A little haunting

After dinner while K watched a taped Patriots game, I made a slideshow. It’s in the middle of the post. A few stills follow.

Montage of old collages about fear

But first the original collages of the running girl. In them, her urgent need to escape emerged from the iterations. The double/triple exposures that form the basis of the slideshow, seemingly of their own accord, continue that feeling. The way she comes in and out of view heightens the sense of imminent harm and also, perhaps, points to the way trauma damages one’s ability to stay in the body.

I couldn’t sleep last night. Eventually got up and read. I came across an article about Emmett Till which you can read here.

Short version: a journalist hired to write about Till’s murder for Life Magazine (this was after the two men were acquitted), couldn’t get releases from two OTHER murderers, so he just WROTE THEM OUT OF THE STORY.

The journalist could be tried (could have been? Sorry, it was 3:00 in the morning) for accessory to murder after the fact.

The current article makes plain that not only was it journalistic malpractice and very possibly illegal, the omission generated more terror in the Black community than had they known there’d been four perpetrators.

If two men were capable of THAT, what’s next?

Paris Collage Collective prompt. I now see the girl running in negative space with leaf as hair. Do you?

Maybe the sense of haunting had something to do with the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. K and I watched a Frontline episode — America After 9/11. Oh my god the lying politicians. The lazy press. It underscored a pithy tweet I read which said that we would have been better off as a country if we had literally done nothing.

The personal impact of the tragedy is rendered beautifully in this memoir piece: Hero by Liz Ackert.

Four of the hijackers spent their last night on earth in a discount hotel less than a mile down the road.

The place has long since been torn down.

P. S. Just went back and found a post about dreams the week before 9/11. And a Tarot card pulled (The Tower). Interesting to look back. A little haunting.

A Miracle is a miracle is a miracle

When I say a miracle is a miracle is a miracle what I mean is that a strange and wonderful confluence of events need not be hugely consequential to count as a miracle.

Take the blue silk heart. It was sitting on the pad I was using as a coaster. I don’t remember when or why I cut it out or how it ended up there, but no matter. There it was. And doesn’t midnight blue just sing on goldenrod yellow?

The desk under it came from K’s family. It’s a beautiful honey toned maple, equipped with useful drawers, and serves as a handy surface next to where I sit and zoom and write.

“Maybe it came from Uncle Bill’s house. His wife was my mother’s favorite aunt. She died young.”

So did K’s mother, die young, but that is a little beside the point here except to say that probably this desk will not get passed down to our kids. Nevertheless, I don’t want to ruin it. Hence the coaster.

It was a regular zoom call, one that occurs a little more than once a month. Years back, we met in person but until the pandemic it never occurred to us to meet remotely. Thank you, Covid? Zoom easily connects Massachusetts, California, New Hampshire, and Maine. We have scattered (the comma after New Hampshire is an Oxford comma, BTW).

And you know, usually someone in the crowd is late or has trouble connecting, but this week the glitches were epic. Feel free to skip the next paragraph.

BZ came on first. Where is everybody, she wanted to know. But only her audio connected. Struggle struggle, then Husband to the rescue, only he couldn’t get her video to work either, so another device was employed. New invite. New admit. But success! Meanwhile no one else has yet joined. The day before T from New Hampshire had alerted us to a wicked case of poison ivy — her face so puffy, she may not use her video. Okay but? Ah, a text: she will be 25 minutes late. SG joins. I text near neighbor CS totally forgetting that she was celebrating the New Year with her daughter. More time goes by before C from Arlington joins and sputters. I completely forgot! I mean totally. She swipes her hand over her head and goes SWOoSH. Still waiting for T from New Hampshire.

It got frustrating. I mean, we’re talking close to forty minutes at this point. As host, I can’t help but feeling a little responsible. Maybe a little extra on edge about it. T joins, black box, audio only.

And that’s when I picked up my water glass. That’s when I discovered, in looking down its shiny barrel, that the blue silk heart, a blue silk heart previously not much attended to, was stuck to the glass’s damp bottom. It was as if I looked at it through a telescope. A formerly casually placed blue heart now appeared as a carefully selected object for viewing, like the rings of Saturn or the moon’s Sea of Tranquility.

It was a miracle.

Look what had to conspire to produce the sighting: delayed connection, a sweating glass, the thin weight of silk, the physics of an arm moving, and light, retina, and my brain. It was as if the blue silk heart ganged up with the elements to say, Hey! Look at me!

