My first memories of existence were of excited whispers about what a beautiful shawl I would grow up to be. My knitter would caress me when I was just skeins of yarn and tell me about how I was destined for a very special project. I learned that I was the first in this year’s Shawl Society – hosted by the talented Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. My knitter was thrilled that the theme of the Shawl Society this year was The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. The pattern I would be knitted from was inspired by Maytham Manor, the home where the authoress lived. As she restored the unkept gardens and planted flowers in the fallow beds, the seeds of her beloved novel were taking root in her heart. My knitter went to great pains to find me – the perfect yarn – which would evoke feelings of roses climbing over the garden walls.
I was elated when she told me that I would be one of the projects she was taking with her to Colorado. Though we hadn’t been together very long, I was pleased that she would be sharing her favorite places with me. One of the first outings she took me on was to the Alpine Gardens in Vail. While my knitter was at a conference in Keystone, Colorado we spent a lovely sun-spilled afternoon in this nearby town. I believe she told me this was the highest garden in the world – and I believed it! This lovely garden of evergreens, aspens, and rock outcroppings, and tiny rivers was an utter delight. Here I am posing among some bellflowers, with the novel of course. My knitter softly read some of the book to me while we sat together listening to the wind whisper through the aspens. We dreamed together of the thrill of finding a forgotten garden and bringing it to life.
After the conference, my knitter packed everything up and we went to Denver, picked up her mom, and commenced two glorious weeks of visiting all the sites and pleasures of her home town. She announced her plan to bring me with her to all the gardens that she loved – and of course, that included the Denver Botanic Gardens! She had told me so much about this wonderful place that I could hardly stand staying in my knitting bag when we entered its gates.
As I saw the beautiful gardens, I was thrilled that these beautiful flowers and plantings would be part of my story. We visited every single garden on this 40-acre spot of heaven. She showed me all the things she loved in each garden and I began to understand what powerful things gardens are. Whether or not they’re enclosed with stone, they are sanctuaries of the soul and a rich treasure house of beauty. Flowers and plants are carefully chosen to create an atmosphere of peace, reflection, mystery, and enchantment.
Here I am at the Scripture Garden – a quiet place carpeted with wooly thyme, large apricot trees, and benches positioned in the cool shade. Icons, like the lamb I’m next to, are set in the ground, and plaques with Bible verses proclaiming God’s glory in creation stand at the entrance of this garden. I understand that God Himself is an enthusiastic gardener.
My next stop in Denver was in the mountains. My knitter wanted me to see the beautiful Rocky Mountains too. Though not cultivated gardens, the mountains were full of wildflowers and trees and quiet spaces that made me think that perhaps wild lands were gardens in their own right. She brought me to a high outcropping of granite boulders at Three Sisters Park. She told me this park is renown for its amazing rock outcroppings and we nestled in at the top of one for a long knitting session. We listened to the cawing of crows, smelled the scent of old pine trees, and felt the strength of the mountains.
I understood why my knitter loves this place so. Before we left to continue our hike, she took my picture so we could remember this special time together. This is me (note I have more grey on my edge now) on top of the boulder we sat against. My knitter thought my color complemented that of the pink granite with lichen growing on it. And since she’s so fond of these rocks, I had to pose nicely and agree that we were a perfect match. She’s thinking about how to get these boulders back home to Indiana – I can see it in her eyes.
Next we visited a new mountain park called Flying J Ranch. I admired the rolling mountain meadows and shady forest groves of columbines with my knitter. During a rest, my knitter worked more on my grey border. You can see the arches taking shape – these are reminiscent of the decorative walls at Maytham Manor. (My knitter says if I’m good, she’ll consider taking me to England to see the original home that inspired my design). But for now I’m more than content to wander about the mountains.
By the way, look at the lovely fallen tree I’m resting on. My knitter was practically rabid in her obsession for fallen logs and pieces of bark. She apparently loves the twisted remains of these mountain trees. In fact more than a few times I had to wonder if she loved these branches or yarn more… hmmm…..
On our last full day in Denver I went with my knitter to her favorite mountain park – Lair o’ the Bear. Now I’d heard a lot about this park and knew it was incredibly dear to her heart. She whispered to me about how her family came here when they lived nearby and how she knew the trails by heart. We went to her favorite mountain on earth – the one that lives by the Bear River. We spent a long time with this mountain – it is an old friend of hers. She showed me the way little plants grow up out of the rocks of the mountain, how spider webs glint in the sunlight, how lichen decorates the rocks, and I learned to love this mountain too. My last photo was of me with the mountain. I was delighted to find a section of granite where the grey hard rock was suddenly interrupted by a pink section of granite. It looked just like me and I was pleased that I looked like the mountain my knitter loved.
After returning home to Indiana, my knitter and I spent lots of quality hours together. I was honored to have gone with her back to her homeland. I am now part of that place – she has knit the mountains and the air and the flowers into my rows. The pattern of the mountains has left its mark on me too. I’m pleased that when my knitter wraps up in me, she will remember the places and things that she loves most and perhaps she will smell the mountain air when she holds me close. I will always treasure the memories we made together in the gardens and mountains.
This is me all grown up and finished in the verdant green garden of her backyard. I told her Indiana is beautiful too. Now that I’m finished, perhaps we can make more memories together in her current home too. Though I can’t wait to go back to Colorado again.
Blessings to you,