There are moments in a knitters life that are without match. Usually they are relatively fleeting- a finished project, a mother’s joy at her new shawl or the admiration of others as they see skilled fingers producing intricate lace. I’d hardly imagined that it was possible to string a series of these moments together to create something akin to Nirvana, but this past weekend proved me wrong.
My dear friend Matthew had pestered me for years to attend a Men’s Knitting Retreat. For one reason or another, I’d never been able to go. This year, Matthew took matters into his own hands and essentially signed me up whether I wanted to go or not. I acquiesced, requested a few days off and packed my bags.
With wheel in tow, a few knitting projects and a bunch of fiber, I set out. The retreat was about an hour from my home and the drive into the mountains was delightful despite my car’s manual transmission. As I traveled the windy road leading to the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, I couldn’t help but be caught up in the beauty of the mountains cradling the road with strength and unyielding compassion.
The lodge finally emerged after miles of winding road and greeted me with a friendly air. As I stretched my stiff legs, I knew I was in the right place. Through the front window, I saw men- lots of men. They were sitting in a circle and standing about. The air was filled with joyful knitting, spinning, laughing and a beautiful air of joy.
I was directed to a name tag and found a seat to join in the festivities. I met men who had traveled from as far as Turkey to join us in our fraternal bliss. As I met each of them, I felt myself leaving this sometimes unfortunate world. I was entering a new, more beautiful place where fiber was the center of the universe.
As anyone who has briefly visited Nirvana can attest, it can be difficult to recall just exactly what happened. I do remember fantastic conversations with incredible people. There were yarn shops. There was swag. There was show and tell.
There was a formidable young Jacob Ram who graced us with his blessings.
There was a hike with a waterfall at its culmination.And there were men- some of them quite attractive- both in body and soul. We spent time sharing wisdom, showing off and enjoying each others company but for the most part, we just made fun of each other. The women knitters out there may not understand, but throwing jabs and the occasional biting remark are a unique feature of male bonding. Believe me, this group was bonded before we left.
This weekend was four days of bliss. These men are friends in craft. They are friends in soul. They are friends in a shared experience for which I will be forever grateful.