3.22.2010

accidental memories

This is the kind of moment that makes me happy to be a homebody. I’m always fussing around with vases, pots, rocks, plants, postcards--all the souvenirs (I say) or detritus (others say, those with minimalism on the brain) that accumulate over a lifetime. I will put one thing next to another, then move them around, then add things, often absent-mindedly, as I was doing last fall, when I found the green pitcher for the last of the blooms from the garden.

Before I knew it, I had set up a little moment on my kitchen island that was redolent of memories. The postcard is for a show of paintings by my dear friend Byron Dobell. He was one of my first bosses in the world. I was at Esquire magazine, just out of college. I had been working for a string of chauvinistic men who kept quitting, or getting fired, or having nervous breakdowns, so by the time Byron came along, I was at the end of my rope. He asked me to get him some supplies at the store up the street--tape, scissors, paper--and I refused. I believe I even said, if you need that stuff, you can get it yourself. He suggested we walk together, and that was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Years ago he decided he loved painting more than editing, and left the magazine business. He is one of my heroes.

Then there’s the small, smooth pot by Frances Palmer, about whom I have raved elsewhere. And in front of that is the yellow pot that looks like a piece of ancient coral, and that was made by Judyth Van Amringe, about whom I will rave some more in a future post. Suffice it to say that everything she touches--no matter what it is:fabric, clay, paper, paint, soil, food, you name it--is transformed into its best self, a work of art. She is one of the most imaginative and interesting people I know. Of course I put some lucky stones in her pot.

And in front of that is the small clay nest that Theo came home from kindergarten with one day. Of course all children make the same clay objects; all across the country, moms get chickens in spring, and pumpkins or turkeys in the fall. But every child sees the world his own way, and so tiny Theo explained that the eggs were not under the hen, but around her, because she wanted to keep an eye on them. I don’t even have to tell you how I feel whenever I look at that mother bird.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see you have moved with warp speed in gaining readers with the advent of the NY Times Magazine article. Ah, the power of the press. While I like the crocus/bask post, I like this one even better. Also I found the lovely picture of the flowers in pot by Palmer stayed in my mind - so lovely. Your reflections have resonated as I contemplate retirement this year. I fear the not working. But I am a passionate gardener. Will it be enough? DC writer.

creativelife said...

I can identify with this and it is what I call setting up little altars. I see it like doing art therapy with myself or doing a sandplay. It is like a waking dream and each item is a symbol. Carl Jung, the great psychoanalyst believed that in the symbol healing took place.

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