I still miss summers in the Midwest — going to the State Fair, swimming, hearing stories of my mother’s childhood, playing endless games of basketball or hiking in the woods with cousins. I loved watching my Grandmother cook (trying to take notes on her special chocolate cake recipe so Mom would know), and then eating fresh corn on the cob, beefsteak tomatoes on black angus burgers, and 3-bean salad while sitting in the sun room.
But, summertime memories from my childhood also include huddling, hours at a time, in grandmother’s canning room or the bathroom in the basement, waiting for the wind from a tornado to pass by like an out of control train. My parents would try to get reception on the transistor radio to see when to dash to move Uncle further downstairs in his wheelchair. Once the all clear came, we’d breathe again. Then we’d wait a while before walking upstairs and outdoors to see if there was damage to the house, the trees, the neighbors’ roofs. As children, we’d tell each other how to know if the eye had passed over us if you were outdoors and didn’t notice you were in the middle of a giant funnel. I don’t miss that moment when you suddenly can’t think because you think the storm is about to hit, but you’re not allowed to look and see. I’m just grateful there’s more warning time now.
My heart is in my throat as I think about the people of Oklahoma, as they deal with their shock and grief.
At first glance, this is the story of one life, lived from post-Civil War Missouri, into marriage, and then through the Great Fire in California, and on to the 1940s. And yet, it is not about the internal life of just one woman, but also the intersections with the private lives of others (sometimes exposed by letters found or received).
Beautifully constructed, haunting, and yet, not the sort of book I put down then suddenly pick up again to read the good bits again. Instead, I sat and thought, about how many choices the main character, Margaret makes, how many simple decisions moved her further from her beginnings. And, using a Faulknerian doubling of imagery or re-remembered internal history of the main character, made the whole story more meaningful in retrospect. Afterwards, I couldn’t help wondering what things she could have done had she dared to think about things earlier in her life.
My edition of Private Life was printed in 2010 by Knopf, and I will admit that the font may be a favorite (Simoncini Garamond). It had no visual cliffs to block the reader from eagerly jumping to the next event in Margaret’s life.
I used to study in a room at University underneath this painting.
And I would wonder — why was one woman given blue robes and a burning fire to tend, while everyone else was *ahem* unencumbered except by wisps of fabric? Is it some weird Victorian depiction of Hestia and Aphrodite? I hardly think this is a Biblical scene, in this case. But I could be wrong.
The weeping cherries look like they have frills of pink down their long weeping branches, the red bud is blooming on the tree, and the early rhododendrons are starting to unfurl. Other than students out walking, I also saw a killdeer running by the side of the ring road. All quite idyllic, with lovely hints of springtime in the air. Hopefully if you live in the northern hemisphere, spring is well on its way for you. Every time I hear the words “Minnesota” and “snow” in the same sentence, I just cringe.
NPR has a lovely article online about the link between cats and poetry. It’s called a “Cartoon Tribute to Cats, and the Poets Who Loved Them”. The article begins at Christopher Smart and his cat, Jeoffrey, and ends with Margaret Atwood and her poem
“Oh pillow hog,/With your breath of raw liver,/Where are you now?”
Lots of fun. Thanks to The Gardener for a lovely read!
This year, I’ve been doing some charity knitting. It’s an opportunity to give back, but also a chance to try new patterns. The socks from the Made with Love Accessories pattern by Emma Crew were a fast, fun project. I found the pattern on Ravelry, and it was quick and a lot of fun. So, I guess this year I’m wearing my heart on my knitting.
Published April 14, 2013
Tags: charity knitting, DIY, knit, knits, knitting, neck, scarf, sock yarn, style, Zitron trekking (XXL)
I’ve been enjoying doing some pretty simple knitting, lately, maybe because real life (translation: taxes, work, commuting) feels so frantic. When I needed to jump start my enthusiasm for spring in February, I knit this pretty simple neck wrap. Just a simple v (with increases on each side from the 3 original cast on stitches, some rows with yarn overs), and then followed by a scalloped edging in crochet. Ravelry link here to the project.
I hadn’t expected it to photograph quite so well. The Zitron Trekking sock yarn has nice color repeats, and both this and the tiny sweeter I did earlier in the year ended up being lovely.
“She had been spending every minute that she could steal from her chores under that tree for the last three days. That was to say ever since the first tiny bloom had opened. It had called her to come and gaze on a mystery. From barren brown stems to glistening leaf buds; from the leaf buds to snowy virginity of bloom. It stirred her tremendously.” — Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Time to revisit a classic. My copy is from Harper Perennial in 1990. The cover artwork was done by the very gifted David Díaz.