Marching Forth

                                                         Work without Hope

                                  All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair–
                                  The bees are stirring–birds are on the wing–
                                  And WINTER slumbering in the open air,
                                  Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
                                  And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,
                                  Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.
                                  Yet well I ken the banks where Amaranths blow,

                                  Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
                                  Bloom, O ye Amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
                                  For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
                                  With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
                                  And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
                                  WORK WITHOUT HOPE draws nectar in a sieve,
                                  And HOPE without an object cannot live.

                                       By: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
                                       Lines Composed 21st February 1825

In typical North Carolina fashion, traffic-paralyzing ice storms, tree-toppling gales, and sunny daffodils have all paid calls here within a month’s time.  In the last week, green shoots have reared their heads, bringing life to my backyard, a grim space with its shriveled stalks still clinging to their footholds in last year’s pots, windswept bits of debris, patchy grass, and gigantic eyesore—an overturned Leyland Cypress tree (a twenty-foot-high victim of a recent storm).   With the impending turn of this season, I find myself at an impasse, a point of no return, so, like the vegetation in my yard, I can only do one thing—seek the light, throw off the somber coat of winter, and change with the season. 

I am probably being too metaphorical here.  This is a knitting blog, after all.  And much of knitting is about literal precision.  It is also, however, a knitting blog written by an English teacher of many years, one, who, after a series of disturbing personal and professional setbacks, has found herself ready to cast off from the safe, albeit often stormy, harbor of a secure routine and paycheck, one who has lost hope in her current professional situation, but, thankfully, has not lost hope entirely about future endeavors. 

This Into the Woods cowl was a February project.  

At fifty-two, I made the decision this month to leave teaching to pursue a new career, one that I hope may carry me through the next decade.  This profession offers a bit of autonomy and flexibility (words I’ve never heard in conjunction with a conversation about teaching in the state-funded and managed public high schools of my state).  While what shape my future schedule will take is a mystery, in future, I do hope to still be able to squeeze in some time for knitting each day, and for blogging occasionally, too. 

During the past few months of sleepless nights spent wrestling with the decision-making demon, knitting has offered solace and meditative moments, times free from perseverating about my future.  Tuesday night sessions with the “Therapy Group” at Cottage Yarn have also carried me through this rather dark time.  This group of women—who have maintained their sense of humor, joie de vivre, and creativity while navigating some of life’s deepest troubles—have not only offered me a diversion from my preoccupation with personal problems, but have also boosted my self-esteem at a time when I need it most.  Whether complimenting my finished objects or showing that they have faith in my abilities by asking me to oversee the logistics of planning an international trip for the group (details to follow in a later post), they have made these past few months if not joyous, at least bearable.  A dear friend in England, who reassured me that sometimes an individual needs to engage in “recalibrating” and that “banging our heads on brick walls” isn’t something that God wants us do and others who have sent me texts with affirming messages, met me for crisis coffee sessions, or spent hours listening to me work through sadness and anger have both inspired and supported me. 

While this future move requires taking a leap of faith, I am so thankful for the loving friends who hold my hand while I make this jump.  (Details about future career to follow.)

I finished this Multi-Directional Cardigan in February, too.

I used Liberty Wool Light to make this Endless Rose Cowl, which I blocked yesterday.


  1. Go for it, Liz! A whole new chapter beckons! And by the way your cowls are absolutely beautiful! I love the pine trees in the "into the woods" one so much! Rooting for you across the Atlantic! E xx


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