There's a standard motif in Japanese painting of a teeny-weeny mouse chowing down on a great big daikon. In some renderings, instead of a mouse it may be a rat. Or instead of a daikon, it may be a radish. But the basic idea is the same: small thing eating big thing.*
Mouse and radish (detail). Not my scroll, but the motif is the same.
I've a nice specimen of this is in my collection. I'm so fond of it that I kept it over my altar for two months; usually I change the altar scroll every thirty days. The image of the little guy fearlessly tackling a gigantic project appeals to me at a very basic level. If you've ever stood next to me when I'm barefoot, you know why.
Last night as I was giving the homestead a general wash-and-brush I replaced the mouse with a painting of Jizo, the bodhisattva who watches out for expectant mothers and unborn children. (My sister is half a continent away, but she's uppermost in my mind at the moment.)
The mouse is rolled up and tucked away, but I'm reminded of it every time I pick up the christening shawl. The rounds are getting really long now (somewhere in the area of 600 stitches). When I consider how long they'll be before I start the edging I begin to teeter like Dolores after a wedding reception with an open bar.
So I try not to consider that. The mouse, you will notice, is not standing back casing the daikon and wondering whether he should have ordered the shrimp appetizer instead. He's just eating the bit that's in front of him. And that's what I'm doing. I'm knitting what's in front of me. 50,000 stitches? Big and scary. One stitch? Not scary at all. No sir. No reason to be scared of one tiny stitch.
*Omigod, that totally reminds me of a wild story about something that happened in Ogunquit one summer which I'm not going to tell you because I'm sure my mother is reading this.