It’s been a month filled with travel for the staff at Knit Purl. For my own vacation, I was fortunate to join my mom on a train between California and Colorado. While Oleya’s trip to France got her thinking about knitting projects, my trip got me thinking about the knitting process.
Train travel, like knitting, is not for the impatient. Our trip would have taken less than 3 hours by plane, less than 20 in a car. Instead, we spent 33 hours in transit. They were some of the most relaxing hours of my whole year. As the train swayed soothingly, I found that all I wanted to do was gaze out the window. In a car, I feel more conscious of the vehicles around me and the strip of asphalt beneath us than of any scenery beyond. A train window, on the other hand, frames pure landscape.
We watched conifer-covered mountains soften into Nevada desert—studded with puddles from recent showers and festooned with rainbows. The light grew pink and orange and dimmed. I knit a couple hundred stitches and went to bed, not wanting to miss more sights in the morning. The train rocked reassuringly all night.
Our second day started in Utah, austere and golden. Gradually, as if to complement the sagebrush, shades of red appeared in the hillsides. The train waltzed with the Colorado River for a few hours. A doe watched us from the shallows as her fawn nursed. We ascended into the Rocky Mountains, every turn treating us to a vista that felt like a secret.
Slow and a bit old-fashioned, but meditative, satisfying, and with potential for great beauty. Train travel is not the only thing I could describe this way. When I knit, I often admonish myself for wanting to watch my fingers form each stitch. It would be so much more efficient, I reason, to watch something else while I knit.
But maybe the goal doesn't need to be cramming a maximum number of activities into a minimum amount of time. Maybe I can remember that transportation doesn't need to be something to endure, a project doesn't need to be something to distract myself from. Maybe I can accept that I feel most grounded, most connected when I allow myself time to engage with each step of a process, when I let myself enjoy watching each stitch, each mile, go by.