Shear Alpha Four

Green was my Mom's favorite color. When I was growing up on Guam, she had this green Mustang that I wish I had more pictures of. It was totally impractical, but it's one of those lasting memories I had of growing up on a small island in the Pacific Ocean that nobody seems to know about.

Everything was green there. I don't mean that in a charming, "ocean paradise" sort of way. The island stands at the lowest altitude, practically at sea level. The humidity alone was enough to drive state-siders insane. If your clothes sat around too long, they'd grow mold all over them. And there was this algae that would bloom and accumulate in parking lot puddles. It looked like relish for giant hot dogs. There were frogs everywhere.

But it's home. Green reminds me of that place. What a strange association. I'm sure it almost sounds as if I hated growing up there, but I don't. It was a singular experience that defined a contrast between living on an island, and living in California. That contrast helped me adjust to the manic pace of life here. When I think of the color green, it reminds me of home.

I wanted to do that when I started knitting this piece. I started it while helping the hospice nurses take care of my Mom. During quiet moments, I'd bring it into her room, and work on it. If she wasn't too drugged up, she'd ask me about it. It's for my shop, I'll be selling it in the Fall. She didn't understand. Why make it now? I'd explain. She'd float off because of the Oxycodone, or the Morphine, or whatever it was. I'd knit another row.

She didn't linger very long before she passed away. It was about three weeks of hospice nurses, and drugs, and this weird mechanical bed. The days blurred together. But during that time, I worked on this piece. There were visitors, and laundry, and calls from Guam. I had a great conversation with a friend in Connecticut who first met me when I was still in my mother's womb. My first cry came during that call. More laundry, and the garbage cart is already full. The nurses keep getting lost because of the construction at the intersection. Mom wants a tuna sandwich, but no one else can make it but me because I know she hates the white part of the green onion. Someone is watching Game of Thrones.

Such a blur. I'd keep pace with the knitting transitions, staring into this green yarn, thinking of home. When it was done, I decided to keep it. It marks a place and time that no document or picture could. It's the palm trees, and parking lot relish. It's sitting on the table behind me as I hold my mother's hand, two days before she died. It's a writhing wilderness in the middle of the Pacific. It's Mom's green Mustang, baking in the sun.

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