My middle daughter, Flory, and I were sitting companionably at the airport gate waiting to complete the last leg of our journey from Camp Hochelaga in South Hero, Vermont, to our home in St. Paul, Minnesota. Flory, then a 7 year-old, was chattering away about her adventure at my camp reunion and expressing her deepest thoughts and lively opinions about a place and people we now shared.
I listened while working happily away on a baby hat, knit in pale pink fingering weight wool on long, skinny size two needles. Somewhere in the twilight zone of listening and knitting, I lost track of the pattern. The hat had morphed itself into the oddest shape, too long and too wide. Could I fix the problem without disrupting our mother-daughter bonding?
“You need some help?” asked a middle-age Indian woman sitting in the bank of seats across from us.
I’d been so involved with Flory and my knitting that I hadn’t noticed her before. I looked down at the knitted blob in my lap. Did I need her help?
“Bring it over here,” she said. Her accent was British—dignified, confident, and commanding.
Flory and I gathered up our stuff and left our private, summery world of Camp Hochelaga behind. We took our places next to our new acquaintance. I put my knitting in her capable hands. Stitch by stitch, she carefully released row after row of my lop-sided work, searching for the very point where I’d started to stray. I admired her silk sari and her skilled hands as Flory and I worked to wind the pile of cast-off curly yarn into a usable ball.
The three of us were on a mission. Focused on getting the pale pink hat back on track before our plane arrived. We spoke only of counting stitches and knitting errors. We made no formal introductions. No exchange of business cards. We didn’t need to. After all, we belonged to the same international sorority. The Sisterhood of the Needle.
Can you hear us click-clacking on every horizon? Peacefully. Joyfully. Hopefully. Anxiously. Through all seasons of our lives. Alone and in groups. Each of our needles pulling yarn through loop after loop, joining our thoughts, our hopes and our dreams with what our hands are making. What our hearts are feeling.