Hey, we're back at Nutwood! As always, there's no place like home....
We drove down to the Dayton area last night, and spent this afternoon with Ken's kids (to protect their privacy, I'd rather not mention their names, but they're really great kids). Due to circumstances, it had been some time since we'd seen them, so it was great to talk and laugh with them again. We even made them laugh with our lame jokes! They were those eye-rolling kinds of laughs, but they still laughed. We were both so pleased to talk with both of them. We went to the Dayton Art Institute, which is small, but quite nice. They have a Monet, some Constables, a Warhol (he's one of my favorites), an Edward Hopper (another of my favorites) a de Kooning, a small Rothko, and many other fine objects. My stepdaughter's favorite part is the Asian room, and they really do have some beautiful objects and paintings. We all got a kick out of some of the modern art. The kids were puzzled as to how some of it is considered great art. I had no answer for them, because sometimes I wonder myself! I'm not one to find meaning in modern art. Some will look at it and see an indictment of our society, or man's inhumanity to man, or our isolation in the world. I'm more likely to look at it and say, "I don't know what it's supposed to mean, but I think the colors are nice." I just take it as something visual, and I either like the looks of it or I don't. That's why I like de Kooning--I see little to no meaning in it, but I like the visual impact. There was a dimensional work that was a large oval, with pictures of apples and other natural things, behind blobs of colored glass, alongside mirrored tiles, etc. It really had no meaning to me, but I thought it was striking, and I liked it very much. Some things can certainly make you feel a certain way. There was a painting of Pinocchio (I forget the artist), and it was sort of dark and disturbing...we all kind of shuddered when we looked at it. None of us cared for it, but it DID strike something visceral in all of us. Here's a de Kooning. I don't know why I like it, but I do.
So yeah, it was a fun afternoon! I'll start doing some research and finding other things in the Dayton area. Although the kids have been to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum before, we'll probably go there, but I do want to find some other things in the area. If any of you live around there, please pass along suggestions! Oh, and our friends from the cruise, Doug and Karen, also live in the area, so we're looking forward to arranging a visit with them. This was such a quick trip that we didn't have time to do that this weekend, but we liked them so much and enjoyed getting to know them, that we would love to get together in the coming months.
While we were in the hotel room last night, checking email, I got one from Indigo, the wonderful person who pens the beautifully-written Raven's Lament. If you're one of the few people here who haven't read her journal, you really should check it out. It can be painful to read sometimes, because she is quite adept at putting her pain into words. But through her journal, and her comments on both Ken's journal and mine, we've come to feel that she is a friend and a kindred spirit. She wanted to tell me that she was AOL's Magic Smoke (their journal about writing journals) Guest Editor this week. The guest editor is a fellow journaler who gives their picks for journals they like to read...and this little ol' journal was one that Indigo picked. You can read her entire Magic Smoke entry here.
Well...I was just flabbergasted, as my Mom would say! Indigo is such a talented writer that I'm very flattered that she even reads this, much less enjoys it! I really felt touched and honored, and it completely made my day. Thanks, Indy! One of the things she wrote was that "boredom doesn't exist in Beth's world." When I wrote to her to thank her, I told her that she probably has no idea what a compliment I find that to be. I remember that when the kids were little (and even now, actually), Ken would not let them say, "I'm bored." I don't know if he came up with this, but he would say, "Only boring people are bored." That word was pretty much banned in our home, unless we were talking about boring a hole, or wood-boring wasps or bees (and those subjects don't come up often). As I wrote to Indy, I've just never understood how anyone can be bored, when there is just so much to learn and do and read and think...it's a vast world, with millennia worth of collected wisdom, and I don't believe I have it in me to be bored. Even when I'm sitting out on the deck, not physically doing a thing, I'm watching the birds, listening to the sounds around me, just enjoying the moment. That's not boring, that's LIFE, baby!
Night Windows, Edward Hopper
On our drive home tonight, after it got dark, I did one of my favorite things to do: I looked into the lighted windows of the houses we passed. Before you start calling me a Peeping Beth, remember that we're cruising by at 60-70 mph, so there's not a lot of time to see much of anything. Some time ago, I was talking to my Mom and mentioned that I do that. She said, "I do the same thing! And so did Bertha Jean!" (That was one of my Mom's sisters, Cousin Shane's Mom. It seems that it runs in the family.) No, I've never seen anything juicy...it's merely a very brief glimpse of other people's lives. A lighted window, a wall hanging, a bit of curtain, a shelf with bottles sitting on it, a light fixture suspended above a kitchen table, an easy chair, a flickering TV. It's rare that I see an actual person, and then it's usually just the back of a head, or people in profile sitting at a table. Sometimes it's just a shadow.
It makes me wonder about what their home and their life is like. Is it a cozy home? Is it a happy home? Is it a newer home, or one that is a hundred years old? Are these people just starting out, or are they retired? Are they struggling to make ends meet, or are they doing pretty well? When they're sitting at the table, are they having coffee and talking, or are they playing board games? Or are they arguing? Some people draw their blinds and you can't see anything. Do they have a dark secret, or do they just not like to look out into the dark? Others have windows with no blinds or concealing curtains--that's how our front window is. Does that say something about us? Since I grew up in this area, some of the homes we pass used to belong to people I went to school with. Do their families still live there? If so, are their parents still alive? What are their lives like now? These people whose homes I look into for a split second...are they happy?
No...I don't think I'll ever get bored.