I’m behind. This week was my birth week and I’ll be posting on that tomorrow. For now, this absolutely adorable top my daughter had made in Mali (which is in W. Africa for those who’s geography is a bit sketchy) while she lived there. I love how the curve of the lines of the fabric design echo some of my own.
It’s hard to feel spring here when the temperature hovers in the 30s and 40s. But the garden belies the temp and spring beauties push their way through anyway.
Last week I was helping my mom sort out my dad’s things. Among other treasures that came home with me was an old fedora. My dad was a hat lover (maybe that’s where I got it) although in more recent years he favored the baseball or truckers cap style which I can’t abide. He must have had thirty or more of these, all bound for some charity now. I picked up one of his old fedoras years ago and occasionally wear it. When I found this one in his closet, I knew it had to come home with me.
My dad had a remarkably small head. He wasn’t big by anyone’s standards, 5’7″ at the most with a slight build when he was young. He looks about twelve in a photo while he was in army and his original service jacket doesn’t fit me or anyone else in the family — and I’m pretty slight myself. His hat, however, fits perfectly.
I would say my dad loved clothes, that he was a clothes-horse. He shopped, and he shopped for bargains (though never second-hand, he left that to my mom). In his working days, suits (and wingtips!) graced his form. He was short, but he made sure he was snappy! Back in the day men of his kind wore hats, but it looked to me like he wore them with a special elan. That they added an extra spring to his step and inches to his height.
I don’t think it adds any height to mine, but I like the look anyway.
I love the detail on this blouse:
I almost wish I had pared this fresh color with a shocking green or a soft grey-green like the fedora. Or a deeper purple like the plum in the background. Maybe next time.
I don’t know if its because I spent all my energy traveling, or because it’s February but I have felt like I am slogging through fog this month. I usually tackle all kinds of house projects (lets clean the basement!) but no. I am committing myself to writing at least a page a day of a novel I’m working on – committing sounds much better than ‘trying’ doesn’t it.
I am getting out. David and I have had several ‘date nights’ this month where I shrug myself out of lassitude and get dressed, like this:
The vesty thing you may have remembered as one of the things I had made in Senegal. I am quite pleased with it.
And, every Monday I head over to a workspace to repurpose flowers at the The Bloom Project. I may have written about the project before which uses flowers leftover from wholesale dealers and grocery stores to put together bouquets for people in hospice. The day my dad died last year I was not near him, unfortunately 2,000 miles away, but I was sending beauty to other hospice patients through my work that day at Bloom.
It is strange to have a vibrant loved one fade before your eyes. It reminded me of child development, how kids first learn to babble, then sound words, then talk. Or learning to walk when they start with scooting, then crawling, then standing and low and behold they are walking. With people dying it is just the reverse, they are folding back in on themselves.
I’m not sure my dad would have appreciated the flowers, he was not that kind of nature/beauty lover. But my mom would have. So I imagine my bouquets bring joy to someone in the last phase of life or their families.
On this homebound day (it snowed!) I’m going to check out Visible Monday
Because I am almost back to “normal”
Because there was a full moon
Because it’s already February
Because black and red go well together
Because I love hats.
I was gifted with a box of hats at the holiday and am wearing one of these beauties. More to come.
Heading over (after a hiatus) to Judith’s Hat Attack
From the smoggy sun of Dakar to the soggy streets of Paris. A brief winter visit to the City of Light which was, surprise, still lit by Christmas.
The streets were still full, albeit less full than in summer. The Seine was full, much more than in the summer. And The Louvre, well we didn’t have to stand in line and got 20 minutes to ourselves in one of the galleries.
We put on our puffy coats, and promenaded as best as we could. (It’s darn hard to look chic in a puffy coat.)
Some selections from the streets and Musées.
Monet and Dada together? In a manner of speaking. Same museum.
Sometimes the Louvre itself is more interesting than the art.
Outside, trees are bare and the Seine is flooding.
Sometimes you just see things differently. Either because they were put there deliberately,
Or because they found you out somehow.
