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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Some Bright and Beautiful Things

Early to Northport to join the group of volunteers planting barrels of flowers for our village sidewalks. Sarah met her first Portuguese water dog, Abby. David gave himself a Father’s Day “county cruise” down to Cedar to visit various friends he hadn’t seen for a while. The early part of the bookstore day was lively (with friends, families, customers, book- and dog-lovers) but had quieted down by the time David got to town late in the afternoon. Sarah and I had only moments before returned from a walk along the creek, where the Canada anemones and buttercups (both in the same family, ‘ranunculae,’ the little frog flowers) are blooming, the latter alongside still-blue forget-me-nots and a few of those bright little wild geraniums (cranesbill?) that add a ‘pop’ (as the landscapers like to say) of magenta to the mix.

Home early enough to get Sarah out for a run before dinner, I didn’t mind at all when rain started falling on our way back to the house. I was, in fact, happy that the gentle patter continued long enough to give David and me an excuse to do some cozy, after-dinner porch reading before the sun reappeared and called us to outdoor work. I finished CREATION, the novel about Audubon in Labrador. As I turned the pages, Michigan songbirds were making music in the background. (They are still singing now, after sunset.) A short chapter near the end of the book changed the scene from North America to London, England, where Audubon's printer worked under incredible pressure (some subscribers to the bank were canceling their orders, to the artist's dismay) to produce the huge plates, 30 by 40 inches, for the original elephant-folio edition of BIRDS OF AMERICA. I thought of the Russell Chatham documentary we saw at the Dennos Museum in Traverse City. Print-making is an incredibly complicated affair, equal parts creativity and engineering.

The last light of day was exquisite.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, PJ! "Iris en Deshabille" or something like that - it's been a long time since I tried to write so much as a word in French. What a lovely, blowsy, dreamy photo.