Thursday, April 21, 2011

moving pieces

(events drawn from the first week of march)


you must use your imagination.

here she is, my neighbor, yellow coat, pink wool gloves, mint green plaid scarf, coral cotton canvas tote, knit cap, iridescent drop earrings, blowing across west end avenue at 98th street, stopping midway, arms outstretched towards me.

would you like to have breakfast? have you eaten today? i am going to breakfast.

i clasp her hands and say yes, i have eaten but we should do it another time.

suddenly we realize cars are moving and i grab her hand and lead her to the other side of the street before we both get killed.

you look like the Easter bunny, i tell her, like Spring!
i am going away but am back in a week, lets make a date for then!

maybe, she says with a suddent hint of resistance, or perhaps even uncertainty.

if you can fit me in, i suggest.

it depends on my body, she says, almost as if confessing.
i have been indoors with an arthritis attack for a few days this last week.
today i need to get up and move.....

okay. i say. fair enough.

and we part, she continuing east and i west.

fair enough. to be out and about. to move. now. today.


here i had been thinking since returning from the Georgetown store of my current favorite items, the Etro turtle and fish pendants, each sort of hinged with articulated pieces to allow them to move - fish to flip, turtle almost to crawl.

this in turn brought to mind a vision of my Great Aunt Bettina, who would wear a monochromatic uniform of camel cashmere pants and turtleneck and then layer on something unique collected on her travels, like a jewel encrusted cameo that flipped over to reveal a watch, or a Chinese snuff bottle on a silk cord, an impeccably placed lynx hat atop her head most of the time to add height to her barely five foot tall frame. it worked. she projected huge style.


i had been thinking of the celebrated classical dancer Jacques d'Amboise who took the stage a few days ago to share excerpts from his memoir, I Was a Dancer. he spoke with humility and joy of his formative years, including the secret to a good pirouette. "Nijinsky flewwww," he whispered softly. "You never saw him prepare." 

he told of an injury to his bicep sustained early in his career while catching his partner, leaving him without full motion in one arm. but, dance he did. on this particular evening, he offered us a performance to introduce a future generation of young dancers, the perfect living legacy.


i had been thinking of the striking installation going up at Frederico Seve Gallery on west 57th street. it caught my eye as i came off an elevator, a series of framed flora-montages wrapping the white walls of the fourth floor space. created by Mariana Vera, a self taught artist from Colombia, some seemed to dance on the page, mesmerizing patterns, color in motion, or in the artist's words, "visual poetry" constructing a kind of order from ephemera collected from the natural world.

(photo of Stemmed Spiral montage by mariana vera 2010, coral plant on paper, from frederico seve gallery site

Gathering Parts was the name of the show and though i would not be in town for the opening reception later in the week, the images stayed with me and i envied those who would enjoy a few hours amidst the rose petals, potato vine, garden cosmos, and bougainville.


i am thinking about my mother's healing wrist, the mysterious pulled muscle in my left side, a dear friend's broken rib suffered during a recent fall.

i am wondering how my neighbor is feeling now and if perhaps she would like to don her yellow coat and have breakfast with me tomorrow.


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