Saturday, December 18, 2010

Funky Peace

When in D.C. at the fabulous National Art Gallery, knowing there's an Arcimboldo show your mom can't wait to take you to, and having just been through the awesome kid section of the gift shop, what else is there to do but don your funky hologram glasses and hang out in the garden atrium with your baby cousin? A funky peace reigned today, the best kind: fun, unexpected, blissful. Warning: a picture of every single member of the household over the age of 1 month with baby Henry features below. He is the gift that keeps on giving.

Lunch at the National Museum of the American Indian, whose reputation for being fantastic is well earned.  The key to its success in academic circles is that it doesn't just herald the early (read "primitive") American Indian, but instead presents contemporary American Indian cultures (skateboard art, for instance, or the Indigenous Contemporary Arts Program). There's a post at some point about the concept of the primitive in the Middle Ages (I used to think there wasn't one, that The Primitive is a product of Modernism, but sometimes I'm not so sure).  Anyway, here's Iris pushing Henry in his swank stroller.

And here is Henry's sweet mama, Gina.  He's four weeks olds and already the love radiates when he sees her.  Gina's calm and good humor makes all the difference in this little household. I remember a much more fraught and frenetic time - Oliver was the one with the calm and the good will.  Thank goodness for these little ones who know what they're doing. Henry and Gina are a beautiful team - she is in utter love with her little guy, and knows him deeply, and knows there is fun to be had.

See what I mean about the radiant gaze?  And can you imagine hanging out in those huge, comfortable arms all day?  A significant amount of our conversation yesterday was spent trying to figure out exactly that.  Seeing Steve as a dad is still more mind-blowing than I can really write about - except to say that he and Gina are amazing and totally symbiotic around Henry, that Steve's state of wonder (which we have all treasured for his whole life) is exponentially beautiful around his son, and that all of us can only marvel at the fun that awaits you, Henry.

Here is my proud chicita, feeding Henry while he gazes pensively out the window - there's clearly already much to ponder. Iris and I keep talking about what it must be like to grow up in D.C. - these cousins will have some wild notes to compare.  What always amazes me about the first three months is that they actually do pass - but the memory of holding an infant is immediate: that special heaviness, that unique warmth. I remember Iris holding Eleanor four and a half years ago. My proud Iris.  Happy Henry.

Good to know I still have a soporific effect on infants. Look how long that little guy is!

It might be difficult to see, but the moon was already out at about 3:30 p.m. as we were making our way back from the National Gallery.  Why is a dome such a great architectural shape for grandeur and order?  Even though the Republicans insist on besmirching it with their unbelievably cynical politics, it looks pretty grand.  The thing with architecture is that it allows you to transcend all that.  Just ask the domes of Jerusalem: the Holy Sepulcher, the Dome of the Rock, and the Shrine of the Book.  The thing with babies is that, I swear, you get that same transcendence - that embodiment of goodness at the very least.

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