Stitch by stitch, and row by row, the yarn becomes a blanket. That’s the way of things: imperceptibly tiny increments of change, overwhelming progress with time.
That’s how rivers carve canyons.
That’s how the wind shapes the dunes.
That’s how snow makes the world white and pure.
That’s how coral makes reefs.
That’s how rain quenches the earth.
That’s how babies grow.
That’s how bodies heal.
That’s how lives are lived.
It’s the sudden shifts, the thunderclaps, that make headlines. Births, deaths, accidents, injuries, fires, earthquakes, eruptions– those things are easy to see, shocking in their suddenness, and widely discussed.
But what matters isn’t the 3.4 seconds of shaking or the height of the ash plume.
What matters, even in a cataclysm, is the incremental work.
How many mineral atoms must be set into their lattice to mend the broken bone? How many cell divisions will it take to grow new skin over the scratch? How many rivets are needed to hold the building together? How many drops of water fill the basin? How many snowflakes make an avalanche? How many fetal hiccups will train the muscles to take that first breath?
This blanket, when it is finished, will contain some 50,000 stitches. Including going back to fix mistakes and miscellaneous shaping, the total work going into it probably will amount to closer to 60,000 stitches.
Day by day, the baby who will someday use this blanket prepares for hits birth. Stitch by stitch, I work the blanket to meet hit.
I can see the end of this period of waiting looming ahead in the distance. I don’t know exactly when it will come, but I know that the moment of transition will be marked more in the course of history than all the slow, incremental work that built up to it.
But I will always remember, in my heart and in my hands, the process leading up to the change, and the slow, steady work that went into making the magical moment.