And then there are the things you don’t notice until way after you’ve taken the photo– in this case how like palm trees these buttresses are. Taking me back to Dakar.
From the end of the trip, to the start.
Our travels took us to Goree Island, a world heritage site and location of an exit point of slaves in the trade of bondage. We three had a conversation about touring and tourism of these sites of inhumanity: Goree Island, Auschwitz, battlefields and even plantation sites. If tourism brings about reflection and consideration, that’s a good thing in my mind. But what if this kind of tourism is a checklist: oh yeah I’ve been here and there, seen those things. Been there/done that. What makes something a site of remembrance and reflection rather than just another tour stop with locals just trying to make a living – Goree was full of guides and artisans. A living, breathing space with citizens and families and children looking to the future. Turning the door of no return to a door of opportunity knocking.
It was a beautiful spot. No automobiles, no pollution, just blue skies and tender breezes 20 minutes by ferry from Dakar. It seems almost wicked to post pictures given what took place there.
The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience website talks about the importance of linking these sites, and history, to the current struggle for human rights. It encourages remembrance as a way for future generations to learn the lessons that previous generations had not — the dignity of all peoples and the importance of human rights for everyone. Their list of member sites and organizations is quite interesting and includes Little Rock High School in the US and an emigrant port in Belgium.
History doesn’t have to be dusty pages in climate controlled rooms. It is all around us really. What we let seep in, or rush in, to our thoughts and feelings is up to us. History is story that is one representation of the truth. It’s useful I think, in these days, to let multiple stories fall on our ears — there is meaning in every one. And actually visiting the site of these stories is a way to make them more real, more resonant today.
I’ve been derelict in my blogging duties, the fall was so full of things I could barely keep up. And we swept out of town on Christmas eve to family and friends and beyond. I have kept up with my floral blogging at Rooms in Bloom,where I’ve been cataloging simple floral arrangements from my garden in a 52 Week/Vase Challenge. Between that and singing, dancing, and working, I’ve used up my allotment of daily hours.
We rung the New Year in Dakar, visiting our daughter. I hope to get to a few more posts in about our adventures
With Napowrimo over the April poem routine has petered out. Much as I wish it were not true, by this, the first week of May, other things have come to fill the routine gap. I’m teaching two courses this spring, one online and one face to face and both of these take time. More time than one might expect. There’s a lot of reading especially with the online course.
It’s to easy to upend my priorities. Too easy to spend a little too much time on social media. Or crafting the perfect response to my students. Too easy to get depressed or exasperated by local and national politics. And all of this, this kind of negative routine, saps the creative spirit. While some things do need attending to (my students!, my garden, my friends) other things could be given a pass.
One thing I’ve been spending some time on has been a fundraiser for one of my favorite arts organizations. I’ll be talking more about nonprofits and fundraising in the coming weeks but I got to combine some more creative activities (decor for the event) with the more mundane efforts of raising money.
In some ways, fun as these things are, they are still distractions. I sometimes wonder at myself, that focus is elusive. I begin again, I remind myself what’s important. Set out on another day to keep those things in focus once again. Practice.
May 7, 2017
It was something to keep tethered
So she wouldn’t float away
Some mix of tears and the cloudy sky
Feel your feet,
Feel your toes inside your shoes
the soles pressing against the ground
feel your calves, knees, thighs
pressing against the air
not your head
don’t feel your head
feel something that will not
steal your soul. Your feet.
The present chases itself
Can’t be bothered with the past
Brings along with it barbed wire and sunshine.
Feel your feet.
The Napowrimo prompt for today was to create a poem with a secret, an idea or line that it isn’t expressing directly.
I took that to build a poem within a poem. See if you can find it. It was fun to experiment although and I can see that more practice with this could yield something even more intriguing.
April 4 A common promise
Winter has wrapped up its presence
left with weather intermittent.
Showers that gather, spring
above us cloaking the sun.
Swapping places, the earth instead shines
Droplets of rain magnify what’s underneath.
While behind the clouds
A great mystery is hid.
Linda, April 4