There wasn't very much that was lovely about that apartment complex. It was old-ish and musty, surrounded by newer, jazzier gated complexes, with bad parking and scary laundry rooms and a pool continually closed by maintenance issues.
We chose it because it was the least expensive option while we lived on one income in this hot, hot, place so far from home. This place of cockroaches and strange poky grass and hibiscus and great food and bad pollution and oil and music and sprawl.
But the one thing I loved there were the live oaks.
I don't know what makes a live oak different from just a regular oak, but they are beautiful. Soaring, knobbly branches; tiny, lovely acorns; scratchy, weathered bark. They decorated our neighborhood and our courtyard, and during the three months I both lived and worked in that dingy little apartment because my boring unfulfilling office job ended abruptly, I would open the windows and listen to the breeze (when there was a breeze) blow through their lovely, gnarled branches, and dream of the Northwest.
No tree here--maybe because we have so many, an embarrassment of riches--makes me quite as happy.
So, when I saw Rosemary Hill's pattern for the "Live Oak Shawlette" in the latest issue of Knitscene, it just spoke to me.
This half-circle shawl flew on and then off my needles in a crazy-fast way--just a couple of days (and couple of long Tour de France stages) from cast-on to bind off.
It's pictured here about two-thirds bound off, as I caught the waning gray July-in-the-PNW light. Tonight it's going to take a bath and then get blocked to its more lovely, leafy, tweedy glory. I'm not even sure what its fate will be...like the adventure that took us so far from home and taught us so much in the land of live oaks, I'll let the universe guide me.