Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Repetitive Motions

This has been the summer of repetitive motions. You might leap to the conclusion that I am talking about weaving--the rhythmic throwing of the shuttle from one selvedge to the other, feet alternately depressing pedals--but I am talking about scraping paint off the house, painting on primer, painting the first coat of color, then painting the second coat. Of action that seems like it is going nowhere but suddenly a new view pops into focus. The last week or so it seems the house really is looking different.

Summer house work in Vermont
That's Mark's woodpile at the bottom, referencing the Green Mountains of Vermont. Stacking the wood started the summer work. After some attempts to avoid the house painting (successfully ignored for several years) we just bit the bullet and started scraping. What you can't see are all the clapboards Mark had to replace, or the rotting window frames he fixed, or that the steps are new and include a poured cement step. In other words, what he has done looks so good that you don't notice how much he has done. It's like that with art too.

Garlic from Tunbridge Hill Farm, Tunbridge, VT
It's like that with the garlic we have been peeling for the last month and will continue through October. I never realized that the bulbs I have purchased in the past, white and clean, had to be carefully peeled to remove the dirt in which they grew and the outer stained layers so that the customer could purchase the illusion of pristine bulbs. So, in exchange for our CSA share, we have put peeling garlic into our summer routine. Scrape, scrape, peel, peel. Read.

I am reading Simon Schama's Landscape and Memory. Recommended by a friend, it made my eyes sparkle from the very first sentence. I am trying to understand the myth of place, and this author, who addresses it, along with fascinating, meandering discussions that others might ignore but that he, happily, feels it necessary to explore in order to complete the idea he is addressing. Big old Victorian houses that need painting every year and garlic bulbs and local food are part of the landscape of Vermont. What parts of the illusion do I cherish and want to keep in my life? What parts seem like the DisneyWorld Pastoral Ride to me? It seems many of the places I have lived have strong identities ("Santa Fe" evokes a rich tapestry of images that are quite distinct from the equally rich tapestry of images evoked by the word "Vermont"). When I look at a map of the USA I realize that ideas of place keep me from considering many states as home. In fact, right now, I think the lack of a myth about another place is keeping us stationary.

Elin Noble and friends at her exhibition at Colo Colo
Stationary, not immobile. Just had a wonderful day with a friend driving down and back to New Bedford to see Elin Noble's inspiring exhibition at Colo Colo Gallery. These small marbled pictures are worlds within worlds, swirling energies of macro and microcosm, everything contained in nuances of black and white.

Garden Spirits by Lasse Antonsen at Slocum's River Reserve
We also got to visit the Slocum's River Reserve to see Lasse Antonsen's installation of Garden Spirits. Eeire forms, part tree, part insect, part alien figure, the installation is a wonderful start of a career change where Lasse has exchanged his curator's hat for that of an artist's. I am sure this multi-faceted creator is actually going to be many-headed continuing as writer, teacher, artist, explorer.

Amaral's in New Bedford, MA
What we didn't get to do was shop at Amaral's or walk the beach at Horseneck Beach--both priorities on the trip but proof that things are not in our control. However, I was able to get some Portuguese food items at Marketbasket--needed because the current Dowdy Corners Cookbook Club selection is David Leite's The New Portuguese Table. I made his green soup last night and it was delicious--perfect for these early fall days that seem colder than they are because they are in such close proximity to the glorious warmth of summer. You know I am not a cold weather aficianado, but I admit that I am ready to put away the scraper and pick up a shuttle, exchanging one repetitive motion for another.


  1. Your house looks amazing. You can't sell it!

  2. -what he has done looks so good that you don't notice how much he has done. It's like that with art too-
    hear, hear!