Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hello darling, back from a pleasant jaunt across state lines today. It's always a pleasure to drive the back roads here, so scenic and changeable. One town - Ghent, say - will be all pastoral rolling green landscape with cows and barns - another, minutes later - New Lebanon, say, or Austerlitz - rugged and mountainy. On the way back we drove along the lamentable (in places) Routes 8 and 20 in Massachusetts, heading towards Pittsfield where we cut west towards the NY state line. These routes run alongside the lovely Berkshires, which as far as we can tell have no foothills, just an essentially foothilly nature, such a gentle, lovely landscape, but been mined in places, and in the midst of all this beauty have been indifferently sited strip malls, shopping centers, roads to nowhere - etc. I asked rhetorically, how did they take such a beautiful corner of the country and turn it into Cleveland? D laughed, it's a place he's visited (I've never been), and agreed, that's what it looks like, somehow just all spent industrial wasteland.

So much history written on that landscape. All those handsome 19th century brick factory buildings, and articulated, seemingly organically grown centers of small cities (Pittsfield, Adams) that one senses once upon their time were very bustling. Many of the old industrial buildings on the outskirts are boarded up today, and some of the downtowns are a little wan, but there are many valiant efforts at adaptive reuse, such as the museum we attended today, Mass Moca. It's a museum of contemporary art that due to the nature of capacious industrial age loft spaces is well suited to accommodating overscale art. Actually I was struck with the beauty of the buildings themselves - a low scale campus, no more than two or three stories high (the heights varied intriguingly in places), beautifully fenestrated with window after multi-lighted window, row upon row, letting in beautiful light from all angles - perfect for displaying art, or making it.

We talked in the car about this and that and fell on the subject of iphones and digital cameras and I expressed frustration that in a blog that I enjoy - the writer takes the most beautiful snaphshots with what - her phone? camera? - and posts beautiful posts at that very moment from, say, a shop she's visited. I am complaining about my camera. Anyway it's settled - for my birthday I will be getting a new digital camera which I understand aren't even that expensive. With this new camera when I attempt to frame a shot of, say, the signage of today's museum - the "A" at the end won't be cut off. I'm also having issues with Blogger having futzed with the programming and now I can't seem to choose the sizing of my photos (I would have chosen small in which case the MoC... if not the A would have shown up.)

A sense of unreality ensues, sitting here in my underwear, sipping from an icefilled glass, listening to song after powerful song on Women of Note. I have a mental image of you driving up to my house way back when to pick me up, we'd kiss hello. Maybe it's the thought of all those ancient horrible factory buildings where I lived (they weren't 19th century handcrafted beauties). No, I know that's not it. It's just the thought of you kissing me, now. I wonder if it would be the same. No, I know that it wouldn't. But who's the beloved? I have an aunt who in her day looked like the actress Julie Christie, no exaggeration. Gorgeous. A young GI found her in Munich when she was in her youthful prime and they've been together ever since. He's a coauthor of many books and having googled them both this morning she's always in the dedications, referred to as the beloved wife. Thank you for sparing us time away to write our books. That's in one of the dedications, funny thing to say I thought.

This post is devolving, dissolving a bit I think. I saw an exhibit of selfportraits at the Hudson Opera House the other day. There was a bright color photo by Marina Abramovic, of a figure, fleeting, clothed in red as I recall, on top of the Great Wall of China, and below the HD photo a little hand-drawn line drawing, and cryptics. The whole thing framed. Ambiguous. Self-portrait? It wasn't obvious to me. Maybe. Why not?

On our way home it was a relief to get away from the stripped landscapes of the western Berkshires and get back into Columbia County where we stopped to buy fresh eggs at someone's house, and at another impromptu stand for a bakers dozen of ears of corn which the woman seemed so happy that we stopped gave us 14. The Chatham eggs - $4 for a dozen - look awesome, large, light brown and speckled.

When we got home I lay down for a bit, then there was some discussion about a new dishwasher. I decided that I should have a bit of input into it, so we got back in the car and drove a couple of miles to a big box store where we discovered that nylon baskets are a distinct improvement over the rust-prone vinyl covered ones and so worth extra dollars that can be recouped if we upgrade to a $399 model which entitles us to a 10 percent discount blah blah blah.

What am I to do about kisses, touch.

Insert enormous full-color photo of Great Wall here.
And tiny hand-drawn figure below.

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