THE LONG STORY SHORT:
Holiday studio biz, power deprivation & travel have kept me busy the last couple months. Excessive & successive weather extremes both earlier & lately, astride one bugger of a severe cold I caught in New York… have recently kept me lower & closer to home. I’m loving the recent shift toward more light & the resulting new growth pushing up promise toward better times!
A mid-December windstorm blew over thousands of trees which knocked out power for millions of people all over our region. We lost ours quite early that first evening when a neighbor’s tree fell, taking out our immediately local lines’ connection several hours before the main storm which at one point a fried transformer completely “unplugged” Vashon Island’s “extension cord” from the mainland.
We watched that night from our early dark while the city across the water projected an erie show of unseasonable fireworks: transformers arced, often in reciprocal pairs, illuminating distance inside our more local wind roar… far lights flicker… not always to return… gradually whole sections of the usually lighted horizon went as dark as we were.
An Island techie created a different sort of moving picture of the patterns as our power came back on:
One can locate Soundcliff at the upper [“north east” quadrant] of the two points between the northern tip, where the dock to West Seattle is & the big “knee” [ “southeastern” position…] Seattle is outside the northeast corner.
We got power eight days later… two hours before we left for the airport. Meantime we took many lessons about resilience & dependence & creativity:
Fortunately I had done most of my biz during the Open Studio weekends just before… I was ready for a break.
Thus the first few days of candlelight seemed romantic… but, before long there evolved rather a full time job just to keep warm & to manage around the lack of usual systems.
We ate well, if a bit inconveniently, from the food store hung out in the cold up on the upper deck. The new gas range was a boon & a blessing, even if it did not arrive in time for Thanksgiving. We could heat water & I recalled conversations with an Indian friend about bathing with some fraction of a bucket of water. On day four we finally needed to dance with the freezer… Melting berries Stephen had picked for making ebelskivers got made instead into quick jam. Pizza dough, beginning to rise, was given away to an unexpected client… except for the one we baked on the gas grill, which experiment worked rather well!
We evolved toward appreciation for the ambient soundtrack inside our quiet… although at times that contained generators & chain-saws. I could only ignore the studio projects & bookkeeping I’d planned to finish out my season… all down here in the Hold is electric. No email for me… but Stephen was spending a good deal of better time at the wi-fi coffee shop in town managing to stay mostly productive. I got to play at the basics of survival in that mode.
Dancing frustration with the indeterminate, the waiting continued eroding me… We knew, however, that we would have some prior intelligence announced by the noise accompanying utility trucks & crews… it was they we came to anticipate!
We had packed for our holiday travel in the dark, taken one last spitz bath & thus we could almost celebrate, when the power came back on, just two hours before we left…
The snowmen were all collapsing in Minnesota’s half-hearted attempt toward a White Christmas. We celebrated fulsomely none the less.
By the time we were in Mystic, Connecticut for the wedding we could easily forego daytime topcoats. We enjoyed the corners of this quaint hometown of the bride mostly in sunshine. The archetypal tall white portico columns of the church perched at the top of Main Street, above Mystic Pizza & N.L.Shaw & Company, where the bells have held court for ten years. I was happy to be able to visit the shop for the first time & to meet Nancy & her staff.
The wedding did little to encourage us much to change our generally queer opinions of that institution, but it was in most other ways a good party. It was for that we were here. We’d met Ryan & Caitlin in India. This groom is that groom’s brother. We looked to enjoy a reunion of the group who had played together in Bangalore two years ago around Derek & Angina’s ceremony. East meeting West again… sans saree… sigh.
Read here The Indian Wedding Travelogue I wrote then, if you like:
Multiply extended generations meeting to witness children marry…
While we may often be told we cannot, we are not so disappointed… we mostly wonder what all the ceremonial fuss is really about. Still, we have been to several doosies of weddings this year. ‘Celebrating friends… ‘meeting wild varieties of family all over the place. Katy Jo & Steve joined after twenty years together. Charlie & Eric made lively new ceremony rooted in their home with a family diaspora to easily match the Indian version.
