You must know by now:
a bird will call.
Calling back or not
is up to you.
I don’t knit, but I follow the blog of Kate Davies, who designs knitting patterns. I mostly subscribe to her blog because it’s a visual feast, and that’s thanks both to Davies’ designs and equally to the ethereal photos of her modelling those designs in the Scottish landscape, taken by her ootlier husband, Tom Barr.
I don’t remember how I first heard about Kate Davies. It must have been a review of her book, Handywoman, which tells the story of her recovery from a paralyzing stroke at age 36.
What fascinates me most about Davies’ story is not her insights into the human brain acquired as she relearned how to do the simple tasks she had always taken for granted. Don’t get me wrong—her account is compelling! But what interested me more was how a brain injury led Kate Davies off the path of literary academia into a new creative life.
As she explains in her Ted Talk, “having a stroke draws a line across the stand of your identity: ‘That’s who you were yesterday,’ your damaged brain says. ‘Who are you now?'”
It isn’t always a stroke or other brain injury that leads a person to drastically change course. And sometimes it isn’t even a drastic change but a years-long journey of listening to the siren song of a creative life. It’s about learning to fall like the leaves, in the words of New Zealand poet Ana Lisa de Jong, or learning “to move like grass to the flow of the wind.”
Or, as Rilke wrote, it’s going to the limits of one’s longing.
To create the sweater pictured above, Kate Davies started with a bird. She envisaged. Played with colour. Put together a starry chart.
Where do you find inspiration?
Thanks to Ana Lisa de Jong for the Rilke poem this morning, and for her own.
Photo of red throated diver by David Karnå / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27003078