So. I actually did finish the sweater last Monday night, in time to wear it to teach on Valentine's Day (one of my regular students, who has taken many of my classes and knows me well, knew me well enough to ask whether I'd knitted it, which was kind of nice). I have been putting off posting until I could get some pictures of it (and of the new happy project I have OTN, plus the spinning I'm working on), but I have not been able to motivate myself to get my camera out and get cracking. So I thought I'd better post in any case.
It's been a rough month, frankly. I lost a friend at the end of January, and very soon after that, another friend became very ill - the kind of ill that sometimes turns out in the worst possible way. The very good news is that she is recovering, but those things have been on my mind, in unpostable sorts of ways, and it's been making it hard to get myself moving. It doesn't help that February once again (I seem to remember this happening last year) turned into a month of deadlines, so that what little motivation I have had has been expended on those, and I have been letting everything else fall by the wayside in favor of being at home with my family.
I have been thinking, though, about the role of the internet in both of my friends' illnesses. In different sorts of ways, their experiences had an online presence, which gave friends and family from near and far the ability to know how they were doing, and to send their loving thoughts. And now that their illnesses are over, one way or the other, that record of their experience, and of those loving thoughts, remain. Part of what got me thinking about this is the fact that in both cases, I tended not to log my responses to this online presence through comments - for some reason, when it comes to things like that, I tend to prefer either private email, or real person-to-person contact.
Like many of you, I am old enough to remember clearly a time before the interwebs (I did not invent the world wide web, mind you - I just remember what it was like before it was created, heh). And, for that matter, before email. A time when people sent, you know, letters. Written on paper. With ink. And as the use of email expanded, I would occasionally soliloquize mournfully (in my head) about the loss of these artifacts, these letters, and wonder what future generations would think of us, when there was nothing concrete remaining of these quotidian messages, windows into everyday lives? (Note the irony: I have never been good about writing letters, EVER - I am a much better email correspondent than I am a paper mail correspondent. The post office gives me hives.) But honestly, I think I have always thought of electronic media as ephemeral. (And, in my defense, if you've ever had a hard drive wiped, or lost an entire linguistic database because of a computer upgrade that somehow left it behind because your new Parallels H-drive can't see your old Parallels H-drive - why yes, I am speaking from experience - then you know why I thought of e-media as ephemeral, and in fact, as aggressively and capriciously ephemeral.)
But here's the thing. Right now, my friend's words live on, even though she can't write any more. And the love and worry and support that her friends wrote to her also live on. My other friend regained consciousness to find an entire record of her friends' love and concern for her, all expressed while she didn't even know it was happening. But there it is, out there in the ether, in little electronic impulses of 1s and 0s (if I understand this right) - ephemeral but somehow, simultaneously, entirely real and enduring.
Come to think of it, that sounds a lot like love itself, doesn't it? Utterly ephemeral, and entirely real.
That's not where I thought I was going with this, but I think I like it.