Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Happy Mistake

For the past two Sunday nights, I have been lost in Sweden. Not serenely strolling through the softly sunwashed colours of artist Carl Larsson, but stranded amidst the harsh landscape of writer Henning Mankell, as his Wallander detective series has now come to television via the new BBC production starring Kenneth Branagh. Set in Ystad, it is a Sweden unfamiliar to me, with a midnight sun that pierces the summer night like the half closed eye of Apollo, never resting, always watching, and a noonday sun that enflames the colours of the landscape - all school bus yellow and chlorine blue - with such vividness they almost sting the eye. These bleakly haunting stories match the intensity of their setting with starkness and weblike intricacy. They are completely engrossing.

So engrossing in fact, that last Sunday after knitting my way through the second episode, I looked down and observed ...yikes.... a mistake. I had changed skeins right after the show had begun and neglected to notice an infinitesimal difference in dyelot. Now here I was, eight inches knitted, and the colours were off course a bit. The yarn I am using is a variegated cotton, sublime in texture and delicious in shades of watery greens, blues and lavenders, but now, about a third of the way into the scarf the colours were a tiny bit more blue than green. I sat stock still as I pondered my next move. As it was a fairly intricate pattern, the thought of ripping out my work was distasteful to say the least. But amazingly, the longer I looked, the more I liked what I saw.... the more I really, really liked what I saw. I am now completely thrilled with this new creation; one I never would have imagined myself. When the scarf is wound around my neck, the subtle change in colour is divine, and looks expertly planned. A happy mistake. The Songwriter says they happen in recording all the time.

It is amusing to think how we humans so often rigidly map out our lives, schedule our days, presuming we know best how things should proceed. Sometimes, if we can manage to let go of the reins a bit, it seems that circumstances may just hand us a better way, present us with a more wondrous idea than we ever could have imagined on our own. The holiday that was planned, the school that was counted on, the career always hoped for, the pattern so dilligently followed. When kismet laughingly shuts the door, that open window across the room just might lead to Neverland.

Or at the very least, there might be a fabulous scarf sitting on the windowsill.

Painting above by Carl Larsson