Friday, April 30, 2010

these fragments i have shored against my ruin

"april is the cruellest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain."

as a farewell to april i offer t.s. eliot's famous words. i read "the wasteland" again last night and it took me back to last year around this time when i was studying obsessively for my master's exam and memorizing bits of poetry like those first lines until they are stuck forever in my heart.

and now i get to read poetry of my choosing and whenever i like with ultimate and overwhelming freedom, and to my heart's content.

it's fun because i find synchronicities and concurrences,
like when dylan thomas writes:

"and this last blessing most,

that the closer i move
to death, one man through his sundered hulks,
the louder the sun blooms,
and the tusked, ramshackling sea exults;
and every wave of the way
and gale i tackle, the whole world then,
with more triumphant faith
than ever was since the world was said,
spins its morning of praise."

and meanwhile i find this by edna st.vincent millay:

"heart, have no pity on this house of bone:
shake it with dancing, break it down with joy.
no man holds mortgage on it; it is your own;
to give, to sell at auction, to destroy.
when you are blind to moonlight on the bed,
when you are deaf to gravel on the pane,
shall quavering caution from the house instead
cluck forth at summer mischief in the lane?
all that delightful youth forbears to spend
molestful age inherits, and the ground
will have us; therefore, while we're young, my friend--
the latin's vulgar, but the advice is sound.
youth have no pity; leave no farthing here
for age to invest in compromise and fear."

so the point is....down with caution, forbearance and restraint!
give me youth, life, vibrance, exuberance, extravagance!
the louder the sun blooms!
shake it with dancing!

and then it delights me to suddenly remember this, from t.s. eliot:

"i grow old....i grow old....
i shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

shall i part my hair behind? do i dare to eat a peach?
i shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
i have heard ther mermaids singing, each to each."

the same story, the same embracing of absurdity; i think they all have the same point and the point is LIFE. and the more living, the more aging, the more liveliness, the more beauty. if i ever even begin to worry about aging these are fragments i can shore against my ruin.

and i also have to remember this, that ferlinghetti says the poet is "constantly risking absurdity," and then he makes a circus of words to tumble through the mind and upset everything and prove his point:

"for i am a still
of poetry.
i am a bank of song.
i am a playerpiano
in an abandoned casino
on a seaside esplanade
in a dense fog
still playing."

ahhhhh...poetry slays me through the soul, wringing my heart with the purest grip of life. risk, passion, rebellion. or as sylvia plath would say it makes me listen to the old brag of my heart, i am. i am. i am.

now i must go forward and write and join this confounding carnival of language, because "we have lingered in the chambers of the sea / by sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown / till human voices wake us, and we drown."

i will go drown myself in words.

okay, but lastly i will leave you with this today, this last day of april, on the cusp of everything wide-eyed and new that will be happening in may.

i am enamored by this song which i originally found here in this enchanting fairyland. did any of you ever see this series as a child? i regret to say i did not but it still gives me the loveliest nostalgic feeling...maybe because i really really want to live that country cottage life.

and read and write poetry all day.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

through the green forest softly without a sound

"through the green forest softly without a sound,
wrapped in a still mood
as in a cloak and a hood
i went, and cast no shadow in the shadow of the wood."
edna st.vincent millay

overnight everything turned rainy and cold and cozy. i spent the day in rainboots and calico, exploring and wondering and reading poetry like in a dream and could not remember where i was headed and felt like i was twisted in gypsy mist. i spent the thundering afternoon at a wood paneled pub in the pines with plates of sherpherds pie and pitchers of beer and pool tables. we were celebrating a baby's birth; we were celebrating leavetaking and springtime, new life and the refreshing of earth and the swelling of waters. i spent the night at a campground by the river and awoke early to hail on the tin roof, patches of sun and shadow, starlings and hummingbirds and wild geese calling their tiny babies to follow. i sat on the deserted terrace over the wide slow river taking branches, soil, birds, fish, bramble and berry for rides to secret swirling coves.

and i listened to forest songs and made another mix tape and thought about things that have happened that will never happen again and animals i've loved and strange and mysterious sights i have seen.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

faretheewell friend!

do you remember our dear family friend and i must say, young modern hero, nick savino who i have mentioned here and  here?

well he is leaving on the adventure of a lifetime: a four month trek up the entirety of the Pacific Crest Trail!
This week he takes the train down to the border of Mexico and then will hitchhike to the trailhead thus beginning his arduous journey north through the mountains, deserts, and wilderness. his plan is to make it all the way to the border of Canada sometime in August.

we are super excited for him although we'll miss him dreadfully cause he is a huge part of the fun around here.
so we had a farewell SURPRISE PARTY for him the other night and for once the party was actually a surprise. conveniently it was held at a campground where nick and his lovely and spunky girlfriend rachel have been staying in her airstream trailer. so as they pulled up after going out to dinner with his family, she claimed it must be the neighboring campers having a party in her field! he was all ready to defend her honor as she marched toward us, and then we all yelled SURPRISE!!! and he was truly surprised. it's funny how usually you just kind of assume the person sort of knows, at least that something is going on. but as he proceeded to drink whiskey nick told the story more than once, how he thought he'd have to "man up" as tiny rachel 86ed the campers out of her home turf!

okay, here are some pictures of the amazing airstream home set-up that rachel and nick have created down by the river:

outdoor kitchen table:
buckets of flowers:
outdoor shower!
a tiny life in the woods:
is so romantic and cozy:

anyway, em and i were in charge of set up since rachel was out to dinner with nick.

