Sunday, March 25, 2007

Images

Yesterday I drove up to Baltimore to meet with some distant cousins to discuss the geneology of the O'Connor branch of the family. It was a very informative meeting, although it got a little disorienting at times because there were a few Henrys, Evas, Catherines, and Edwards. Is that Henry my Uncle Henny or someone else? People kept referring to Aunt Kate, who I call "old grandma" (my great-grandmother). But we solved a few mysteries (who did Charles marry and were there children?) and I was even able to produce photographic evidence to put faces to names.

My family (on both sides, actually) saved everything and one boon of that is that we have a ton of photographs dating from the mid-1800s. I've ended up as the trustee of them. We also had the good fortune that despite all of my grandmother's health problems, her long-term memory was very sharp. Mom sat down with Grandma several years ago and they were able to put names and dates to the sometimes ghostly images.

At the end of the gathering, Linda gave everyone a listing of the family tree in its current state. Names, birth and and death dates, wedding dates...it's all there. We need to keep it current. And we also need to start digging deeper to solve the mystery of which O'Connors left Ireland and when.

As I was looking at this record of our family, it occurred to me that it wasn't anything but a list of statistics. If you look at the dates closely enough, you can conclude that my great-grandmother's life was filled with tragedy, grief, and hardship. But those stories are missing. We're fortunate that our family is relatively long-lived because the eyewitnesses to those early days are still around and we can capture the stories, at least for some of the family. It will be much more difficult (and probably impossible) to get the stories from the branches of the family that left Baltimore.

I drove home in the early evening. A fine mist was falling and as I drove westward, it became foggier and foggier. The bridge over the Potomac at Point of Rocks was shrouded in fog. Geese emerged the from mist, flying low. The image was primitive and one that has occurred countless times over the millennia. I found it both comforting and heart-wrenching. The mist will continue to rise and shroud and soften the landscape and the geese will continue their flight. Soon, though, this beautiful rural landscape will be populated with developments of McMansions and eventually, the geese will leave. And that will truly be a sad time.

Knitting Progress
Not a lot. I slept crooked or perhaps the bad desk chair at work has finally gotten to me as I've been plagued with headaches all this week. I managed to make some progress on Tom's scarf and have starting working the third ball. The lack of loft doesn't seem to have a negative effect, so I'm knitting on and I will finish it! I think I'll have an extra ball, and that just might turn into a pair of fingerless mitts for me.

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm a "wannabe" knitter, one who dreams more about beautiful handknit items instead of actually knitting them. I think the list of UFOs stands as a testament to that. Perhaps it's the fear of failure with the finished garment. What if I finish it and I don't like it? Or it doesn't fit? Or it shrinks? Or I can't figure out a technique? If I don't finish it, then the beautiful handknit garment can continue to live, unchallenged, in my mind.

Does anyone else struggle with this?

6 comments:

Mia said...

The fog and mist always makes Point of Rocks look like a page out off time. And you are right that the rural landscape is changing in our area. The McMansions sit on old farmland and the history of the area is slowly being lost.

Sheepish Annie said...

I go through knitting phases. Sometimes I'm cranking out knitted thingies like a machine and others (like now) I can't seem to get the motivation to finish anything. That's when I spin. At least I'm doing *something!*

It always turns around, though. I just need to wait it out.

msubulldog said...

How wonderful that you have family members who can help tell all those stories and compile a family tree!
I do have a loooong list of UFO's and things I would love to knit (or own, as it were). There are wonderful pieces of colorwork that I adore, but wonder if I could actually knit them sometimes. . . More knitting than I could get done in a lifetime, I'm sure! :)

chris said...

That's amazing that you have so many of your family photographs . . . it's a rare and precious thing! Be sure and scan them and put them on disk before they deteriorate any more than they already have!!

Anne said...

I think it's not that I worry about the finished project, but that I like the challenge of figuring out how to start something....and then once that thrill is over, I'm in the blah-dom of actually finishing something. Or at least that's my current story. :)

Lynn said...

I so totally get the McMansions, esp living in FL. There are way too many developers and not enough people who want to save the land. Enjoy it while you have it, I've been takign pictures to help me remember.