Look who made the trip to Andermatt with us! Pacy enjoyed the Swiss Alps and all of the snow, but what she really loved was the fondue, especially the Chinese fondue (similar to Chinese hotpot or Japanese shabu-shabu). That was our favorite type of fondue, too.
Be sure to take a peek at Pacy's recent travels to Taipei with Grace and her family. And on a related note, it was nice to see that both Taiwan and Andermatt are on the New York Times travel list for 2014. Pacy is clearly a trend setting traveler.
It seems fitting to finally share these photos today. They are photos from my favorite part of our visit to the City Lights Bookstore: the poetry room, which felt like a delicious and secret discovery, a tower room bursting with words impatiently waiting to be freed. And also appropriate since I spent this afternoon with the fabulous poet, Marilyn Nelson.
Today was the official publication day for her newest book of poetry. How I Discovered Poetry is an autobiographical collection of poems that chronicles her nomadic childhood as a military kid (her father was one of the Tuskegee Airmen) during the 1950s. As the voice and subject matter mature from the tender age of four up through her early teens, it's hard not to be sucked into the minutiae of intimate moments and salient memories, while also noting the larger cultural and social happenings that are whirling around her. As an African-American girl during the civil rights era some of these moments are especially piercing. But it is her compelling use of words which reverberate long after the page has been turned and leave me yearning for more.
How I Discovered Poetry
By Marilyn Nelson
It was like soul-kissing, the way the words
filled my mouth as Mrs. Purdy read from her desk.
All the other kids zoned an hour ahead to 3:15,
but Mrs. Purdy and I wandered lonely as clouds borne
by a breeze off Mount Parnassus. She must have seen
the darkest eyes in the room brim: The next day
she gave me a poem she’d chosen especially for me
to read to the all except for me white class.
She smiled when she told me to read it, smiled harder,
said oh yes I could. She smiled harder and harder
until I stood and opened my mouth to banjo playing
darkies, pickaninnies, disses and dats. When I finished
my classmates stared at the floor. We walked silent
to the buses, awed by the power of words.
You know it's a good night when you have to step into the restroom to remove layers of sweat soaked clothing. It's also a good night when tears of nostalgia and longing mix themselves with pride and cathartic joy. And that's just what happened on a chilly, Thursday night in Rosslyn, Virginia with The Pine Leaf Boys.
We danced. We danced some more. And I found myself spinning between two different worlds. As I watched my baby sister, Emee, sketching the band from the side of the stage, I couldn't stop smiling, while also missing my dad who would do the very same thing. My dad who taught me how to Cajun dance. My dad who was one of the first to document the world of Cajun music in the midst of reveling in it. My dad who would be bursting with pride to see this little crew of Louisiana kids showing the world how this how all works, this generation carrying forth traditions that nearly died away. I spent my childhood watching Wilson's parents, Marc and Ann playing cajun music in living rooms and on stages and now Wilson is doing the same thing. And doing it well.
When it was all over and we burst back into the cold night, I decided that we need to dance more. More spinning, more sweating, and more live Cajun music. I don't just want it, I need it.