we strung lights up in the blackberry bushes and around the tree:
made signs:
and also decorated a cake, set out candles and big tin buckets of ice and beer, and set out bowls and trays of snacks people brought.

em and i, proud of our work and ready to party!
of course it was rebecca who had to school the guys on how to make a fire without an axe!
after the bonfire was made (thanks lady!) we were all set!

this is the best i could capture of nick being actually surprised:

stan set up a slack line in the dark and the boys had some fun, i like to think of them as magic men or circus performers...
joey had a bit too much whiskey:
while us girls goofed around like usual!

we hope to send our friend off with the spirit of love, friendship and fun strong in his heart so he hurries home to us all safe and sound! here's to summer adventures!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

little pleasures

little joys of april and life:

perfect daisies springing up everywhere

wearing a beloved old square dance dress just for the hell of it for a random trip to folsom with the hub and also trying rachel's hair suggestion (i like it! but it sadly didn't last long, i'm fidgety with hair decor)

and whistling along to alela diane all the way down the hill:
(anyone else find that they whistle nonstop, unconsciously and annoying and until it hurts the lips?!)

homemade banana splits!
(yeah, sent darin to the store with $25 of my tips to get it all. we went all out.
i even toasted  pecans and coconut, my favorite toppings.)

dandelions galore. and sunlight!

these cuties getting cozy: (she's our shy girl daphne and has recently taken to resting on darin's lap. he could not be more pleased.)

and this old old man lounging around in the sun:

looking at my globe to figure out exactly where my friend ryann is heading for her work program this summer, saint john island in the virgin isles!

a random night out for $2.50 PINTS OF PLINEY at brick oven pub. if you like good beer you know what a steal that is. and darts and the makings of a ridiculous documentary.

my favorite chair gifted from my momma, and a closet full of colorful clothes i love.

and loving this sexy little thrifted vintage camisole. yeah! gotta love those moments!

how about you all? favorite little springtime pleasures?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"I will keep close to my gun and dog"

I'm reading a book called Frontier Women: The Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-1880. And as naturally follows with me, getting a teensy bit obsessed with the topic and looking at everything i can find about pioneer women.

It is fascinating to imagine lovely well-dressed middle-class society women taking off across a wild and untamed land.

okay, not that this fine lady would have, presumably being a new york actress or model, but still the photo transports me to another time and age and set of societal norms and values.

I love reading about the pioneer ladies' concern for clothing and fashion: "The woman who started out in a traveling dress with clean collar and cuffs soon found she had to abandon it for clothes she had originally refused to wear."

I imagine a lady starting out like this perhaps:

and evenutally replacing her silks and linens with the more practical calico and linsey-woolsey, becoming this (which i sort of like better)

One woman wrote in her diary about fashion on the westward journey:
"As the days lengthened into weeks, our self-respect suffered in the matter of clothes," describing her skirt as "a wide piece of fringe hanging from belt to hem." Another woman wrote, "we were so worn out that we were not particular about how we were dressed but presented a mixture of fashions."  And I love the way Luzena Wilson (that name!) described this encounter with a man in a clean white shirt who "revived in me the languishing spark of womanly vanity," as she realized that her tattered skirts were "worn off in rags above my ankles," her face sunburnt, her hands "brown and hard;" she shrank away from his sight modestly.

The Languishing Spark of Womanly Vanity!
I love it!

 This next wonderful book i've had forever but am only now fully perusing as a visual accompaniment to the reading. (i'm lucky enough to have a mom that works at the library and often brings me home books that have been discarded or donated.)

i'm completely bewtiched by this photo:
and it becomes even more haunting as i read stories of the white settlers' intolerance of their native neighbors (even the women, despite their supposed christian charity!) maybe part of that suspicion and fear came from a distrust of the sort of pride and freedom with which this amazing native woman carries herself upon the back of her lovely little burro.

here's another beauty.


But I guess camping out left 19th-century white women feeling too vulnerable and frightened and exhausted to make friends:

These women went from having massive female support systems and being completely entrenched in the patriarchal system of domesticity in which a woman's "voice is gentle; her pronunciation is delicate; her passions are never suffered to be boistrous...she never foams with anger; she is seldom seen in any masculine amusement" to having moved out into vast territories of isolation and then almost single-handedly setting up homes and creating culture and society anew as their husbands hunted and farmed the new land.

I'll let these amazing photographs tell the stories:

I find an enduring patience and kindness and love emanates from the eyes of these women.
And playfulness! The woman shooting milk into her cat's mouth = most adorable thing ever.
I love the cats in the last photo too, lazing around on their lady's lap. It makes me wonder how and when the cats came west?! I surely don't think they made the overland journey by wagon train...

On a related note, I recently discoverd this site called "Old picture of the day" where you can find a different antique photograph each day, depicting scenes from the old west and other bits of interesting life in the late 19th to early 20th-centuries. Click on the photo to get to the link if you don't mind whiling away some hours! These photos are seriously addictive.

Even though one lady wrote in her diary, "This gypsy life is anything but agreeable. It is impossible to keep anything clean and it is with difficulty that you do what you have to do," I still get to daydreaming and even admittedly romanticizing that long-ago most life-changing journey. Although not a fan of what was so-called Manifest Destiny, and skeptical at best about the way that settlers encountered native inhabitants of the land, I still find it valuable and inspiring to learn about this compelling time in American history, especially from a woman's perspective.

Oh and by the way my outfit the other rainy blustery day was partially inspired by old west women and partially by the book about gypsies that I've also been devouring:

Geez, all this talk about the wild west makes me realize how damn easy we've got it when we can wear and even photograph any outfit we dream up! Welcome to the new millenium.