The most particular to me was the wedding of Chistina to O’Hara, who I carried on a hike, in a snuggly, to the top of Sedona’s Vortex Hill almost thirty years ago, she is daughter of DU days friend Mary Tudor. While I did not attend in person I was there in bellsong…
Tribes marrying tribes… there has always been this weaving basketry of human interaction, this vital communication over & under — splicing between our potential political barriers — basketry cementing to hold many useful stuffs.
Stephen & I had four full days together in New York City for celebrating our New Year… we visited the new MOMA before getting tickets to a new Broadway musical, Spring Awakening, poignant for the message that century by century the human story vibrates radically with too little growth in perception toward preparation at essential depth.
Walking through upper Times Square after our matinee we saw the beginning hoards checking into police barricades corralling the crowds later seen on TV. We invite instead quite civilized impromptu drinks with Stephen’s long time friend Gilbert Parker, who has long lived on the Upper East Side. Then we continued collecting ambles through the city, looking at the windows along Fifth Avenue & later finding a good Thai dinner before checking in on the opening of a coffee house in the Village, before getting back to Brooklyn just in time to toast the actual moment with our hosts at their neighbor friends.
Next day John & Howie had planned a party… impressive both for a buffet of food & something similar of New Yorkers. The afternoon’s conversations were gifts in further travel: quickly taking me deep into parts of the city’s culture I would never otherwise see. Later we trundle our well wheeled bags onto the subway & out at the West Village, going with our next host. He & Stephen have known each other since they were kids. After going see the film The History Boys, Covolo is ready to stay in. He gives us keys. Stephen & I are hungry for the streets…
We feast walking together… ranging history & haunts with his stories. We found a good dinner as well at a place in the Meatpacking district, which he’d known when he lived part time in the City years ago. We finally can continue finding the easily traveling us.
Six of us met the next day for the matinee of Magic Flute at the Metropolitan Opera. It is a stunning production, shortened & translated into rather lively vernacular English, it is an experiment designed toward exploring broader outreach via video media. The translucent geometric sets worked well as the struts could strike lightning around balletic tumbling then dissolve into scenes supporting plot density.The singers were wonderful, while also dancing & sometimes nearly tumbling. I delighted in the passages of kite-like puppetry. The style morphed eclectic mixtures of Chinese with Incan.
Fiorello’s fed us afterward in fine style. Our round table chat in the middle of such delicious chaos was its own classic tale. The three of us then kicked it on up by having very expensive drinks at the Gramercy Park Hotel, exotically refurbished… these are the treats of adventure such trips to the city are all about…
Later, we had an invitation to visit another friend from my DU days: Taylor Eskew has lived in & around the city since shortly after college & we have kept touch variously over the years, with the predictable lapses, one of which this visit would end nicely over a glass of the wine she & her partner, Jack, are stocking for their wedding later this year.
Weddings… again, ever & again…
Our last afternoon I got finally to meet another old friend of Stephen’s, about whom stories abound, when he joined us to visit the Rubin Museum. I loved learning directly from Mo Hanan that I like him too. We had a fine time exploring this new gem of intimate space which seems to hug it’s young collection of Himalayan Art. I especially loved that they provided nice big magnifying lenses to enable the likes of me really to get into the details of ink or paint or stitchery & carvings in wood or stone or metal. Time in museums is a particular kind of social sharing…
We arrived back to home at a Soundcliff still discombobulated by 8 days in survival mode… While Whit had taken good care, the house he sat for us had been dumped on him immediately after our days without electricity… it was not tidy & organized, nor could he be expected to be able put it to rights. We gradually tackled the piles & curious collections of clutter. I went back to work doing inventory. He soon left for a Journalism That Matters conference in Memphis & I began a wax study for a Sea-horse Bell the evening the snow began…
Glittering difficulties settle like this so rarely. Usually I can brag about collecting some salad even in this season from these beds…