said with a fair degree of certainty.
Today I want to tell you of one thing I do know to be true. You cannot knit, even be an average knitter without learning how to ‘pick up stitches’. No matter how careful, from time to time, a stitch is dropped. By the time you realize, it may well be 10 rows down. You have a choice; undo the 10 rows, pick up the errant loop, then re-knit those 10 rows, OR learn the more tricky task of weaving back to pick up that long gone, but still essential stitch, without which you will have a hole, which in time will compromise the whole piece.
When I was a young one, by which I mean late teens, questions of higher education were rather daunting. Art collage or university. Truth be told, I was not one whit interested in any academics, I spent my teenage years either in a book, or behind an easel, while my peers were into exploring each other. Yet, when that choice point came, I choose Psychology at Trinity College in Dublin rather than the equally prestigious art college.
That education was in fact the basis for a career which I really loved and which supported me and mine during my earning years, now complete. I have no regret, merely a deepening curiosity as to why so many of us walk away from a first impulse? Does the press of the practical world ‘making a living’ loom too large? Do we doubt our talents to succeed in the arts?
In my case, it felt too vulnerable to study art, to be subjected to the rigors of techniques when I just needed a safe canvas upon which to paint itself, that was not subject to de-construction or ‘right’ expression.
We all have our reasons, our arguments and if we are truly fortunate, we may also have the living pulse of ‘the road not taken’ that survives decades of relative dormancy.
The great surprise of this post professional life; I ‘picked up’ my first love. It has sat quietly in the wings of my interest all this time, waiting for the long reach of the needle of regard to draw it back, to weave it up through the decades of lived life, to bring it to the present row of time.
Luckily in the fallow years, I learnt to knit.