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Monday, July 27, 2009

can you hear me now?

Amid weeks of travelling, moving, unpacking, packing, driving, visiting, parting, departing, boating, shopping, drawing, reading, and wandering, I have been hopelessly amiss in my writing. My journal has been neglected, as has this wonderous little blog I used to think would be the end of me. Beyond that also, my motivation for writing has been wanting. Topics have eluded me and the proper pen for conjuring thoughts to the paper just cannot be found.

Then it struck me: writing. That is what I have been wanting to write on! More than anything, writing and communication. I have inadvertently been blessed with the opportunity to participate in long-distance communication with several dear friends of mine and my brother while they live beyond my reach physically and telephonically. The result has been letters and emails up the wazoo, none of which I would trade for anything.

Though these individuals are seeming light-years away from me, their company is enjoyed and our relationships strengthened through this correspondence. Through our writing. I love that I can do this with these friends and family members. In a fast-paced world, these meticulously written notes are a treasure. Sometimes they are handwritten, other times typed and emailed, but always well-thought and, for the most part, well written. (My brother's grammar struggles more than his spelling..) No matter what condition I receive them in, I treasure these letters. The time and care the dear writers took to produce these messages reminds me of the love and care they share for me.

Beyond that, reading them all is an absolute delight! You learn so much about one's personality by the way they write. How they structure a sentence, how they formulate thoughts, what they really care about. Some letters are incredibly well written and completely suck me into another world, worlds that are often unknown to myself.

It makes me mildly sad to think that letters are not sent as frequently. There is such an art to it, such history, and such fun behind the practice! The records letters leave behind are invaluable in some situations, as later generations turn to these communications for reference to a time gone by.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

sunday, lovely sunday

The Wasatch Mountains have been crossed. The Great Plains, traversed. The Mississippi, forded. I am officially east, ish. To celebrate my illustrious return, my best friend and I lived it up this past Sunday. What did we do?

We swung for hours in a hammock and then laid in a park and listened to church bells.

Sunday was one of those glorious days, where after spending several weeks in the desert heat, mid-seventy degree weather with even less humidity. The Michigan sky was clear and devoid of haze as only it can be after a good storm which eradicates all traces of muggy, sticky air. A cool breeze wafted gently. All was well with the world. I spent hours in the hammock snoozing, thinking, dreaming, staring, pondering, reading, and all sorts of other "ings" before my best friend showed up and joined me in the hammock.

We caught up on life together, gossiping and giggling like a pair of schoolgirls. Eventually we decided to brave the rest of the world, which led us on a wandering journey of Metro Detroit. In quite the serendipitous occurrence, we stumbled across Christ's Church Cranbrook. The lovely front lawn was belittered with darling people in lawn chairs. They had books and Sunday papers with them, and all were faving the church.

"The carillon!" Dusty memories of my childhood attacked me as I recalled similar Sunday afternoons spent with my parents at the same church listening to the bells. "Stop the car," I pleaded, and luckily my geek-loving friend obliged.
We found a cozy spot nestled under three ancient trees to rest our picnic blanket and ourselves. For the next glorious forty minutes we lay in the grass staring up at the trees and sky, being lulled into complacency by the melodious music of the carillon tower. It was absolute heaven.



As if the bells and trees weren't enough, we ventured inside the giant stone building to take a gander. The nave of this church was absolutely breathtaking! I felt like I had been transported back to one of the great halls I had found in Europe rather than a church in Metro Detroit. Deep mahogany pews faced an alter of beautiful design and similar stain. The woodwork was continued up into the rafters of the nave, where the vaulted ceilings were lined with the most glorious wood panels and buttresses.

An official Christ's Church Cranbrook docent found us and proceeded to give us a full account of the church's hundred-plus-year history. There was far too much to recount here, but what really struck me was that a majority of the craftsmen hired for the artwork were local and were women. This is a huge development for the art world as the building was constructed just after the suffrage movement of the turn of the last century. The benefactor of the entire Cranbrook campus, a Mr. Booth, wanted the best artisans he could find, and they just happened to be women.

My feminist soapbox aside, Mo and I were inundated with the testament the church left of the artistic history of Detroit. As our beloved city crumbles around us, historical landmarks are lost, artwork, traditions-all of it is disappearing faster than we can absorb it- here is a building that remains and is cared for that shows the best that Detroit has to offer from its glory days of ol'.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

aloha

My stuff is almost entirely packed. My furniture sold. The sofa gone. The cleaning products are quickly coming out as I scrub down the mess I've made of my room. The physical logistics of this move seem to be finally taking shape.

The emotional items, however, are another matter altogether.

Every day I am saying "Goodbye" to someone. Sometimes I get teary, other times I am not as impacted. But the looming sensation that I am leaving is there. Quite soon I will be separated from the life I have established for myself here and thrown into a brand new adventure. So not only am I bidding farewell to friends and family but to an entire way of life.

Today is it though. As soon as I pry myself away from this computer, the last minute packing and cleaning extravaganza begins resulting in the loading of my car the beginning of a new journey.

The Hawaiians really knew what they were doing when they created the word aloha. This familiar word means hello, goodbye, and I love you all at the same time. I recently learned also that the ha to the aloha is the transference of the speaker's essence to the listener. In other words, breathing a part of one's self onto another individual.

That's how I feel right now. I'm saying aloha to everyone and everything, trying to leave a part of me behind but to also forge new ties as I head out. From here on out I am surrounded by hellos, goodbyes, and I love yous.



Post script: I have not as yet figured out how to disconnect myself from the mountains and desert sunsets. Any suggestions for such a separation would be greatly welcomed.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

dedication

Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to go to the dedication of the Stewart Sculpture Garden at the Springville Museum of Art. It was a tribute to the local benefactors, creative masterminds, and artistic geniuses whose collaborative efforts created an homage to beauty. I sat there in between two of my favorite people soaking in the feel of the evening. Art, nature, and good company. All was well with the world.

The dedicatory prayer and remarks were offered by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Oaks related his personal experiences with the museum and the prominent artist in the new garden, Springville native Cyrus E. Dallin. Elder Oaks referred to the definition of dedication, indicating that to dedicate means to set something apart for a specific purpose or function and often to make sacred.

During the dedicatory prayer, I heard few of the words as I was overcome with feeling. This garden was being set apart as a place of refuge for the arts and nature to coexist. I felt this change as it happened to the leaves and blades of grass, but then it turned on me. My skin tingled and eyes watered as I realized that prayer was setting me apart as well. My future with the professional world of the arts began last night with that prayer.

It is something of a delight to me to know that the Stewart Sculpture Garden and I are beginning anew together. Old books are at an end making way for new installments. So it is that I embark on my maiden voyage with a bound edition of fresh, crisp paper and a comfortable pen, ready to document the future with a newly found dedication.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

july the fourth

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Thursday, July 02, 2009

we need forty CCs stat!

Pack. Work. Play. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Please note, sleep was not mentioned in there. Nowhere. That's because sleep is becoming a scarce commodity in my existence. Incredibly hard to come by and even more difficult to get to stick around. The cause of this malady can most likely be attributed to excessive indulgences in the realm of fun and frivolity.

The only known cure to date is an equally excessive dosage of Coke. I was an addict to begin with, but I am past the point of seeking aid. Coke is a sweet blessing from the Soft Drink Gods, fueling my very being, making it even remotely possible for me to get to work in the mornings. I still haven't found a cure for my non-existent productivity levels though...