Portland has an amazing array of summer bike events, all under the umbrella of “bikeapalooza.” Last week, while I was in Seattle, they celebrated their nude bicycle event (20,000 partook?) This Sunday afternoon we hit the parkway (clothed) and were part of nearly 32,000 Portlandians enjoying a Sunday afternoon bike ride. Each month, roads are closed to motor traffic and a different neighborhood is explored (with endpoints of music and camaraderie.) This recently renovated neighborhood gave voice to some hip/hop/ rap songsters (that could really use more practice….) and lyrics? “my pockets are bigger than my butt, ugh, ugh”
Despite a time crunch to get to the early service I am grateful that I went. The “message” was dead on, seemingly meant for me. The opening song summed it up “between the no longer and the not yet…” by Janice Stanfield. The sermon went on to remind me that I don’t have to have the answers and I don’t have to “make” things happen. That the answers are there, waiting, patiently, to be revealed by trust. Furthermore, despite momentary lapses of fear, it is okay to stand in a place of “not knowing.” The metaphor of yin/yang (receptive/active) was used. Yin (the dark, receptive and feminine aspect) inspires slow movement, awareness and attention. Permission and validation that we don’t always need to understand, or be in constant “control” but to accept. That the transition of the “dark night of the soul” is one that deepens our trust in the Divine and Mysterious that I can rest and be receptive. And the beat goes on.
Spent a quiet Saturday night with host, Andrew… eating corn tamales, mole salami, cheese, olives, cornichons (his 1st) and looking at maps. Hostess worked late/early and slept while I returned for a 2nd visit to Unity Portland.
On to the Tacoma glass museum (past the historic Union train station) and across the bridge of glass. Incredible quanitity of Chihuly glass! Once again, I didn’t have my camera (dangit) but took some photos with the phone. Arrived at the museum 1/2 hour before closing so I glossed over the live glass blowing feature and headed for the art. Preston Singletary “Killer whale” (Blown and sand carved glass in orange and black) traditional NW Indian design stands out as well as Laura de Santillana “Blue black partition” (an amazing wedge of glass with a cobalt base.) Patrick Martins political commentary “untitled” were glass flip flops with press image of W. Bush on the sole (“mission accomplished” photo). In an example of art imitating life, Michael Rodgers :”Flight remembered” (glass dome covered with birds) made me giggle remembering the episode of “Portalndia” and spoof on Portland art (“put a bird on it”.) I just made it through the museum before closing and glad I didn’t miss the “collaboration” exhibit. Here, glass artists created glass creatures from children’s phantasmagorical creature drawings, delightful! From there we all got the “bum’s rush” as there was a wedding that had taken place and reception was to be held just outside the entry (beside Martin Blank’s reflecting pool installation “fluent steps.”) Lucky couple 🙂
Construction traffic just ahead, emergency vehicles on frontage and a great big sign saying “art museum” and “glass museum” all irresistibly point me in the direction of “get off here.” I head directly to the Tacoma art museum, and am delighted to find a treasure trove of art and artifacts related to (Tacoma native) Dale Chihuly. Archival video showing early years and creative process amidst a room chock full of bequests by the artist. Some of my favorites among the Chichuly glass pieces are the Ikebana vases: “Stippled Blue and green with purple and cyan stems”, “Sunburst orange with blue and green stems” and “Gilded lavender with lapis stem and 2 leaves.” as well as the seaforms” opal gray and amber” and “pink and white” and “carmine and white flower sets.” on to the permanent collection “frozen dreams” necklace by Nancy Worden comprised of etched plexi “glass” lenses with etched plexi shoe heels as focal point. Also favored was Hadley and Maxwells 14 image composition illustrating the lyrics of “Silly love song” (Paul Mc Cartney.) To me the ultimate favorite of the museum was the display of 110 11×16 sepia tone photos portraits of Northwest “natives.” from Chihuly’s private collection. There I sat, tears in eyes, soaking in their beauty, power, strength and wisdom, painfully aware of how white I really am.
Friday I returned to Pike’s street market to grab some Seattle-snacks for the road (salmon jerky and crisp dried Fuji apples) bought eggs and headed out of lot before the “meter maid” (and got stuck in rush hour traffic.) Realizing I was nearly out of gas, I spied a VW bus owner to ask where the nearest station was (the Evil Garmin was telling me to go to the grocery store….) My comrade led me to a shell, just in time 🙂 Who says people aren’t kind? I returned to Tom and Denise’s to hook up bug and hit the road. They were much wiser than I and suggested I stay one more night. We enjoyed the liberty of getting to know each other better (without it being a “school night” or an “event”) and we enjoyed great conversation, adult bevys and much merriment In the a.m. I had the pleasure of making us brunch (with those beautiful herbs) and (finally) hit the road for Portland.
Don Ehlen is a bug man. Really. He has VWs but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I learned of his penchant for bugs when he pointed out where he had put mine. In the lime light of the Freemont show. In the course of a couple of days I learned that he has an amazing bug collection, tours schools and does pbs on what has become his life’s work and fascination. How could I pass up seeing his private collection? I couldn’t. In the couple of hours I was there, I saw just 6 of 80 boxes (the total collection is 6,000+ specimens.) Butterflies the size of a small pea, to the largest (both of my hands side by side) all beautifully categorized and presented in museum quality display boxes (5 to a box) His delight, humor and expertise apparent as he showed me tray after tray of butterflies, Luna moths, spiders, flies, walking sticks, and of course, beetles (complete with John, Paul, George and Ringo snuck in…)
After sorting out my “tiny apartment” (van)…. laundry and clean up, I head to North Seattle for a long overdue visit with my neice, Katie. In the late afternoon sun I arrive to find she and the kids out in the garden. Chickens happily destroying her seedlings (yet again) and eldest, (Blaise) busily recreating his own tiny version of the “Big Dig.” A moment of panic ensued as his little brother Rhett (interested in “all things muddy”) became the bain of his big brothers “engineering” plans. I had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing as the elder exclaimed “mother, will you please remove Rhet?!!!” Meanwhile, “Sissy” (Evie) blowing bubbles with the neighbor. Being adorable, joyous, and bubble/sticky/sweet. Looking over I see my neice, Katie who, not so long ago, was equally tiny, now with one more girl on the way. And I think of things old people say…
Back at Kelly’s home and studio we wiled away the hours, she giving me a tour of her art and studio and us enjoying dinner together. I was happy to have the opportunity to share dinner with Kelly and we enjoyed tea and din in her sweet dining room (surrounded by her paintings with table bedecked with grandmas linens.) Somehow the surroundings made the (lamb tagine and pearled cous cous pilaf) dinner I’d brought along taste even better. Long live art (and pressure cookers.)
Seeing it with Kelly Lyles of course! Off to a slow start we hopped in Kelly’s art car (Ex cessories) and headed for a dozen downtown galleries (with less than 2 hours to take them all in… ) undaunted, Kelly led me from one to another, on a 1st name basis with nearly everyone and familiar with all of the artists, we wended our way through gallery after gallery (and even grabbed a mole salami with cheese sandwich on the fly at Seattle hot-spot “Salumi”) Didn’t have time to jot down the names of all the “favorites” down but really loved seeing Scott Fife’s sculpture “Bear season” and larger than life “self portrait”(cardboard) as well as the colorful scenic paintings of James Lavadour (whose kind wife Roberta I’d met in Pendleton.) We ended our downtown tour with a gourmet shop (easily 200+ cheeses) olives, spices, pickles, chutneys etc. etc. etc. and headed back to Kelly’s art house/ studio for…