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Archive for March, 2012

Men in kilts

With yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, I was reminded of all that comes with those celebrations while reading a fellow blogger’s post; one of those components being men in kilts. I remember when I first saw a man wearing a kilt here in Portland, as if it were the most natural thing in the world – and here in Portland, it is! So of course the writer in me found a poem in that, and I share that with you, as well as the wonderful post that inspired me at:   http://travelspirit333.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/st-paddys-day-party-bus/   Be sure to visit Sherry’s blog, it is full of other wonderful posts, and I thank her for the inspiration!

His Feminine Ways

 

Give me a man

Who is not afraid

To wear a kilt

Unabashedly

Showing off a calf

Or daring a peek at a knee

In the ways that women do

The pleated folds of the skirt

Draping around his form

The breeze blows under the fabric

What is to be revealed?

If I am so lucky

The site of manhood

Will be apparent

Underneath a plaid pattern

True masculinity

Is on display

In the boldness

Of a man wearing a kilt

Reluctant sharing

I went to a very moving play this afternoon called Red, and it really got me thinking about art in any form and how the creator feels about sharing their work. It is an account about the artist Mark Rothko, and how he struggled with his art during the creating of a commissioned piece for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City. In one breath he would talk of how he longed for his art to be received and perceived regardless of the reaction, but then in the next breath he would express doubts about letting it be viewed at all; fears came forth that it would be criticized or not understood. It is something that I believe most artists struggle with, the doubts about how their precious work that has heart and soul poured into it will be received. I have felt that ambiguity; so anxious to share my words with a sense of bravado, but secretly hoping that they will be met with gentle thoughts. But even after receiving the familiar rejection letters that we all have to experience as writers, I still want to share my words, taking the chance and accepting all the varied reactions that they engender.

The Pretty Words

 

All my pretty words

Birthed into verse

Now what?

Some of my babies

Have left the nest

Flying off

Safely, I hope

I do worry

A bit

Will the outsiders

Handle them with care

Or judge them harshly

The words that still

Live at home

I encourage them to stay

For now

I see them

And I smile

My precious babies

All my pretty words

An art crawl of bridges

One of the things I love most about Portland is the Willamette River that runs through the city, and the bounty of beautiful bridges that span the river, reaching across like arms made of steel. There is a uniqueness to each bridge, which creates an art gallery of massive metal sculptures. They vary in color; ranging from the gun-metal black of the Steel Bridge, to the brick red of the Broadway Bridge, or the celery green of the Fremont Bridge. They vary in shape; the Fremont Bridge arches in a back-bend, the Broadway Bridge rolls in waves like the ocean, and the St. Johns Bridge pays tribute to her sisters the Brooklyn Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge. Each is lovely in its own way, and I try not to play favorites. But the Steel Bridge, with trains above and trains below, as well as a walkway that is far below the bridge traffic, is my bridge of choice when crossing the Willamette on foot. If you ever visit the lovely city of Portland, be sure to walk across the Steel Bridge from west to east, and take a walk along the Eastbank Esplanade. I promise you will not be disappointed as you gaze up and down the river, able to view the art crawl of bridges.

Steel Bridge

Steel Bridge

Broadway Bridge

Burnside Bridge

Hawthorne Bridge

Eastbank Esplanade

 

Sharing stories

I had coffee with a friend this morning, and she was relating to me a story about an adventure she had this past weekend with her daughter while they were out of town. The writer in me found it delightful, wanting to capture it and share with others. The sharing is the storyteller that I believe is in all of us, although in our modern era we seem to have given it the back seat of our lives. Our ancestors were wise and perhaps blessed, in not having so many distractions that deterred them from taking the precious time of the telling and retelling of stories; stories that both delight us and help us to find a commonality that we can share in.

Circling the City

     We had a whole afternoon to kill after checking out of our hotel. I wondered what in the world we could do in this city we had never been to that would keep a young teenage girl entertained, without hearing the strains of, “Mom this is so boring! Oh my God, when will we be able to get on the plane and go home?!” I had wandered around the city one day while Anne was meeting with a group of other prospective college students. To put them at ease the group was led by some student volunteers at the college, not much older than the visitors themselves, gladly herding the masses of those making the rounds of college visits. These hard working volunteers had put together a “students only – no parents allowed” time, designed to allow the group of oftentimes shy teenagers to feel more at ease without mom or dad standing nearby asking possibly embarrassing questions. In my sojourn of the city that day, I found plenty of restaurants, museums, and the sports stadium but to my surprise I couldn’t find anywhere to shop. I asked about this at the front desk of the hotel when Anne and I returned after her campus visit; where was the nearest place to shop? We found out that the mall 10 miles away was the nearest shopping experience, and was easily accessible by taking the number 19 bus. So after checking out by noon on our last day, I asked at the front desk if they might be able to secure our luggage somewhere while we went out for a little adventure before heading home. They graciously found a place behind the desk for our things, and out the door we went to find bus number 19.

We searched high and low for the bus stop, when Anne spotted the train stop. “Look Mom, there’s a train just like we have at home. Why don’t we just take that instead?” Oh, the unbridled enthusiasm and lack of fear that the teenager possesses. Well, why not? I thought. We were used to taking public transportation at home, and I figured it couldn’t be that much different than any other city train. So with tickets in hand, we boarded the next train that came our way. We found a place to sit, and I started studying the map of the train route. I thought I had found our stop, so we got off on the 1300 block. But as we started walking, I thought to reach into my pocket to double check the street address of the mall – a thought that had come to me before we left the hotel. In horror I realized that the mall was 4300, not 1300 – we were 30 blocks away! Much too far for us to walk, even if we had to time to do so. But once more my daughter’s keen eyes spotted the ever elusive number 19 bus stop. Finally! Now we could just hop on and ride the 30 blocks, do a little shopping and head back to the hotel in time to catch out airport shuttle. So once more with tickets in hand, we climbed aboard for another ride. After a time though, I started to wonder as we begin to loop our way around the streets, rather than making our way from 1300 to 4300. In all actuality, we seemed to be headed in the opposite direction! My fears were confirmed when I saw the familiar buildings around our hotel; we had just completed a very large circle of the city! All we could do was laugh it off, and pretend that we had really meant to take a tour of the city like any other tourist; and we walked off the bus empty handed of shopping items but full of the excitement and satisfaction of having survived an adventure in a strange city.

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