There’s a stage between beginning a project and finishing that stretches out forever. A pragmatist might call it the middle, but we know it’s more than that. The rush of starting is over, the end is not yet in sight, and the stitches follow one after another, slipping into progress so small that it’s almost invisible. It’s a netherworld of sorts, a stretch of space that’s bigger than the distance between the two ends it connects. Short in inches, seemingly infinite in duration.

Sometimes, I get impatient with this stage. When I am really excited about the final product, this endless middle ground can last an eternity. But sometimes, an eternity is exactly what I want.

Life has been moving more quickly than I’d like lately. We haven’t even been all that busy, but I’ve noticed myself slipping into overdrive and not coming out, not noticing weekends because I don’t have time to slow down after one week ends and before another begins. The quarter hasn’t even started yet, and already I feel time slipping away faster than I am prepared to handle.

Fall is upon us, and I’m not sure I even noticed summer. A new year is starting, but didn’t the old one just finish? I have so much further to go, and yet this last year will be gone before I know it. Plans for the next step are beginning to form, but it seems almost too early to consider that the crush of graduate school might ever come to an end. Things change so quickly, especially when they don’t seem to be changing at all.

Having a project where time seems to stand still hasn’t been entirely unwelcome. It makes for bad blogging, but the knitting is rather nice. Quiet, steady, mindless. All the things that writing a dissertation, finding postdoc funding, and starting a new lecturer position are not.

I’ve always been a big project person. I like my knitting to take a while, to give me time to ponder and plan the next project. Plans have been plentiful lately. Lots of things requiring sketching and swatching are waiting patiently in the wings, keeping me company as I slip past the center point in the sweater.

So, if I’m quiet, it’s because I’m listening. And it’s because quiet, endless knitting is sometimes just what I need.