It’s Friday

It is the time of week where I begin to look forward to the weekend.  Ok, really I began to look forward to it Tuesday night, but I’m trying to not encourage the more ridiculous side of my nature.  But this particular moment is when I begin to daydream in a constant flow.  I want to just dive into some liquid-blue shimmer of relaxation.  Ah.  I’m ready for retirement.

Unfortunately the only liquid shimmer I will be experiencing this weekend is rain.  Gobs and gobs of it.  Though I don’t know what a gob of rain looks like, I have confidence that I will be able to tell you by Monday.   Thursday had me fooled – it started out miserable and cloudy, and I expected the weekend to be the same.  But then the sun came out, and dried up all the rain.  And Stacey was ready for a nice weekend again.  Alas.  Today is just as dismal as yesterday morning, and I have no hope of it changing this afternoon.

But there are good sides.  Something about rain causing flowers.  I can certainly say it’s doing something for them – the pollen is everywhere.   And the colors are wonderful.  The sky may be dull and cloudy without the stunning texture of storm, but everything else is vivid.  It’s like all-day afternoon light, with rich colors and deeper hues.  I’m sure some more scientific person could tell you why the sun at the angle past noon and the sun reflected and refracting through clouds causes some wavelength change that makes every color more intense.  For myself, I’m just going to delight in what beauty I can get on a damp and wretched day.

Designer God

It’s been some time since I said anything on this blog about God, or religion, or any of the more spiritual things that interest me.  And then I read this post, and I was caught again in that whirlwind, at least for a moment.  I am steady in my own faith at the moment, and as a result, am consistently fascinated by the beliefs of others.  Shape + colour mentions the way the site design has attracted her despite her initial lack of interest in the subject matter.  And there’s something very interesting in that draw, as typical attempts by religion to ‘reach out’ to a certain demographic end up feeling slightly sleazy.  What makes this site different?  Is it only the design?  Is it the attempted broadness of appeal to all faiths and belief systems?  Is it the idea of a truly universal and sympathetic community?

But the story continues.  While the graphics and site design may be one thing, the prayer postings and comments themselves are another.  They driven things, forced out by our own worries, self-doubts, or frustrations.  They are full of questions as well as calls for aid and support, or affirmations of life and knowledge and faith.  And that’s a beautiful thing, no matter what you feel or believe personally.  It has a bit of the flavor of what I most like about the world: truth.  Truth expressed in a multiplicity of ways and embellished and shown more fully and completely by all kinds of art.  I want to write it all down and capture the truest moments of my life and the lives of others.  I want truth so powerful it slaps you around a little before sucking you in completely.  Maybe this website will promote a little of that.  Even though I was not able to find out much about who was responsible for backing it, I hope it does.

The 5 Senses Garden

Sometimes it takes only a moment, or image, sound, or smell to remind you of a dream you had long forgotten. For me, it took last night’s crazy dreams to remind me of the garden I had at one time hoped to create. Sometimes it takes people under curses, tiny monkeys, 17th century ghosts and defending yourself with pointy rubberized action figures to shock you out of the humdrum of everyday existence.  Whatever it takes, there are moments at which our fondest dreams rush back to us all at once with a familiar sigh.

For me, one of these dreams has been a garden, artistic in form and intent, that would be truly accessible for all.  I do not yet have a name for this place, a name for what this garden might be, but occasionally flashes of it come back to me.  I hear the sound of windchimes – metallic, shell and wood.  I smell the distinct notes of flowers, each exuding its aura from a different direction, mingling gently with the prevailing breeze.  I am led not only by paths beneath my feet, but by waves of color, the softness of a particular type of grass, the desire to touch the spiky hairs of some unknown moss.  An though many of the logistical issues remain unanswered (how to make roses touchable to the blind?  how to make walkways texturally interesting for the feet, but not difficult for the wheelchair?  how to include more tactile experience without compromising safety or legal regulations? How to include taste?), it is these questions in particular which lead me to re-envision this dream.

It’s not exactly a new idea.  Gardens for the visually impaired have been around since at least the 70s and probably longer.  A touch and smell garden opened in India in 2001 and another in Augusta in 2005.  A ‘Garden of Five Senses’ was begun in 2003, also in India.  Yet all of these seem to leave something wanting.  Do these gardens for the visually impaired truly address the needs of those without hearing?  Does a garden of the five senses draw in those who don’t have the use of their legs in the same way it draws in those who do?  Can it?  Hopefully someday I’ll have the master plan for one that does, and be able to implement it.

Pigeon herding

Of course I left my wonderful SUPA-cool camera at home again today, so you guys will just have to bear with me and deal with the slightly crappy shots from my phone.  Trees through sculptureSorry.  I am doomed to have my camera only when the world around me is ugly.

Today I had to deliver some ‘important papers’ to main campus and on my way back, saw something most interesting.  Two pigeons were perched on a rooftop.  As I watched, one of them dived off, just falling like a rock towards me, then opening his wings into a glide.  It made me wonder, are pigeons ever afraid?  They are pretty fat birds.  Or does instinct just give them an infinite trust that their wings will keep them from splatting on the ground?  The whole thing was just beautiful – the arc of the pigeon’s wings, the sunlight on iridescent feathers, the display of fearlessness.  I wish i’d caught it on tape.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Pigeons are ugly birds.  They waddle, they eat garbage and they barely keep themselves clean.  Even for someone like me, who enjoys chasing them and seeing how close I can get before they take off or how many of them I can get going in the same direction, I wouldn’t want to actually touch one.  I don’ think they’d make a very good pet, or be very soft to touch.  They probably carry lots of noxious diseases, too.

