As we pack for our trip out west, exchanging everyday tedium for road trip periphanalia, our settings slowly recalibrate to vacation mode. Thoughts of dish detergent turn instead to, “How many books should I pack for two days through Kansas?” In our pantry, practical Crock Pot ingredients are shoved aside for bright boxes brimming with gummi-somethings. Glass cleaner is forgotten and sunscreen takes its place.
I pack my clothes along with the bags of general family sundries that someone has to pack: calamine lotion and paper plates. I pack up my toddlers’ clothes (who, left to their own devices, would pack eight pounds of picture books, three swimsuits and a clutch of Legos).
And I pack my knitting projects for the road.
I am only a little embarrassed to admit that I put more energy into the planning and gathering of knitting projects than all other trip components combined. There is a science to picking the perfect knitting-on-road-trip projects. The projects must offer difficult elements to challenge my ablilities (when else do I have the luxury of undivided knitting time anyway?) and lots of straight stockinette to knit blindly as I gaze at the changing scenery. The yarn must be beautiful and the pattern must produce a finished project that will be a worthy vacation souvenir.
As I knit on the road, each tidy stitch falling into place, I feel myself realign.
On the road I can breathe, my lungs fill with renewal and hope and optimism.
Out the window the changing landscape excites my imagination and a fresh person awakens within me. Ideas of new worlds enter my brain, mutating my DNA. (As I pass a creek in Wyoming named Old Woman Creek I know beyond any doubt that this will be the name of the winery I’ll open when I am old, and ready to settle down again.)
On the road I slip out of my old soul, unfettered by past sins and present failings, a snake skin shed. I am freed from the person I am known to be. I am free to improve.
Around the bend I am sweet and charitable.
Over the next hill I am who I want to be.