Friday, September 29, 2006

Fall Song

I drive out of the city on county roads,
hypnotized by the smooth and curving blacktop.
White lane markers contain me.
Rain and dark skies push on my windshield
and I try to view the softer clouds over the lake.

I drive through this farmland,
past horses and fields of corn,
past drying cattails and purple wild flowers,
past sloping hills in brown, green and clay
past trees, now yellow, burgundy and rust orange,
to remember.

The cool autumnal air moves me to fetch sweaters and teabags,
collect pumpkins and the perfect yellow maple leaf.
I walk past neighbors gardens
examine the seedy core of the orange zinnia
and the tough skin of the mum petal.

The squirrels have been busy shelling acorns
and little Petunia wants to eat what they have left,
along with the seeds and berries and rocks that catch her attention.
She walks now, without my help,
walks and crouches down to pick up a thin leaf
and puts it in her mouth.

I walk slowly, at Little Pet’s pace
trying to see.
She looks deeply at her world
and the moment holds her.

Today I follow her
down the sidewalk,
as she toddles
with stick in hand
towards the yellow daisies and
acorn shells.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bittersweet ShayShells

Fall is a bittersweet time for me and I can feel myself shifting. Shifting back into the past, back into myself, back into a certain sadness of loss and change. Fall is when my younger brother died, fall is the start of a new school year, fall is the change from warm to cool, fall is the time the sun starts to show less and less of it self. Fall is decay and rumination, returning to the soil. I feel it every year and it is a collection of past experiences, bodily changes and patterns in the brain. So, I’m working on getting the hang of this new semester, being away more and divided in my time and activities, torn sometimes between the sweetness of home and the newness and challenge of classes. Torn sometimes between the constant needs at home and the lack of time to do artwork. I’m working on my body still, trying different treatments for the hormonal and seasonal changes that took place since I stopped breastfeeding. And I’m working on enjoying the changing season: a drive to the farm for gourds, leeks and apples, a walk to collect the leaves that have fallen, a hike perhaps - these would do me good.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

What to do on a rainy day

It has been raining for days now, grey skies for almost a full week, downpours, thunderstorms, drizzle and garden variety steady rain. It started on Saturday and didn’t really break until Friday. Sun makes everything better, but if you can’t have sun, here are a few things that help; Charles Trenet (French Chanteur of the 40's and 50's), 60's Ethiopian Jazz (Mulatu Astatqe), Putamayo’s Cape Verde (Blend of African and Portuguese folk), drinking coffee, having lots of homework to do so that you don’t even realize its been raining for four days now, screwing it and just going for a leisurely walk in the rain and letting the baby explore puddles, drain pipes and sewers, being happy for the plants in the garden, sleeping in and probably a million other things that I don’t have to think about now because it is sunny and 80.

I started off the semester with a trip to the Chicago Institute of Art and a walking tour of some of Chicago’s outdoor sculpture. We saw the Picasso sculpture , the "Four Seasons" Chagall mosaic (although the rain and the pigeons living on top of it distracted from it’s splendor) and sculpture by Calder, Miro and Henry Moore. I was struck by a figural glass sculpture, Repose in Amber, by Martin Blank (who worked under Chihuly) and its textures and shell-like colors as well as the Mother and child images of Mary Cassatt at the Institute. (Yes, it made me pine for little Pet who stayed back with Dada and Juju).

I also started my book arts survey which takes place at the special collection room at the university library. They have a replica of the Book of Kells and other illuminated manuscripts and prayer books from pre Renaissance as well as a multitude of livre d’artistes, an early graphic novel by Lynd Ward and one of a kind books by artists that incorporate pop-up, sculptural elements, text, digital images, drawings, found objects and just about anything else. It was fun debating the future of the book and why book arts may be the "quintessential 20th century art form." Hey, it beats arguing with Sir Juji about why he must stop flooding his sandbox and stuffing his clean clothes behind his bed.