Sun and TreesBut in this case, all that was beside the point.  For a moment, this mangy flying rat was something more than a city scavenger.  And for that transformation, I’m grateful, both for the beauty of the moment and for the potential it imparts to me to be better than myself, if only for a moment.

Renewed Winter Wonderland

Today is the first day of the second snowstorm in Boston this winter season, the first of the new year. I, in my infinite wisdom, am sitting cozily at work rather than cozily at home. Why did I drag my sorry self out of bed, through the snow, and into the office? I don’t know. My boss isn’t here. In fact, the major percentage of the office isn’t here. Who is here? Myself, the other admin in my area, the intern, and our newest employee, just out of grad school. Oh, and the part-time HR lady. So that shows you where the real dedication to our office lies. Or the real naiveté. Or maybe just the people who still live within reach of public transportation. Anyway, I’m looking at a long day of doing not much.

True, there are some benefits to coming into work today. I don’t have to take care of my sick boyfriend, who is also working from home – instead I have no responsibilities. I get to spend more lovely time writing online with all of you. I may be able to find something profitable for myself to do. And I did get to go outside into the sunshine for awhile, get icy snow particles up my nose, and avoid snowblindness. So that’s good.Outside the office window

And to be honest, it is quite beautiful outside. The world is silent, and almost a little misty with blown snow obscuring visibility. There are no birds, and few people. Corina was remarking how Harvard Square was like the aftermath of a nuclear bomb-just no one and nothing visible, which is very rare. I wish I could show you what I was seeing on my way to work today, but as usual, I forgot my camera, so you’ll just have to imagine a bit and make do with these shots from my cell phone.

Snow obscures the landscape and the sky, yes, making driving more difficult. But it also blankets the world in loveliness, softening the jagged edges and covering the dirt and grime of our typical city existence. It redefines shapes with low contours – the sidewalks, the protruding eaves of buildings, the lettering of signs. It beautifies the tops of tree branches, giving the bare exposed limbs new winter life with little snowy flowerets. It silences the world, muting the everyday noises but filling your hearing with swirls of wind, numbing your ears. It makes my life difficult, yes, but for its strangeness, for its break in the monotony of my winter life, and for its beauty, I am grateful for it, and grateful to have been out in it today.

Tree ‘reflowering’

I don’t understand ‘girl things’

Ok, that’s not exactly true. I understand lipstick and wanting to look pretty. Oh, and I’ve been told I can color coordinate. Otherwise I’m pretty clueless. Applying eyeliner? Fail. Walking down stairs in heels? I have enough trouble barefoot on a perfectly flat surface. Flirting? I have achieved the same social skill level as my bedpost.

This came to my attention over the holidays when I went to my college friend Rochelle’s formal wedding event for New Year’s. I am a dedicated friend, and I pulled most of the stops on this one, and encountered a whole range of objects and products as a result. Not to say that I wasn’t familiar with most of them in theory already, but many of them I had not actually tried for myself. So now I have a few more experiences to go into my ‘never ever ever’ list, and some others I’m still mulling over in my mind.

First on the ‘no’ list is the eyelash curler. Not only do I not understand the point of this device, it looks like giant dentisry equipment or other modern implements of torture. No doubt I should really give this thing the benefit of the doubt, since I didn’t even try it myself for the wedding, but it will take quite a bit more for me to overcome my latent fears. Also, I just don’t get it. Does curling eyelashes really make them look fuller? Why do we want full lashes anyway? Fact: Men have longer lashes than women. Fact: Pigs also have very full, long lashes.

Mascara is something I’m familiar with, and do use occasionally for big events, even though I’m bad at it. Usually I come out clumpy. I guess it could be worse. In combination with my messy eyeliner tactics, I could’ve looked like I had two black eyes. I don’t do well with soft gooshy pencil. I need something with the finest point available to counteract my unsteady hand. And with a finer point, it hurts less why you poke yourself in the eye cause it’s smaller. Really. In the end I came up with a less-is-more look when I reached the point of maximum frustration and wiped as much as possible off of my face.

But that’s ok, experimentation is good. And the end result of my first manicure remains fascinating. True, I did get my hands done in a light shade of purple to match my dress, so they aren’t exactly an everyday color. Mike says they make me look like I lack oxygen in my bloodstream. Still, I kinda like it. And it was interesting to watch a small Asian woman trim my cuticles for several minutes. I would never have guessed I had that much skin – yum.

There’s also something about the polish itself that’s almost addictive. I usually knit on the bus, and I find myself this week occasionally pausing to examine the contrast of my skin, my silver-flash needles as they move, and my nails in their lavender splendor. I find myself rubbing my nails compulsively now. Ooooh, so silky and smooth! Is this some kind of weird addiction? Should I be worried about acrylic or other chemicals leaching through my fingers to my brain? I think I may be a convert, and am slightly worried about my future life as an administrative assistant with jumbo press-ons who can’t type. If I start writing one-word blogs, be worried.