Knitting by Blind Faith

A Year of Joy
Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Life,Reflections,Special Moments,Treasures

One year ago today, I was paired with my new best friend, Joy. Though Joy is not her name, I refer to her this way because joy sums up in one word the blessings she has brought into my life. I can remember as clearly as if it were yesterday the journey that led up to this day: the sudden and very painful loss of my first guide after a brief illness, my reacquaintance with the white cane after nine years of trusting a dog to guide me safely around obstacles and in traffic (a skill, I was pleasantly surprised to learn, that you don’t forget, just like riding a bicycle), the emptiness of not having the pull of the harness against the fingers of my left hand, and my husband’s gentle reminders as I directed him with a series of forwards, lefts, rights, and hopp hopps, without realizing what I was doing, that he was not a dog. (I’m a little embarrassed about that one.) He would laugh and pretend to be distracted by a scent, just to make me laugh, too.

Shortly before I left for training in the Northeast, I discovered that we had a local yarn store and bought lots of yarn to take with me, packed in a suitcase all its own. I knew I would need knitting to calm my nerves, and wanted to start an afghan, which is still in progress. That trip to the LYS was the beginning of many treasured friendships, which Joy was directly responsible for, even though I didn’t know her yet. If I wasn’t going away, I may not have gone in there to buy yarn and would not have met such awesome knitters, whose friendship is central in my life.

I will never forget the day I met Joy. She seemed so young and inexperienced to me. She was happy, excited, strong willed and all over the place, very different from my docile compliant baby. She was confused by the sudden changes in her life. She wanted her trainer, and not me. I felt sorry for her. I’m a pushover, and knew she would be a challenge, because she would need structure, and I tend to give in easily.

Yet, I saw immediately that she was sensitive and eager to please. Although she did not know me, she obeyed my requests, eager to please both me and her trainer. She took the transition in stride and was playful and kind, always wanting to climb in my lap, lick my face, and nibble my nose and hands. She shared her toys with me, and often tried to feed me her bone. (She still does that, actually.)

On our first walk, I was warned that she was keyed up and would probably move pretty fast. She did, but even though she didn’t understand that I was her responsibility at this point, and even though we felt foreign to each other, she still showed a sense of duty and of pride in her education.

The weeks in training flew by. I didn’t have much time to knit (well, not by a knitter’s standards). If I wasn’t working with her, I was grooming her, doing obedience, playing with her (we had lots and lots of playtime), or attending lectures. I think it was a week and a half before I had the brilliant idea of cramming my knitting into my coat pocket to take on those daily trips to town. My instructor started to ask me how “his pants” were doing and when they would be finished.

Before I knew it, it was time to go home.

Last night, the weather was chilly, with clear skies and temperatures in the 50s. It was much like the weather conditions during our very first walk. As we walked in the crisp night air (such a rare treat in Florida, especially this time of year when we are experiencing record breaking cold), the chill invigorated Joy, and she fairly ran down the sidewalk, much as she had that first day on that first walk. “There goes Speedy Gonzalez,” my neighbor said, as we passed him and his dog in a blur. The two of us were one.

With her tail out behind her and her pull on the harness urging me to move faster (apparently, four miles an hour wasn’t fast enough), I reflected on how far we have come. She expertly navigated the narrow wheelchair ramps that I had to teach her a year ago were meant to accommodate both of us, and not just her. (This often meant that she had to walk partly on the curb, so that I could have even footing.) She thrilled at the prospect of passing barking dogs, rather than stopping to check them out. She guided me safely among low-hanging branches and kept a watchful eye on the traffic.

More than my guide, Joy is my best friend. After we came back home and had a good, hearty play, I sat on the patio with my afghan, which I have dubbed Joy’s blanket. My girl now, and always at my side, Joy contentedly chewed on her bone while I knit and enjoyed the smells the fresh night air brought to her nose.

Afghan with diamond panels made up of knits and purls; seed stitch border.

Afghan with diamond panels made up of knits and purls; seed stitch border.

It is a common belief in knitting that if you don’t pick up a project in six months, you may as well give up hope of ever finishing it. Joy’s blanket often goes untouched for months at a time, but I’m glad it’s there. It is my comfort knitting, and holds all my treasured memories of my best friend, and all the people I have met, and friendships renewed, because of her.

As I write this, she lies sleeping by my side on the floor. The minute I rise, she will jump up, eager to fulfill whatever I might request of her. She is on call, 24/7, and she never complains.

To my best friend and loyal companion, here’s to many more years of joy.

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

I am pleased to have met and become friends with you and Joy this past year. It is a pleasure to read your history as well as be a part of it. May you and Joy have many “Joyous” years together!

Comment by Chosen

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <pre> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>