Category Archives: Art

Emus As Symbols

Todays post comes from NorthShorer.

Like everyone, I suppose, I made assumptions about what I would be like in retirement. I imagined a man straight of back, steady of hand, with a piercing chilling blue-eyed gaze. Well, make that a deep mysterious brown-eyed distant look above a rich white beard to tell of the lessons I had learned of wind and wave, time and tide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead I ended up being a doubled-over rumpled dumpling who cannot look at much but the ground, lost in pain, not deep thoughts.

You know what they say about people who assume. You end up being as daft as emus, a person who amuses others with fake truths. I like the word assumption, with its sump right in the middle, where one ends up from assuming.

But, of course, it is false thinking that making assumptions is bad. Life is based on assumptions. For example, we assume much about people we encounter on the road, that they will be polite and careful. It is only the few times our assumptions are false that we notice, and then over-generalize about it. It is also wise to assume idiots are on the road and keep a weather eye for them.

Love is a large assumption. If we do not assume trust and fidelity, then we cannot really love. Or in agape love, I assume I can only give and assume from their it is not my concern. Feed a starving dog and it may bite you, they say. But love says you assume perhaps it will. You guard your fingers and keep feeding. Who knows what the starving dog has survived.

So go ahead. Be an emu. Stick your long neck out.

But I assume I could be wrong.

What bird is your totem?

Say It Ain’t “Snow”

I moved to Minnesota in 1974 and at the end of my first Minnesota winter, it snowed 11″ on April  8.  At Carlton we celebrated by having a snow sculpture contest on The Bald Spot.  So I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked that it’s snowing right now.  But really?

What trend are you just finished with?

 

Sew Buttons on Your Underwear

Forty years ago I gave myself a quest: to photograph MY North Shore, the stretch from Flood Bay to Silver Cliff, or as locals called it then, Silver Creek Cliff. Because I had use of a darkroom, it was at first all done in black and white, or perhaps with some sepia toning, or duotone effect, or Sabattier effect. Flood Bay back then was not the mass of concrete and curbs and cables it is now. It was then as it is now one of the very few official state wayside rests. Despite that, back then it was just a gravel patch with some posts to keep people from driving into the lake, which every so often people still managed to do. Locals routinely hauled away lake stone and gravel for their use, which left no dent on the amount on the shore. Also, then there was no monstrous resort along the shore. And Silver Cliff was a road, not a tunnel. The pictures I framed in simple shadow boxes without glass. I hung them on our knotty pine living room wall. (More about that later.)

The winnowing process of history to our benefit has eliminated most of the pictures. A few exist in my computer, taken from the negatives. My goal was to push pictures to expressionism. Often with high or low contrast.

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One picture that I took in the remnants of a lumber mill a quarter mile from Betty’s Pies was our Christmas card picture.

Sometimes good fortune favored me, when it disfavored elsewhere with a massive storm.

A few I have drawn in graphite or pastel, often doing some adjustment of reality.

One sad picture remains, even though I did not frame it. How did history not winnow this poor picture out? It must be a sign, must it not. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

When this picture first appeared in the developing fluid, my first thought was it not worth making anything of it. My second thought was that here indeed was a sign. It must be from God giving me my life’s quest. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.) It could not be just random change. I was, in fact, until recently quite good with needle and thread, which my mother taught me at an early age, despite long sideways glances from my father.

I am sad to report that I never did discover how to fulfill the quest. Sigh. And now my chance is lost. Sigh. But I did fulfill one smaller quest and quite by accident. An undisciplined boy a year older than my son lived down the road from us. He was often in our house as small boy but not later. His teens were much troubled, as were his twenties. Now he is a brilliant photographer. I mean that. Does amazing work in the camera and in his computer. Travels the worlds. Makes a good living. Has a happy life. Most of his work is of the North Shore. He is friends with both of my children on facebook, where he told them that his inspiration came from looking at those photographs on our wall. To think such beauty came from such a shriveled seed!

Did you find a life’s quest? How has it gone?

