Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Here Comes the Sun




So I'm absentmindedly flipping through the new issue of National Geographic magazine when a photo socks me right in the eye: a row of 19th-century Sicilian mummies in various stages of decay.

It shocked me. Now, I know from mortuary practices. Tom and I wrote a non-fiction book that begins and ends in a Wyoming cemetery. We are currently writing another entirely about a sacred hill said to be a large Native American cemetery. The book involves archaeological site reports, forensic anthropology, grave dowsing, and cadaver dogs. And in the background, my father-in-law owned a monument (i.e., tombstone) company and cemetery. When I met him for the first time, he showed me the empty space next to Tom's "pre-need" spot in the family plot. "This could be you one day," he said.

National Geographic went too far. Describe the mummification process and its cultural context, yes. Print photos of the Capucin monks guarding the entrance to the catacomb. But respect the dead. Protect them - Egyptian mummies, Peruvian mummies, all mummies - from the gawking eyes of the living.

Cleasing breath in, toxins out. Thank Heavens for knitting. How it soothes the shot nerves. Enough ugly. Let's look at pretty.

Right now, this isn't pretty. It's a huddled mound of lace knitting, about half-way through Clue 3 of Lankakomero's Vernal Equinox Surprise Shawl KAL. This KAL has become really popular and rightly so: this is a fun project that's looking to be not just pretty but beautiful (honest, you'll see!). In this gray alpaca, I'm knitting a wintery eclipse. To do the shawl justice, I should be using a fingering-weight yarn in a sun-drenched summer color.

Like this tangerine:
It's going to be Trellis and it's for my grand-nephew Will's first birthday next month. I hesitated between calling Will a grand-nephew and a great-nephew, not certain which was right. According to this interesting discussion, I'm not the only one confused. Maybe next time I'll call Will a great-nephew and the time after that, I'll choose grand-nephew, alternating between the two until I settle on one or the other. Yes, I'm a word nerd.

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