I like to think that my great-grandmother's thimble made her finger as sweaty as it does mine. I like to think about the quilts she and my grandmother made together, and sometimes I sleep beneath them. We were all named Elizabeth... Not long before she died, in 1992 at age 92, my grandmother asked me, "You have Libby's thimble, don't you?"
"Yes," I said, "would you like it back now?"
"No," she said, sitting back in her chair, satisfied. "I just wanted to make sure where it was."
Each stitch is a tiny step closer to clarity, to restoration, to the spring that is inching its way north. Across the city, a friend writes that she's just bought a balloon for a friend in hospital. The morning's snow flurries have given way to bright skies, and the afternoon sun butters the walls of the carpentry school, where students brush off sawdust and look forward to the weekend, a few beers, some music with friends. I'll see an old dear friend tomorrow, and sing a mass by Delibes on Sunday. Another line of stitches, another pocket to hold our warmth next winter. Such inconsistency in these stitches, these steps! I've been doing this my whole life and I'm still a beginner.