Chautaqua Park, Boulder, Colorado.It’s been just over a year since my last post, the one about not writing after my mom’s death. Now I’m wearing a jacket that belonged to a friend of mine who died over the holidays. It has been a very long year.

It involved gaining some people, losing a few people — to mistakes, fights, deliberate distance, death  — and getting a few people back. Last spring I remember thinking “I know this is hard right now and going to stay hard for awhile, but it’ll pay off later.” It took a lot of perseverance, but I’m seeing the payoff.

I like garter stitch a lot more now that I used to. I have more patience, I think.

I caught myself making sketches for a stripy shawl (in garter stitch, natch) the other day. It’d been a long time since I’d ventured away from a pattern. What’s different? I thought. Why now?

Well, mountains helped. I recently spent a long weekend in Boulder, Colorado, walking about ten miles a day in 40-degree weather. I can’t even tell you how big the sky is out there. I bought the first snow boots I’ve had since I was a kid.

I skipped my friend’s funeral to go. I saw a show. I bought some yarn. I walked a lot. I clambered around on red rocks. I tried a lot of local beers and found a Colorado bourbon I really like. I didn’t talk much. I wrote a eulogy on the bar top at Shine. I got used to seeing cottonwood trees. I took a lot of pictures of clouds. I hadn’t traveled much in the last year, just my annual trip to Joshua Tree, and I guess I get weird if I don’t manage to get out past the Sierras.

Here’s to garter stitch and 2014.