October 10, 2016
October 7, 2016
Lines and letters intersecting, twisting, and coming together in a collaboration between art and poetry; artist and viewers; mother and child.
We spent the afternoon at The Hirschhorn circumnavigating Linn Meyer's striking work, "Our View From Here". Ever since watching the time lapse video of how Meyer's installed the piece of the course of many weeks, I had been itching to see it up close, but I had no idea that it would have such a big impact on both of us. As if we were being pulled out to sea on a rip tide, we were immediately sucked into its alluring currents and caught up in a surreal scenery composed of lively black lines.
Moving sticky notes around on blank sketch books, but eventually transitioning to the floor so we could really play with them. Selecting the ones we both loved the most, setting aside those that might or might not work, shifting combinations until it sounded right to both of us. I loved how different our words were and yet, how beautifully they worked together to form a satisfying little nugget of our experience. It is essentially our very own "view from here".
Tangled rainbow whorl
To a point
Swirling, swooping, cascading, pulsing
Lines, lines, lines, lines
by Camille (age 10) and Lucia (age 43)
Inspired by Linn Meyer's "Our View From Here"
The Hirschhorn, October 7, 2016
October 4, 2016
We have been spending a lot of time immersed in the Colonial period: visiting a variety of living history parks/ national historic sites; reading journals, texts, and historical fiction; and working our way through the fabulous PBS "reality show", Colonial House. I have always been a voyeur and this recent historical immersion process has really been fascinating. Our visit to Yorktown, Virginia last month was filled with nitty gritty details, artifacts, and ephemera. A haunting little cradle with hand-made dollies, a green mug left on a bench by a Colonial farmer who had probably been resting between chores, maps and navigational tools inside an officer's tent, disturbing medical tools and Colonial era treatments, flax and hops plants growing in the garden, and hand-hewn tools. Sometimes the folks working in these historical re-creations are excellent, sometimes they are weird, but regardless of the staffing, the physical items from daily life always catch my eye and plunge me back into day dreaming about what it must have been like to struggle and hope during that stage in our country's history. ***All of the staff at York Town were great! and I highly recommend a visit, especially in Spring of 2017 when the new museum will be open and the expansion of the living history park will be complete.
October 1, 2016
Rosh Hashanah feels like it crept up on me this year, swirling in with the messiness of September and endless days of rain. It starts tomorrow night. Usually by this time, I will have stacked up a pile of holiday books, dug out our shofars, and have big bowls filled with apples as seasonal decor. But none of those things have happened yet, and they may not. This time of year always involves intense juggling of schedules while attempting to craft together a rhythm that works for everyone. That intensity increased when we made the decision several years ago to become a family that lives in both the homeschool (Camille) world and the traditional school world (Noah). And for some reason this year feels even more overwhelming. I have been puzzled by that feeling because although both kids have fairly busy schedules, we have actually cut back on their after-school activities and I have been diligent about trying to take of myself with daily yoga/meditation and regular yoga classes. I think that feeling of unease is related to a larger sense of uncertainty hovering in my conscious and unconscious mind.
We are entering our final year in the DC area and that always brings with it a slew of mixed feelings and preparatory anxiety. We have lived here longer than anywhere else in our history as a military family, so the roots are a bit deeper and twistier, and digging them up will be painful. We are also facing a move back to Japan with much older children and a crazy muppet of a dog. There are more emotional, physical, and logistical details than in our previous international moves. But I in addition to those moving-related worries, I am feeling a deeper sense of concern about the current state of our world...wars that never seem to end; racism that seeps, stings, and slays; the upcoming election; illnesses that attack with a vengeance; natural disasters that change lives overnight; and disconnection, apathy, and insularity.
Needless to say, I haven't been sleeping well or living with a light heart lately. And that's exactly why Brain Picking's feature about E.B. White's letter came at just the right moment this week. E.B. White is one of my favorite writers and this letter of his is something I want carry with me right now. Perhaps something everyone should be carrying with them right now. I am tucking it into my pocket as we prepare to enter into this contemplative period of the Jewish High Holy Days. Wind the clock, sprout seeds of goodness, and maintain hope for a sweet new year. L'shanah Tovah!
|Williamsburg, Virginia, September 2016|
September 29, 2016
September 11, 2016
Today marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and I find myself consciously shutting off news stories, avoiding dreaded images, or actively re-directing conversations about it. Previous anniversaries of this date have never really had much of an impact on me, but for some reason today felt different. And this evening it hit me. It has to do with my dad.
My dad was no where near the twin towers, on a plane, or any where near the Pentagon. On that September day, my dad was in south Louisiana and I was in Washington state. And yet he will always be apart of my memories on that tragic day. It was early on the West Coast and my dad called to make sure we were awake and aware of what was happening. He wasn't the first person to alert us, but he was the one I spoke with the longest that morning. We were on the phone together as the second tower fell. My dad seemed to quickly grasp that our country was about to go into an intense tail spin. In between trying to calm me down, he began to switch into survivalist mode. Trying to figure out ways we could stay in touch if the phones shut down or who we could each contact if we were in trouble. He wanted me to make sure we had batteries and extra water. His response sent me into a bit of my own internal tailspin with dueling emotions...comfort that someone seemed to have some ideas for a plan and fear that things were about to get much worse.
I think today's anniversary hit me because it was a harsh reminder that I can no longer pick up the phone to call my dad when bad things happen. I feel a bit of guilt to think that my reaction today is about grief that isn't even directly related to today's anniversary. And yet, isn't that at the core of today? Reminders of loss, reminders of life continuing to happen, reminders of fear and uncertainty, and a reminder that we were all a bit changed on that day fifteen years ago. And perhaps most importantly our universal human need to be connected, comforted, and protected.
September 10, 2016
One of the highlights of the day was watching the Tayac Territory Singers and Dancers, members of the Piscataway Indian Nation, led by Mark Tayac son of the current hereditary chief, Chief Billy Tayac. It was hard not to be entranced by their beautiful outfits and their voices singing in Algonquin Piscataway while drumming and dancing. The Piscataway were one of the most populous and powerful tribes in the Chesapeake Bay region north of the Potomac. It was an honor to see them sharing their history and culture today. Want to learn more about the Piscataway? Meet Naiche is a good place to start.