I’m in Monteagle now, a day and a world away from the busy weekend running around the knitting trade show in Washington. It’s hot and hazy here in Tennessee, and I’ve got a lot in my head to unpack, even as I unpack my little suitcase that I crammed full of yarn yesterday when I left the trade show.
The despicable attack in Orlando bounces around in my head like a bullet. I think about my teenage son, just back from a weekend at his first Bonnaroo, the music festival down the road here in Tennessee. For the past 15 years, 90,000 music lovers lose themselves in a world where, like magic, all the bands appear. If ever there’s a place where a group of young people let down their guard, it’s Bonnaroo.
Peace, love, and Bonnaroo. Clif had a great time.
So when I see a video of Christine Leinonen, an Orlando mother who lost her son Christopher to a terrorist with an assault rifle, telling us about her son with such heartbroken pride, I can hardly stand it. Christopher had been out with his friends and boyfriend, at a club where they let their guard down, as anybody should be able to do. Was it a great night out? An OK one? However it was going, it should not have ended in gunfire and death.
Christine said, squeezing out each word as if grief was strangling her, “Please, let’s all just get along. We’re on this earth for such a short time. Let’s try to get rid of the hatred and the violence, please!” Speaking about her newfound status as a mother whose child has been in a mass shooting, she said, “This is a club that nobody wants to be in. Please can we do something with the assault weapons so that we could stop this club from ever getting any new members?”
I was astounded that she had the composure to say this. Imagine your child had gone missing like hers (she didn’t even know at the time whether he was dead or alive). Could you have the presence of mind to see the bigger picture? She is a hero, really.
If we want to honor Christine and her son Christopher—if we want our children to live in a world where they can be young and beautiful and full of music and love—then we need to rid our country of these weapons. I’m not interested in a debate about this here on this blog. But I encourage everyone who feels the same way to email their senators and congress members to urge them to do something about a rifle that can murder 50 people in 10 minutes. Is this the solution to these mass shootings? Of course not. But we have to start somewhere.
I’m including photos of yarn here because I took them, and I don’t have anything else to show. It seems inadequate and lame to show pictures of yarn at a time like this, but I will say that they remind me that even amid all this chaos, there are beautiful things to see.
All these balls and skeins of yarn are souvenirs of the people we met this weekend who told us about these yarns.
There is so much life in these yarns, so much care and thought.
If you look closely, you can see a lot of love in there too. We have got to cling to that.
Gah! I’m such a stew of outrage, heartbreak, tenderness, sympathy and sorrow.