Posts Tagged 'things my father left me'

One simple scarf – grey, red, blue

greyredblueThis garter stitch scarf was made the first year we lived in the house nearer to downtown. It was knit on summer days, gazing out at the mountain in the distance while listening to the radio. I used Minerva wool, because that’s what was in my Mom’s stash, and chose simple garter stitch, so I wouldn’t forget what side I was on and purl when I should knit.

I chose grey and blue, because the scarf was for my father, who had blue-grey eyes, and then red, so it wouldn’t be too boring. The moths have gotten to it a bit, and the Minerva yarn isn’t all that soft (he didn’t end up wearing the scarf because it was too scratchy).

It’s a memory of hot summer nights, when I first started the project, then the desperate figuring near November, if the scarf would be long enough by Christmas before I ran out of stash. Of time that ticked away while I was content, alone with my thoughts — back before I was worried about Latin class and physics. For me, it’s a bit more than a simple garter stitch scarf, but it’s time for it to belong to someone else. How about you — any early projects that have grown in importance over the years?

Following someone else’s annotations 2

Dad’s copy of Wordsworth’s The Prelude is filled with comments, but only in specific sections: Books 1, 6-7, 13. I can’t tell if, perhaps, the notes reflect a paper he was working on, or notes scrawled in the margins during the class. It’s interesting what Dad noticed or jots down: the penciled words “disregard for rules” right beside a passage “This spurious virtue, rather let it bear/A name it now deserves, this cowardice,/Gave treacherous sanction to that over-love/Of freedom which encouraged me to turn from regulations even of my own…” The Prelude, Book 6, lines 30-34. Whereas I get lost in beautiful descriptions:

“….Often have I stood
Foot-bound uplooking at this lovely tree
Beneath a frosty moon. The hemisphere
Of magic fiction, verse of mine perchance
May never tread: but scarcely Spenser’s self
Could have more tranquil visions in his youth,”
The Prelude Book 6, lines 85-90.

In this passage I can see allusions to Spenser’s Faery Queen, references to an ash tree with ivy hanging from it, and the frost filled air of a campus in winter. My father (before he was a father) seemed concerned about disregarding rules, or ways that Wordsworth talked about disrespecting authority. And, I get the feeling from other scribbling that he might not have been enjoying himself, and I’m so glad that when I studied Wordsworth, he wanted me to enjoy the poetry, even when he wanted me to enjoy his parodies. He was patient with my enthusiasm, and gave me the gift of deciding what I liked. So, have you read The Prelude? Any thoughts on it? Did your teachers make you “skip around” in it, or let you plow through? In my courses, there wasn’t the time I have now, to sit and enjoy, so I’ll keep going, until I get to the end. I’m more than halfway done, after all.

Following someone else’s annotations

Years ago, my Dad told me how some ministers annotate the Bible, and how exciting it would be to read the same Bible that Martin Luther put notes in. (Now you can. Article at the Universitat Utrechts’ Humanities website: )

My Dad was a minister, and he caught the bug and wrote notes (or inserted notes on pieces of paper in his art books) all the time. I have the same habit (not for library books, though, or most reading) when I’m studying something. I can’t decide if it’s bad or not, but now I have a copy of my father’s Wordsworth. And it’s somewhat comforting, me reading the same book he read back in 1964, and realizing that he must have read it in Seminary. It may also be slightly comforting that I’m having an easier time with The Prelude (but I’ve fallen asleep over his divinity texts. So… dry…).

So, have you ever followed someone else’s annotations like footprints in the grass?

More later on this poem and Wordsworth, I think. Maybe after I look at the article about Martin Luther’s Bible. How very cool is that?


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