Monday, October 26, 2009

...safe and sound + teaparty

Saturday was a loooong day of travel home, starting with getting up at 4AM EST; needless to say, by the time I finally touched down here in Portland I was loopy from lack of sleep. My sleep wake cycle is still a bit off kilter; as good as it is to travel and visit loved ones, there is much to be said for coming home and sleeping in my own bed, in my own house...
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It was a good visit. I spent most of the time with my parents, but also spent the first weekend with my brothers family. I had a chance to get to know my little nephew Ben a bit; the last time I visited he was an infant, now he is six... The more I get to know my sister-in-law Barbara, the more I like her, we both wish that travel between the coasts was easier and cheaper...

Of course, it wouldn't be like me to not do handwork projects wherever I go... Barbara had the nifty idea that we could decorate "Team Fine" T-shirts to wear to support my brother in his marathon, so we spent Saturday afternoon having fun creating a set of freezer paper stenciled shirts with a flying footprint logo. It was a group effort, I did the drawing, Barbara and I cut the designs and ironed them onto the shirts, and Ben helped with the painting.
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I had hoped to see the leaf color at the height of the season, but was about a week early. There were still many trees that hadn't turned at all, but some had...
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A trip on Thursday to the Peabody Essex Museum was an unexpected highlight. I hadn't seen the museum in decades, and the new-to-me building is a spectacularly well designed house for their collections and exhibitions. I really enjoyed the "Trash Menagerie" exhibition, of artist-made animal sculptures both static and kinetic.
"Sweater Dogs", Kitty Wales, 2006, 24 x 14 x 36 inches each

In central outdoor courtyard is "Yin Yu Tang, the only complete Qing Dynasty house outside China". There are various furnishings and objects inside the house, large carp swimming around in the two rectangular fish ponds under the sky well, and it is easy to imagine the house peopled with those who once lived there.
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The willow switch, no bigger than my thumb, that I remember my mother poking into the ground in the backyard now towers almost five stories, far larger than the house. (the main trunk of the willow looks to be at least 5 feet in diameter)


Walking in the swampy woodland behind my parents house is both familiar and unfamiliar, the ghost of the young girl I was forty years ago almost visible as I clambered over fallen trees and dodged brushy clutter. Only when I suddenly go ankle deep into cold deep mud hidden under the fallen leaves, my shoes pulled clear off my feet by the sticky black ooze, am I unceremoniously yanked totally back into the present day again; I am no longer fourteen, and my dear mother is on the far side of seventy-five, and wondering why I am yet again coming home with muddy feet...
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Advance notice...Teaparty here at Acorn Cottage this Sunday November 1st...all the usual...questions or directions, just ask...

1 comment:

  1. And I remember roaming in the woods with Carol Briggs, who, due to her botanist father, could name lots of interesting plants growing around...the plants are bigger now, as are we. But it was a wonderful boggy smell that you can always remember. Thanks for the rekindling story!!

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