Pinch a finch
Sunday January 30th 2011, 12:42 am
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life,Lupus,Wildlife

A house finch (ironic, that), was probably artfully isolated from its flock and was fleeing the Cooper’s hawk at full speed when it hit the window.  Boom! It died instantly.

I turned at the sound, one I rarely hear anymore, but my motion startled the hawk out of its lunch and I caught just a glimpse of the banded tail as it went off through the merest opening in the trees. Mad flying skillz: I haz them.

Oh well, it won’t have to expend much energy to retrieve its meal at the pick-up window, I thought.

Says me. The squirrel didn’t get the memo. I saw it dashing up my tree with its fast food carry-out a few minutes later, running as fast as it could as far as it could to get away from anything that might steal its happy meal with the prize inside.

Yes, they do eat birds, it’s the catching them that’s why you just don’t see it. It continued far, far down the telephone wire as I watched, outraged, thinking, you don’t even live here and you steal my birds’ food? I mourned the little red finch.

That did it. I fled. If I’m getting ticked off at the wildlife for being what they are it’s time to put me around people and friends and take a deep breath from everything that has nothing to do with squirrels or birds–Purlescence, here I come.

What a relief.  I plunked down on the floor there, trying to keep out of the stream of sunlight from the door, grabbed the yarn Kaye and Sandi had gifted me with on Thursday, and cast on.

Pamela’s granddaughter, age 3, smiled at me and waved hi shyly. Totally charmed me.

It felt like a long time since I’d knit a lace shawl. It felt so good. Something familiar, something new. Kidsilk Night–never worked with it before–with Alpaca Fino, slightly lighter, making the silk look even shinier, the combination Sandi’s idea. I’m not a glitter person but this project could change my mind.

The yoke is finished now and it’s one of those moments where you look at your knitting and think wow, have I ever made anything this pretty before?

And here’s the funny thing: it’s gray, smog gray.  It’s not my color.  And yet. There have been a few times when I’ve knitted something whose color I normally didn’t like but that I knew that the person it was for did, that while I knitted it with them in my mind, wrapping wool around wood for them personally with each stitch, it was the most beautiful thing in the world to me then. And to them, too, when they got it.

But did I want to knit up the leftover yarn afterwards, all that oh-so-beautiful yarn I’d been loving?

Nope. No real appeal. Totally gone from me the moment the project was given away, back to just not my color. But for the time that it needed to be, it was the best one in the world to my eyes and in my hands.

As this is. I can’t wait.

(Ed. to add by the light of the morning: it’s dove gray, the color of the bird of peace.)

9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Several years ago I was watching a male cardinal at the birdfeeder. When I glanced down at my knitting, I heard a kerfluffle on the deck and looked up just in time to see an owl carrying off the cardinal, leaving a trail of gorgeous red feathers in its wake. I know that’s “nature’s way,” but I’m still haunted by it. He was a gorgeous bird!

Comment by Abby 01.30.11 @ 8:02 am

Not sure I would call it “smog gray”; it’s more a “puff of smoke gray”, ethereal, with a hint of bluish lavender. No, I’m not just seeing the color that way because I love purple, either.

It was good to see you yesterday!

Comment by Kathy in San Jose 01.30.11 @ 8:55 am

we forget the brutality of nature in it’s beauty — and if we didn’t have the beauty we couldn’t stand that brutality

Comment by Bev 01.30.11 @ 10:00 am

Maybe the finch is just taking a detour through squirrel before sh/he becomes hawk?

I think the color you are describing is Selkie-colored. She is lavender around her lips, fog-colored when the light hits her just so, dove gray in the morning light, and that little bit of glitter in her eyes just sets it off. The shawl must be gorgeous, as Selkie certainly is! (admittedly biased cat-owner, I am.)

Comment by twinsetellen 01.30.11 @ 11:17 am

Your comments about loving the color while knitting for someone you knew already loved the color really resonated with me today. I find that it’s hard to knit when I’m not sure who I’m knitting for. I derive the most knitting please thinking about who I’m knitting the item for. When I fall in love with a yarn or color, but I know the item isn’t for me, I get stymied in my knitting if I don’t know who will get the finished item. I have 3 projects on the needles now and they’re going nowhere because I don’t know who they’re for! It’s different for charity knitting, because even though I don’t know who will get the FO, I still have an image in my head of whom I’m knitting for. On the other hand I recently frogged two projects that were supposed to be for me. I wasn’t loving them for me or anyone else!

Comment by shadylady1216 01.30.11 @ 1:26 pm

Yes, life is cruel — humans can be cruel, too. But in the wild that’s how the animals-birds-fish live. Does anyone ever feel sorry for the millions of krill that whales consume?

Comment by Don Meyer 01.30.11 @ 2:21 pm

I need to knit for “someone” too – I often think it would be handy to knit “ahead”, have some baby blankets on hand for example. Why not, I love to knit. But I just don’t feel the same as when I know the expectant mama or dad, and think of them with every stitch. Two babies coming this summer, I will knit the afghans now…

Comment by Beverly near Yosemite 01.30.11 @ 4:18 pm

We found a dead house finch next to our garage door in our driveway today. I suspected that it was fleeing a sharp shinned hawk who has been dining on our bird feeder birds. It’s sad, but the hawk has to eat, too. Last bird the hawk caught was a yellow rumped warbler. I’d have rather it catch a starling but it is the unwary bird who gets caught much of the time.

Comment by Elaine Boston 01.30.11 @ 6:57 pm

I’m familiar with having a color look like smog gray one moment, then dove gray the next. But I so far have not been able to knit anything in a color I didn’t like myself. You do have my respect for that, among other things.

Comment by RobinM 01.30.11 @ 8:50 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>