Colorful Sunday

Last Sunday I had lunch with a friend – tried the new St. Paul Bagelry that has opened up near my house. I had a Reuben bagel sandwich (vegetarian version) – something I’d never even heard of before.  It was messy but yummy.

Laura and I weren’t quite ready to go back to our chores and regular life so at the spur of the moment we headed over to the Como Zoo and the Conservatory. We weren’t the only ones – it was a busy day at Como.  The spring show at the sunken garden is all purple and yellow – one of my favorite combinations and we also wandered through the hothouses looking for orchids and then inspected all the bonsai. It was a good way to spend a dreary afternoon.

Since I had to figure out how to make a slideshow out of a gallery this week to showcase Edith’s wonderful photos, I thought I’d try it again with some of my Conservatory pictures (not in Edith’s league but at least colorful).

When have you learned a new trick?

Hello, Spider

As I was waking up this morning and staring at the ceiling, I saw a brown spot start to move. I watched the spider crawl along, defying gravity with what I assumed were its eight “sticky paws”. Suddenly it wasn’t there, and I thought, “Uh-oh, now it’s on the floor and I have to kill it.” But I didn’t see it on the floor. I looked up and there it appeared on the ceiling again. I finally realized it was dropping down, either by accident or design, on a spinner thread, then crawling back up. It’s apparently building a web. Watched this until s/he went behind a blade of the ceiling fan, then I lost him/her. Now see it some days, not others.

You can tell it’s been a long winter when I’m so hungry for watching wildlife that a spider is a big deal. (I am, happily, not especially unnerved by them.) I started wondering:  how the heck do they stay up there, anyway? Went to the web, and found a site for kids under 10 years, called Ask a Grown-up:

“If you could take a really close look at a spider, then you would see that their feet are covered in tiny little triangular hairs. They look a little bit like paddles on the ends of stalks, and they give the spider a much bigger surface area. When the feet make contact with a wall or ceiling, they create a force – a temporary attraction between the bottom of the spider’s foot and whatever surface it’s on (the grown-up name for it is van der Waals forces).”

I see while searching that I’m not the only one curious about this. Here are other questions being looked up:

Can spiders die and still hang on the ceiling?

How do spiders walk on walls/ceilings without falling off?

Why would a spider spend days in the same place on the ceiling?

How do I get the spider off my ceiling?

How do you feel about sharing your home with critters?

What wild life are you looking forward to seeing as we edge (ever so slowly) toward spring?

My Favorite Maverick

, I don’t usually watch the Oscars, but decided to tune in Sunday night about 8:00. It’s fun to see all the gorgeous gowns (or non-gowns) and the antics of the host, et al. – like Jodie Foster blaming her crutches on Meryl Streep (they were reportedly due to a skiing accident). And this year I was curious to see what would transpire as a result of the “Time’s Up” movement.

But for me Frances McDormand, who won Best Actor for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, stole the show. She played the glamour game to a point, wearing a long dress and little if any make-up or jewelry. And Sunday night she was all business: “So I’m hyperventilating a little bit. So if I fall over, pick me up ‘cause I’ve got some things to say…”

After setting down Oscar on the floor beside her, she continued:  “And now I want to get some perspective. If I may be so honored, to have all the female nominees nominated in every category stand with me in this room tonight. Meryl, if you do, everyone else will… Ok, look around… ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell, and projects we need financed. Don’t talk to us about it tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best, and we’ll tell you all about them.”

From Variety.com: “She finished her speech by calling for contractually mandated inclusion across films: ‘I have two words to leave with you tonight: inclusion rider.’ Specifically, an inclusion rider is a clause in the contract of the top line talent on a film that requires a diverse crew to be hired around them.”  The article  continues with McDormand’s comments about how “trending” differs from what is really happening in Hollywood.

Frances McDormand has become my role model, and I plan to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, plus any of her other films I haven’t yet seen. She is my new favorite maverick. (Try and forget the Sarah Palin image that just entered your mind. I was going to call F.M. my favorite “renegade”, till I checked my definitions.)

Who is your favorite maverick, renegade, or iconoclast?