With its silly appearance, the blue silk heart softened my own heart. As I said, a miracle.

* * *

As for deciding on the proper slip for the Chicken Patron Saint of Delayed Success, I realized the problem wasn’t white/black, loose/stiff, but height. She needs to be TaLLEr!

I’m imagining wire chicken legs adhered to a base.

Mystery Road

A dog walk is a great opportunity to attend to mystery. There is the mystery of nature, of course. Everywhere. The varieties of fungi, the open fresh faces of morning glories, the jewel-like dew hanging off a hosta stalk.

And then there are the other sorts of mystery. For instance, why an apartment building housing between 12 and 18 units never exhibits any signs of life. Never. I walk past it multiple times a week. Study the windows. Examine the balconies. It is sooo dead. There used to be a marmalade cat on the second floor who’d come out to the edge of the balcony and glare down at Finn. But she’s gone.

Then there’s the mystery of nostalgia. How, even after living in this part of Massachusetts for four times longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, the sight of the silver-toned wire clips on the electrical wires still has the power to remind me of childhood.

Driving from Pittsfield or Schenectady as a family, headed to our beloved rental in Rockport on the North Shore, we always knew we were close when we saw these clips. To our young, excited minds, they were seahorses! (there must be other clips more seahorse-like? Kinda spoils my point here).

Always the wonder of spiders, right?

The wonder of some people’s talent with plants.

But also the wonder of preoccupation. How reading a post about Grace’s encounter with a lizard yesterday informed how I saw a dead leaf today. Against all reason, for a flash, my brain told me that the brown form was a lizard. That counts as a mystery.

Always the wonder of money. How much of the world it drives. And, how do other people make such big piles of it? Here are two such simple examples from this morning’s walk.

This project, above, started with tearing down a respectable, well-constructed two family house. So much effort! So many supplies! I’m guessing the new town homes will go on the market for well north of 1.4 million. (That’s how ONE person makes a pile of money).

And then there’s this new grassy sward on Cypress Street formerly occupied by a house. It appears the neighbor and owner of the RV, bought the lot to create space. In other words, that new driveway cost over $600,000. Woosh!

Lastly, there is the wonder of conditioning. I still don’t consider myself a dog person (written about here), but Finn and I have learned a lot together. When I get to about the car, I drop the leash and say, “Go home!” He dashes to the door and turns expectantly for a treat.

I started this practice after he ran away from a dog walker one time. Finn made his way home over a span of about a half mile. I guess, he already knew how to go home, but I wanted to underscore the command.

Before this area turned into Rabbitville, I’d drop the leash back at the corner of the lot, but those little furry hoppers are too tempting. It’s too risky.

Tomorrow: white versus black slips for the Patron Chicken Saint of Delayed Success and a blue silk heart.

Back to basics

Getting back to basics includes expressing gratitude, so let’s start there. I’m grateful for my new juicer, for walks with the dog, especially when K comes along. I’m grateful for hands that still work well enough to be able to make myself a new dog-walk-bag (i.e. one actually commodious enough for treats, poop bags, phone, and masks).

I’m grateful I know what an Oxford comma is, that bleach works on dirty toilets, that I now have chargers in four critical spots in the house.

Also for the gratitude file: the tiny health thing that had me worried even though I pretty thoroughly tamped the worry down, turned out to be 100% nothing. Whew! I was flying high yesterday.

I’m grateful for friends that care about me enough to say: take a news break, Dee, even if I have yet to really manage that.

Besides noting gratitude, historically another basic blog task has been to record progress on projects.

My studio is cleaner and neater than it’s been in forever! How nice is that? Still awful but progress is progress. Also, I’ve been sewing a fair amount without comment here.

For instance, this doll came off The Shelf of Unfinished Creatures last week. I’m calling her the Patron Chicken-Saint of Delayed Success. Maybe just Chicken of Trust would do?

As I wrapped her pipe cleaner arms in fabric, began her wings, and gave her an elegant black lace slip, I toyed with the idea of trusting the timing of things (see note about waiting, above). What if things really do happen when they’re supposed to?

Can you spot the Oxford comma in the paragraph above? I know Liz and Deb will, in any case. Speaking of Deb, the wings will be made of Georgian Magic and I’m pretty sure the polka dot fabric for the arms came from Tina. More gratitude.

Lastly, isn’t it nice to have neighbors with a sense of humor?