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Monday, March 11, 2013

Where Did That Lost Hour Go?


Snow and ice melting in the rain
Plum tree buds

Somehow I don't feel as if I've lost an hour, and that's because I treated myself to a lazy Sunday, a very old-fashioned, low-tech kind of lazy day. Trying to be your own doctor is supposed to mean you've got a fool for a patient, but my prescription for the 23-hour day was plenty of lounging around at home. 

For starters, there was the switch to Daylight Savings Time, but we’d also been out late on Saturday night. Well, late for us. We drove to Traverse City for an opening at the Dennos Museum Center, where our friend Rufus Snoddy had a beautiful and enormous installation, all new pieces, called “Wings of Icarus.” There was a reception for Rufus and another artist. The other man, Cressman from University of Michigan, also did large installation pieces. Painting and sculpture combined memorably in both artists’ work. Brad Aspey from Interlochen Public Radio interviewed Snoddy and Cressman on stage at eight o’clock, and I was glad we stayed for the talk because I’m still contemplating on Monday morning what Rufus had to say about the myth of Icarus. He did a work back in the 90s, he said, around four ancient Greek myths, but the story of Icarus was the one that stayed with him, speaking to him of modern life and modern man’s inability to listen to warnings and moderate his flights into technology to find a “safe passage.” The different sizes and colors and textures and patterns of the wings, along with different objects incorporated into them, Rufus said, came from his imagining all of us human beings with wings. “What would his wings look like? What would her wings look like?” In the work, beautiful single wings hang from the ceiling or from wall mounts and shift slowly as currents of air move them. When you think about it, it is like the world after the Apocalypse – still filled with beautiful fragments but empty now of the proud beings whose wings these were. So it is very beautiful and, underneath, achingly sad.

There is also a lovely exhibit of modern Japanese woven bamboo art currently at the Dennos. Altogether it’s a good time to visit, if you haven’t already. And you'll have to go there to see the exhibits, because I did not take my camera with me on Saturday evening.

Somewhere that night was another exhibit opening in town, a show featuring three modern pioneers of the region, one of them the late Reverend Marshall Collins of Northport. Somehow I had thought both exhibits were at the Dennos, but they were not, and no one at the Dennos could tell me where the other might be, although one of the volunteers carefully combed through the Northern Express, page by page, looking for an announcement. I’m sorry we missed that opening, as several family members of Reverend Collins are people I consider friends. I’ll have to find out where it is and see the exhibit another time.

The ride home was hair-raising. The air had warmed so that rain rather than snow was falling. Falling heavily. Lights gleamed and glared. Headlights in rearview mirrors, oncoming headlights. The white fog line along the sides of M-22 definitely needs repainting! Fog, too, began occurring in surprising patches. We were relieved to turn off the highway at last, more relieved to reach home, and most relieved to fall into bed! And so there was no hurry to get up by the sprung-forward clock in our house on Sunday morning.

Typed (on typewriter) and handwritten treasures -- thank you, dear friends!
I got up relatively early, anyway, and finished a letter started to a friend a couple of days before. Handwritten on paper. Then made banana bread. Made coffee for David. (I’m halfway through my six-WEEK--NOT six-MONTH! period of abstinence from coffee, alcohol, and potato chips and approaching confidently the home stretch.) Made us a big breakfast to enjoy in bed, along with “Prairie Home Companion.”

Later I made myself comfortable on the living room couch and did a spell of writing, putting that aside after about an hour to go on with reading A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines. A friend of mine who has read all his books had told me she thinks he should be much better known than he is, and after only 46 pages I agreed with her wholeheartedly. – but that is a subject for another day.

Later, making up for getting up early, I took a nap, right in the middle of the day, right there on the couch. When I woke up, David and I read side by side and talked about what we were reading and had a few pretzels, and then I fixed supper for us, still in my robe.

After supper, David decided to out for a while, and I had the only modern part of my lazy day, reading e-mail, but when that was finished I went back to my book, finishing the last page – for real – just as David was walking in the front door.

Okay, watching a movie on DVD is fairly modern, I guess, but the movie was the perfecting ending to my day of writing and reading. “Liberal Arts” has several bookstore scenes (two different bookstores, one in New York and one in Gambier, Ohio); all through the movie characters are reading and discussing books (one I recognized by its cover, although the title and author name were not spoken aloud or shown on screen); and quite a long sequence of the movie has two of the characters composing and handwriting letters on paper to each other, letters sent through the mail and drawn eagerly from envelopes to be read and re-read. The final bookstore scene in New York is rather a paean to books, as two characters sit on the floor between rows of shelves, books piled on the floor around them. It isn’t entirely a “bookshop movie,” but I’d definitely mention it in that context were I writing again of my best-beloved genre.

Hazy orchard with fog beginning to thin

It was still raining this morning -- the world white with mist and fog and sparkling with raindrops -- but we are not  lazy today. The world is calling us out into it!

More melting snow
P.S. A note in French, handwritten inside a beautiful notecard featuring a photograph of a round barn, awaited me at the post office, along with two review copies of new books. I love the post office! I love real letters and real books!

P.P.S. The other exhibit, I found out online, is at the History Center in Traverse City, the place I will always, as long as I live, call the old library. We'll go there on our next trip to town.

5 comments:

Kathy said...

What a lovely blog. It was filled with so much life and spirit. I do not like those hair-raising drives. Did not know you were doing six months worth of abstinence in the aforementioned areas. Congratulations with your will power!

P. J. Grath said...

Six MONTHS???!!! Oh, my, I DID say that, but you might want to take back most of the congratulations, Kathy, because it's only six WEEKS, i.e., Lent, that I signed on for. Good heavens--six MONTHS--what an idea!!!

Kathy said...

Ha ha! Six weeks sounds a little more manageable. I was REALLY impressed by the six months!

Dawn said...

This was so peaceful. I love the first photo...at first I thought it was fog...perfect!

P. J. Grath said...

Lazy, peaceful, contented, yes. Now we have snow and ice again, and housework will not wait!