It has been a interesting year. One that had more changes than most for me.
I am sitting here, New Year's cocktail in hand, thinking about it all. I was going to wish you all the happiest and most prosperous year of all for 2015, but maybe that is not what life is. Perhaps we instead should wish each other strength and humor to deal with all that is set on our plate. Maybe we need to remember to spend a bit more time in reality than in wishes. There is so much beauty we miss while wishing for something different than what we have. There is so much peace we miss while wanting ultimate happiness!
I am getting old. This year has taught me that. I accept it and in a way it is an interesting place. It is not good nor bad, it is merely reality. The word "finite" is a bit more real. I wish I would have started exercising earlier and more frequently, and I would have tried a few more things before they became terribly uncomfortable, unbecoming or just not worth the effort. But I also realize how full I am. Full of memories and friends and family and still a lot of potential!
I see things everyday that I hadn't noticed before. I realize how precious time is now, and I enjoy both spending it and wasting it more.
So people, I will toast you with a wish for strength and humor as we approach 2015. May it bring you life in all its complexities and layers, and may you gain from or at least notice each one.
Happy New Year. Jill
I made a return at Michael’s Craft Store yesterday. In this busy retail season, it was not a task I was looking forward to, but I had come to the realization that I was not going to get to the holiday craft experience I had planned, so I had better cut my losses and return the supplies.
As expected, all the check-out lines were long and people were shifting from leg to leg as their patience ran short. I took my place at the end of one of the lines, willing to wait knowing my trip would shorten my “to do” list not lengthen it. Surprisingly, my line got periodically shorter even though the same person held the front spot. Soon I realized that one by one people were leaving the line, each with their own rendition of a groan, a cluck, or an exaggerated exhale. I was soon in the 'on deck circle'.
The clerk turned and smiled at me. The woman checking out was a white-haired large woman with a flamboyant cape, a walker and several bags – one of which she was diligently digging through. She would stop every few seconds and converse with the clerk and then, go back to her digging. Each time the woman looked back into her bags, the clerk would slowly look my way, smile and covertly wink at me.
The credit card was finally located, and the transaction appeared complete, until the lady suddenly realized she had a small item in her hand that she had not paid for. This started a long and involved story about where she found the item, what she would use it for and that it had to be paid for in cash, not the recently located charge card. The digging resumed. Slowly bills were unfolded and handed to the clerk – again with a pause between each one for a bit of chit chat. The fact that there were only four bills in that particular location lead to a new search for a fifth bill, and then the dig to the bottom of the purse for four pennies.
All the while the clerk remained genial and calm, chuckling and conversing appropriately and sending winks my way, until again the transaction was complete; But not the conversation. The woman was assuring the clerk she would be back next week, but was unsure of the time or date, but hoped the same clerk would be there when she returned. Finally packages and bags placed on the top of her walker, she started her long journey out the door, but not before turning to me with a smile and a “thank you”.
The clerk then turned to me and with a big grin and a small shake of the head said, “She is so lonely”. The clerk thanked me for my patience, and said the woman comes in each week sometimes to buy, sometimes to return what she purchased the previous week, and always for a chat. “I have been a clerk for 14 years, and have learned that for some people this isn’t about shopping”.
It was then that I realized the all the glitter, the boughs, the Mannheim Steamroller on the intercom, was not about Christmas; this clerk was the Christmas spirit incarnate. Who knew that I would encounter the true Christmas spirit of compassion in the middle of Michael’s holiday rush.
This past week I had the pleasure of visiting The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, MA. Honesty requires me to admit that I went there with low expectations, and avoidance of going sledding, but was pleasantly surprised! Contemporary Art is not my favorite genre. I often find it both self-serving and pretentious and not enlightening or uplifting in the least. Well some of it was. But the experience overall was wonderful and expanding.
The facility is both innovative and wonderful. It is a warren constructed of several buildings that once housed a 19-20th century manufacturing concern. They have retained the bricks and mortar and connected the buildings with tunnels and bridges that are interesting in and of themselves.
The highlight of the museum was the Anslem Kiefer exhibit. He is one of those artists that should rarely be shown in reproduction. The monumental size and the textural richness of his work is just not done justice no matter the number of dots per inch in reproduction! There is an entire building that has been erected to house three major works of his. The Museum will house these for no less than 25 years. The three works are vastly different in both concept and execution, but each as resounding as the other. For me, there have been few works (especially in the "contemporary" genre) that have moved me as the "Women of the Revolution" The literature about the exhibit explains the work as: It takes "its inspiration from Jules Michelet's 1854 study, Les Femmes de la Revolution, which chronicles the lives of specific women. who, in their uncompromising willingness to pursue democratic values, played an important role in the French revolution."
Click on any of the below photos to see larger and fully and at full crop.
Thank you Mr. Kiefer. You have done what art should do. Your craftsmanship is impeccable and supported fully by a strong concept and point of view, with not a trace of self-aggrandizing. You made me think on many levels.
If you are really into history, click here for blog posts prior to 2014 !