medieval art history, navel gazing, horizon scanning
Monday, September 27, 2010
Wind of Greed
In what must be a rare moment of self-allegory, Miss E had just declared herself the "Wind of Greed" when I took this picture. I had thought to take a snapshot of her and her dad, and she totally took over the idea to declare: "I am the Wind of Greeeeeeeed!" - it's not a particularly nice sentiment, but it also turned out to be a pretty empty allegory in that she exhibited nary a bit of greediness all afternoon. Whence these phrases from this child? Is this a love of sounds (she also loves the sound of, and thus saying "Dayton, Ohio" and "Peyton Manning" - some love of "a/eyton" sounds?)? or some elated response to the beautiful fall day spent in a park (with playground equipment!)? or maybe you'll say it's the outfit (yes, she dresses herself). No matter, it's the elation we're taking away from it - throughout the rest of the week-end, I found myself saying "Wind of Greed!" whenever something good or triumphant happened (grading done for tomorrow; class prep, too; made some headway on my article that's due October 8; timed my slow-cooker recipe to actually coincide with dinner, that kind of thing).
This week-end was very explicably lovely - a lot of really nice things happened, and I want to remember them. Medievals had their own way of feeling lucky, which I will remark upon in a minute - this is mine. Here's Miss I at the end of her piano lesson, when she was invited to play her pieces on the organ in her piano teacher's home (!) - she loves the organ because it's harder, louder, wilier ("pulling out all the stops," as one does when the organ blasts in full, is fine for Miss I, as long as she gets to do the pulling.). She gave the piece "My Pony" an entirely new tenor, I tell you.
The idyll continued with apple picking with friends that afternoon. This must mean that somehow it got to be fall. I keep thinking of Brittany, and what it must look like now, as the leaves are turning (spectacular?) colors, and the flowers in our friends' garden retire for another season, bowing out of color and form until an increasingly anticipated spring. Miss I is talking a lot about missing France and wanting to go back. Miss E is here just gleefully picking apples. Wind of Greed!
Pissarro was clearly there: the shade that an apple tree provides, the encouragement you have to give the fruit to come down off of the tree, the wariness about rotten apples on the ground, the desire to bite into a freshly picked apple. Mister M wanted to be sure we had this painting in our minds - it works! (There's an article by the Marxist art historian, T.J. Clark that will set your mind right about apple picking, labor, and class, though - so that you may not suffer too long under an idyllic delusion with this painting.)
Eating out at a wonderful creole place with our friends and what turned out to be our oodles of combined kids, and Miss I celebrating her first ever bite of "Gator on a stick" - not a euphemism or a fake-out, that really is alligator on a stick (soaked overnight in buttermilk or some such incongruous but delicious idea). I like this photograph - I swear those two look like they're on the second night of some fabulous cruise or something.
And then to go hiking in the woods the next day, and find Mister O discovering a vine-branch-like tree and deciding to swing from it. He actually remained pensive - something soothing about this position?
The Wheel of Fortune helps in times like these. Actually, it helps more when things are going badly - then you can look forward to things going well. But I'm going to try to savor the climb back up to the top of the wheel this time around. That eager anticipation signified by the figure climbing up the Wheel on the left, and its Latin "I will rule." At the top: "I rule" - simple and absolute. Then, my favorite because of the verb construction itself: "I will have ruled" (the end of the reign approaches!). Down below: "I am without a reign" (and haven't we all felt that way?). I think that I go through five rotations of that Wheel of Fortune during the average day, but this week-end, it was all up and top. After class tomorrow I'll be feeling "I will have ruled" as I mull over what I could have said, how else I might have prepared, what these students are taking away from all this; by the early afternoon I'll be well under the weight of anxiety and tremulousness about my article and all the things that seemed so halfway smart yesterday will seem ridiculous tomorrow; but then I have coffee with my dear friend and then I go get the kids, and then indeed all will be well, and we can shout out: "Wind of Greed!" with glee.