On Valentine’s Day Brian and I went down to Arkansas to spend the day with Marshall. We had decided ahead of time to have lunch and then go to the Crystal Bridges art museum. The photo below is courtesy of theconservationcenter.com. It is such a unique building and the setting was quite lovely. It was a wonderful day trip.
I believe I have turned a mental corner. Maybe it was the longed for rain, liquid mercury falling from the sky, all gray and silver. And the miracle of gravity pulling it to the deepest and most needful places. And droplets of serendipitous grace settling into the parched and cracked places.
- scenic hike along the Buffalo River Trail. (photos from hike)
- two wonderful books and the time to read them. The Brothers K - I’d like to be buried with this book. and The Paris Wife – I’m ready for smart conversation, free-flowing wine, and to witness a bull fight…but not the loneliness and yearning.
- partners, finally with a tiny demitasse cup of overflow, enough to turn towards one another, after a couple of weeks of turning away from one another.
- unexpected late evening table conversation, no planning, just a spontaneous gathering, I believe I settled in last with my evening bowl of cereal and the Boden catalog. I soon abandoned the catalog for the down-memory-lane conversation.
- the traditional fight for the last piece of the puzzle.
- a lanky 14-year old nestling into a corner of the coach, wedging in tight next to me, if only for a few moments.
- a slow and cathartic 5 mile run.
Sometimes when you are so dry and parched, it feels that nothing less than a torrential downpour will do… miraculously even the tiniest drops of water can work wonders.
(“Oh, that one, she’s a little bit crazy.” they whispered. But secretly they were glad she had her heart again, so that at least for a while, their ears wouldn’t rattle with the clanging of an empty tin woman.) I don’t know why, but this silly phrase kept going round and round my head during my run… ; )
Inspiring me November continued:
Part of our summer vacation included time in Chicago. One of my favorite cities! During our visit we spent time at the Field Museum. The anthropological collections there are phenomenal. I have been to lots of museums, and have seen plenty of historical displays of various cultures, etc. But something clicked in my head during this visit. I know, I can be a bit slow… but I fully realized for the first time how important artists are. Of course, among the displays there were objects made for royalty or for important ceremonial purposes, but there were several displays of items used in the everyday. Vessels for cooking that had patterns, and clothing that had intricate embroidery or beading, and even a life-sized home that incorporated weaving designs in the walls.
In the ages represented in these displays, there did not exist thousands of computer images, or Target/Walmart/Malls, or mass-produced designs. So imagine being a person of artistic skill in that time. It seems like it was a highly valued skill to be able to pull designs from the mind’s eye and then to create from clay or straw or wood or precious metal an object of use or ceremony. Honestly, as I walked through the museum I felt a huge shift blossoming in my chest.
1. Oba’s memorial head 9-2-2012, 2. The Field Museum-41, 3. Basket from Alaska. (Field Museum, Chicago), 4. you have the wrong bear, 5. head ornament, India, 19th century, 6. The Sun God Opal, carved opal set in gold (35-carat opal), 7. Myriad of Shoes, 8. Field Museum – Africa, 9. masks, 10. Ancient Americas exhibit, Field Museum, 11. canopic jars, limestone, Third Intermediate Period, 12. Tuareg Amulet Pouch Algeria, 13. Rings, 14. Field Museum, 15. Mata Ortiz Pottery, 16. Chicago Field Museum
Maybe this resonated for me because not too long before our trip I had been reading about the building of the Temple in the Old Testament. And that God saw fit to have artisans and skilled craftspeople working on the Temple. So on our vacation all of it combined to create in me a sense of value for my artistic leanings. If you’ve ever listened to Steve Jobs’ commencement speech you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that dots started to become connected. I don’t think I’m adequately explaining the impact this had on me. Or how I can connect it to my post about Junior. And I can connect it to this TED talk by Mike Row. (who by the way I have a secret crush on.) The mistake we make when we put things in a hierarchy of value. The mistake we make when we devalue creativity, or someone’s contribution to the world – no matter how seemingly small or insignificant, or the good old-fashioned value of manual/physical labor, or the people behind the scenes making life work or creating designs that make our lives easier and/or add an element of aesthetics.
And now a short lis of current artists/craftspeople who are inspiring me.
- Jennifer Steen Booher, and her beachcombing series of photographs.
- Olivia Jeffries organic and understated drawings.
- Ian Ruhter’s incredible large scale photography. And how he came to determine the value of what he is doing.
- William Hays’ linocut prints, especially this & this.
- The papercuttings of Karen Bit Vejle
I’d like to introduce you to Junior. I’m always inspired by Junior. I see this gentleman several times a week when I’m jogging or walking Hazel. I don’t know his last name, or whether Junior is just a nickname. I have no idea where he lives or what his story is. What I do know is that every single day he is out pulling his wagon, and picking up aluminum cans. And every time I see him I get a happy smile and a friendly wave. I believe him to be one of the gems of our little town. I also think he is a shining example of finding that thing you do well and doing it whole-heartedly.