Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter weekend '08

Friday afternoon, 6 PM, work is done for the week and it's still light out. It's that long shadow kind of day, and I walk in and out of patches of sunlight where they fall between downtown buildings. It's a familiar straight shot to the water from my place, up and down hills, and I take it fast...long strides distancing me from the stress of the last few days. When I crest 2nd Avenue, I get my first glimpse of Elliott Bay, and I grin every single time. This is the perfect end to the week, and it's become a (good weather) ritual: down to the water, snapping iPhone photos as I go, along the market, back up Pike Street, the dive-y Vietnamese noodle shop, and home.

There's a blind man with a guitar in front of the piroshky shop, singing "you are all I need…I lay all of me at your feet." At his feet is an empty coffee can that plinks when coins hit it. At the next corner is a blind man sitting cross-legged with a blind dog. And walking along Pike, a blind man with his stick in front of him and a group of ne'er-do-well hecklers following along behind. I feel guilty for my sight, and for wanting to photograph all of them, for reasons that are unclear to me.

Crossing 3rd is an old woman dressed in white from head to toe, carrying a 24-pack of white toilet paper.

Saturday is a blur of tax documents, photocopying, organizing, and cursing.

Today brings a 70mm screening of Lawrence of Arabia at the Cinerama, which will clock in at closer to four hours than three…I'm thinking aisle seat…followed by tapas and the theater with friends.

I can find no parallel to resurrection in my weekend. I have risen, indeed, but only from my bed on an Easter morning in March in Seattle.

Monday, March 17, 2008

waste not, want not

My great-grandmother fried two chickens every Sunday. She parceled out all the pieces to everyone around the big oblong table, and took the fried chicken backs for herself. She claimed they were her favorite. She had hair down past her hips, and every night she removed the hairpins, unloosed the bun, and brushed her hair. She then pulled the hair out of the hairbrush and put it in a bag. When the bag was full, she stuffed the hair into homemade pincushions that she fashioned out of fabric scraps and sewed them up.

She made all my childhood clothes.

Spring has sprung for the time being in Seattle. It may rain tomorrow or the next day, so I walked and walked and walked in the sunshine today. I was greedy and demanding as I pulled down the rays to my upturned face, and I took no notice of whether or not I was getting more than my fair share.

I don't feel the least bit guilty.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

just melting sand

I spent yesterday watching glassblowers in a timbered shelter in the middle of old growth forest north of Seattle.

Every turn from I-5 got progressively more remote. The trees got taller and thicker, the lichens greener and hardier. Small signs warned “no visitors”, but we had an invitation (would I have been less excited if everyone could wander in? I fear I would have been…). We were a bit early, so we parked the car and stood in silence near the pond.

Silence is not golden, it’s green and lush and slick with the remnants of a rain shower.

At the appointed time, we walked in single file up the path to the hot-glass shop, where 2 teams of artists were working. It was cold out, so the closer we got to the kilns, the more delicious it felt. We didn’t want to be in the way (or maybe it felt too sacred up close…like walking right up to an altar or standing on a grave), so we stood back a bit, where cold outside air and hot fire air played tug of war. The whole space glowed orange, and all the artists’ faces seemed to beam. Maybe it was just the sweat, but surely giving birth to such incredible shapes helped. Globs of molten glass were pulled out of the oven on poles, cajoled and prodded into swirls and orbs with torches and metal paddles. How utterly improbable.

I was transfixed.

I want to do that.

I want to throw my coat off, reach toward the fire, birth beauty, and sweat and beam.

One artist looked up at me and knew me. “It’s your first time.” He grinned at my speechlessness.

“We’re just melting some sand, baby. Just melting sand.”