Wednesday, October 29, 2008

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

When I first began writing these posts, I wrote much more frequently than I have done recently. Why I have not written recently, that is a bit of a mystery. Surely, each day still contains 24 hours. Surely, my life has not taken on any additional excitement that would keep me from writing.

Perhaps it is just a question of the seasons. The four seasons of the calendar year, and the seasons, or seasoning, that enter each of our lives. Sometimes we rush to do a particular task, or to great a new friend, or to explore a fresh interest. Time will pass as we learn what these aspects contribute to our entrenched sense of our very own self. And with that time, we slowly embrace these additions to our knowlege of who we are, who we might yet turn out to be.
Many of us might remember when the summer vacation (holiday) from school seemed endless. Some of us may remember other parts of our younger years in which time seemed to pass at a different speed. How was it that I once made all my own clothes, had numerous boyfriends (with all the demands and delights that time provided,) read book after book, painted so many canvasses, learned how to make silkscreen prints, etchings, drypoints. I did all this while holding down very demanding jobs, and seeing films and plays, traveling abroad, having dinner with friends, preparing dinners for lots of friends. Baked two loaves of bread every weekend. Grew flowers and vegetables. And so on.

Do we all slow down eventually, and have to learn how to re-prioritize? I can clearly remember a time when prioritizing did not figure in my thoughts.

Well, for about a week now, I have been luxuriating in the art of relaxation. In light of the current financial turmoil, I had decided not to travel during the holiday time I had long ago gained permission to spend away from the usual demands of the shop. My city is great fun to enjoy, and even better to just explore, without too many plans.

What have I been doing.

I have commenced the delightful annual task of painting each of my Christmas cards. For decades, I have used the motif of a tea cup, and just let the decorative style take over, with lots of red and green and gold.

I have been working on more fair isle knitted squares for my long time coverlet project. The coverlet grows larger, and its expanse is welcome as the New York nights grow colder.

I have been enjoying the beauty of Central Park as the trees turn yellow, gold, red. The lawns remain a brilliant emerald. The Shakespeare Garden area has lots of summer plants that have gone to seed or to pod, and the after-hours designs of these plants produce lovely botanical sculptures.

It has been grand to see my dear friends whom I seem to usually have difficulty seeing. We lunch at various spots around town, and talk, talk and talk some more. These friends are such treasures ... we have known each for decades, and at this point really have no secrets from each others. We just share our evolution with each other, sometimes indulging in deep nostalgia for times we have mutually loved much more than the current time. We can also help each other to respond to the challenges posed by the future. Truly, many of us are quite frightened by the financial mess, but we cheer each other up.

Currently at the Metropolitan Museum a show is on view by one of my absolute favorite artists, Giorgio Morandi. I have been to see this exhibit several times, and will return for more visits. On each visit, I have been struck by the many folks also in attendance. Many of these folks are Italians. My city is indeed an international city, and it is wonderful to feel that energy.

Today, I went with an old friend to the Morgan Library to see a very elegantly presented exhibit of the preparatory drawings and watercolors that led to the magnificent Babar stories. Again, I was struck by the international element of New York. As we toured the exhibit, we were joined by several small school group tours. One of the groups was conducted in French. It was so charming to be reading the handwritten French text that went along with the paintings, and to hear the very young French voices in the background eagerly exploring the adventures of a very young elephant who was to become king.

You may wish to turn your head to see the young elephant as the photo was intended. This not very young photographer is too dumb to figure out how to turn the picture around. Please forgive me. I am on holiday and trying to avoid any sense of responsibility.

Do you see how time can be spent so enjoyably when one is released from the demands usually made on a daily basis?

I have not looked at any e-mails related to the shop. I have let any phone calls just go to the answering machine. I have tossed my mantle of responsibility over the wall.

I have seen many beautiful autumn displays on the front steps of brownstone houses in my neighborhood. The folks who arranged these did it for their pleasure, but also for the pleasure of the passersby. In a big city like this, it is an extraordinary gift and show much trust in the good will of the passersby.

Still, amid all this relaxation, I do continue to keep an eye on the final tremors of our political season. Not many days to go now.

This post has meandered a bit, and I am glad that it has felt free to go along those varied paths. If all has gone according to plan, I will have left you all a few pictures along the way.

Pleasant dreams.