Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge of the week is to find photos representing 4 letter words that start with D. It only took me a few minutes to find door, desk and dock. After a moment I realized that the docks are on Lake Chelan, Washington state which is noteworthy for being deep–and here I quote Wikipedia: “With a maximum depth of 1,486 feet (453 m), Lake Chelan is the third deepest lake in the United States, and the 28th deepest in the world. At its deepest, the lake bottom is 388 feet (118 m) below sea level. ” Chelan is in eastern Washington with one foot in desert hills full of vineyards and fruit orchards and the other at the base of the North Cascades near the northern end of the Pacific Crest Trail.
There is a wonderful desk to be seen in the Musee Gustave Moreau in Paris. Paris has a collection of smaller museums housed in artist’s former homes or studios which have the advantage of being more intimate and less overwhelming and crowded than the large museums such as the Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre. While there may not be the same concentration of great works, these small museums concentrate the work of one artist and are well worth a visit. The Moreau museum is delightful for its Symbolist paintings and for its cluttered walls and rooms. Late in my visit I realized that there were banks of smaller paintings and sketches on the walls and mid-room for browsing.
Of course, being in Paris, I took a lot of pictures that day including a few of doors. I wish I could build a door like these into my house in Chicago.
Francois Mignet, a historian of the French Revolution, lived in this house. He is mentioned in the book, Memorable Paris Houses, printed in 1893, which is available for free at this link. I need to check out this book a bit more when I have time. I do so love the internet!
I am posting from my phone so this will be a bit chaotic. I am on the road, driving my son from Seattle to his new home in San Diego. Road trip!!! Here are a few highlights from the trip with detours.
Canada geese heading south.
Columbia River–as the song goes:
Roll on Columbia, roll on,
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn….
Apple logo on Chelan Falls, Washington
For Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge.
Well, this photo challenge appeals to my inner geek. But which photos to select? Ah, yes, Iowa City which happens to be a Unesco City of Literature. I love how this small city has made a home for great writing and writers. Not Rome, Paris, New York but Iowa City. Good for them. Among the highlights are the metal plates inset into the road with wonderful quotes. I am embarrassed to admit I do not know these authors. The artist who created the plaques is Gregg LeFevre. Apparently there are 49, although I didn’t photograph all of them. The days when I was there were very bright and hot so the images are not the best.
I was editing some old photos and found some images from Puglia, Italy which incorporated poems, translated into Italian and painted on crates on a wall. The site couldn’t have been more beautiful–an ancient abbey on the coast near Polignano a Mare. Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Leonard Cohen hanging out together.
This recalled to me another poem, on another wall–this one in Paris–Arthur Rimbaud’s Drunken Boat (Le Bateau Ivre) “longs for Europe of ancient parapets.”
It feels like poetry week, somehow. I am currently on the road again, visiting family in Seattle after seeing last week’s eclipse in Oregon and spending a few days in Chelan, Washington. While taking a walk in the neighborhood, I was gifted with a poem from a miniature house–like a Little Free Library, but for poetry. I almost expected a tiny vial saying “Drink me.” Thanks to a stranger for a bit of Wendell Berry.
I finish with part of the Whitman poem, “Song of the Open Road.”
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Happy travels, by road or trail, through woods or city.
Do you have a bucket list? The term didn’t seem to be in use when I was a young woman, although I certainly had unfulfilled dreams back at the time. Now those dreams reside on a bucket list and it is has recently been influenced by the experience of aging. It has an aura of use-it-or-lose-it or now-or-never about it. After all, I just turned 56. Life seems too short to spend it at work and I feel my body and brain getting older almost by the day. The clock is ticking and this post is feeling cliche-driven. To use another cliche, c’est la vie!
Today my back is hurting, just a muscle pull, nothing permanent or serious but it adds to the irony that I have been searching out mountain peaks to summit on the internet. I may have summited some smallish mountain during a hike when I was a child but if so the details are lost to memory. I have a vague recollection of a climb when I was very young and on a day that I contracted a mild case of whooping cough. The fever may have contributed to the memory fail.
My long term dream has been to summit Mt. Rainier in Washington state, all 14,000 plus feet of it. It is no Everest and not a technical climb but still…. I’m not even sure I can handle the altitude, much less the steep climb, glacier and other physical challenges. I may compromise and try out a lesser mountain. I even created a “Bucket List” on Pinterest with candidates. “Pinned” mountains include Baker, Adams and St. Helens of varying degrees of difficulty. I am far less likely to fail at them and less likely to die too.
Not all my bucket list items are mountains, although some require long hikes– Pacific Crest Trail and similar. Here too I may need to compromise with section hikes or tamer trails. Trekking in the Himalayas is another dream expedition.
This year I checked off one dream location–I made it to Pompei. What a place! I didn’t spend enough time there as it was a stop off on a hurried road trip but it was amazing and unexpected in so many ways. That was the same trip to Italy that checked off at least part of another box–living abroad for the first time since studying in Paris in 1980. I was “only” in Italy a month on a self-declared sabbatical but it scratched the itch.
Long posts get boring so I may continue detailing my list at a later date. Feel free to comment on your bucket lists.
“Wash the white clothes on Monday”–“Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, The New Yorker, 1978.
In order to write long, I probably need to know how to write short. My novel–yes, I wrote a novel–is currently a bit stalled and I am considering trying to write and submit some essays or short fiction. I found recent inspiration, in the vein of what makes writing great, in a list of most anthologized short stories on LitHub. Most of the stories are available on-line at no cost, so why not read them and analyze for myself what makes them so appreciated? I’m sure I can learn a thing or two. So here, for what it is worth, is the first story I read, “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, which was included in 8 anthologies.
“Girl” is short, around 682 words and reads like a list, to my ear more of a prose poem than a story. There is more atmosphere than plot and it provides an entrée into the world of a young girl from the West Indies. It is a series of instructions, apparently from a woman to her daughter; a mother who alternates between wisdom and verbal abuse. As I review the story it begins to deepen but I still fail to connect to it. The beauty in “Girl” is in the eye of the beholder. In my oh-so-humble opinion, this wouldn’t make my greatest hit list.
Today I participated in my 5th protest of the year. I am not setting any records but at least I feel as though I am making a statement. The statement may only have meaning to myself as I look for meaning as I age. It is also a way to express my outrage.
I am not trying to change anyone’s mind–these days it seems unlikely that the fine art of persuasion is working on very many people. I am, however, standing up and being counted. Today’s event was a healthcare rally. It was a small turn out but that meant I could actually hear the speakers who represented healthcare on many fronts–people of color, mental health advocates, NARAL, Arab-Americans, women–all representing groups who would be harmed by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
I didn’t bring a sign but I did bring my camera. In a way, my contribution is to stand up and blog, tweet, Facebook and Instagram. The ACA has been good to a few of my patients, not as good as it could be, largely due to insurance company game-playing when they did not see enough profit in being part of the marketplaces. As time passes, in spite of my doubts about the ability of government to manage a national health care system, I find myself leaning toward universal health care like in Canada and Europe over the fragmented and crazed system we are now dealing with. I have stopped believing, if I ever did, that health care should be a for-profit enterprise.
Today, at the rally a woman walked up to me and asked what the event was about. I told her health care and she asked pro or anti-Trump. I answered anti and she shouted “Go Trump.” I think I may have told her to go to hell. Not the most civil response, but heartfelt.