Monday, April 12, 2010

A Glorious Sunday

Krissy's friend, Parker, is visiting for a few days. What a gift. To me. She flew into Boston on Saturday, then C. took her for a long walk on Memorial Drive, and to Harvard and the Square, all of which was fascinating since she loves history and finds it remarkable to be here, where it's embodied almost everywhere.

When she got back later that evening, she came up, sat on the bed and talked to me for a couple of hours. Heaven. Many stories about the remarkable people she's read about -- like the woman who had been a laundress for all of her life, washing and ironing clothes, tithing, saving a third of her very small salary, centering her life about the family and her love of Jesus. After she had, little-by-little, saved more than a million dollars, she wanted to do something significant with it (but wasn't interested in recognition) and decided to endow a scholarship at the University of Mississippi (I think.) The whoever she spoke with couldn't imagine that a woman with no public stature, who had earned so little all of her life, had done this and naturally made a big fuss which lead to this humble woman giving public lectures on living modestly and doing something significant with savings.

A consummate extrovert, part Cherokee and from Tennessee, Parker's recovered (put behind her) a childhood that makes most, including mine, look like a walk in the park, and is consumed by a quick intelligence combined a remarkable openness to different experiences, an inner sense of joy, hope and enthusiasm. She's learned to forgive and exudes curiosity and, dare I say it, love. She has a lean face, high cheek bones, large eyes and an expressive mouth. Watching her face move is a past time in itself, as is following her breathless conversation. Heaven.

The first photo shows her beginning her demonstration of how a sari is 16 yards of cloth, folded into a gorgeous garment, so practical and comfortable. When she's at the ashram in India, she wears both western clothes and saris. At home and at work, she wears saris and western clothes, choosing to integrate both worlds that she lives in, instead of keeping them separate. The guru, with whom she has studied for many years,  discourages everyone from engagement with 'him,' as the focal point and she's thoroughly integrated this lesson. She has made part of her living doing complex astrological charts for well over twenty years as well as art modeling which is where she met Krissy some years ago.

The game plan for Sunday had been for C. to drive us up the coast (Krissy was working in New York) to Marblehead. I thought I was good for three hours, maybe, but at the last minute volunteered to stay home because I'm more than a drag, and because Parker really would have liked to stop in Salem, but fortunately, for me, they wouldn't let me. 

C. says that I'm like a wind-up doll. Get me going, shoved into the car, and I stay upright for a certain amount of time before the batteries run down and I have to eat. By the time we'd reached the restaurant I had in mind, seated ourselves at the counter overlooking the bay, I had disappeared. At least until the food arrived. I couldn't even listen to Parker and C. talk about whether there really was a white cross in back of the light house way across the water. The waitress didn't know, but by then C. and Parker had fabricated a story about all the fishermen lost at sea and this memorial. (Which later turned out to be something entirely different.

My aim had been to eat and then walk to Fort Sewall (1742, an earthworks fort) where I've been any number of times. I couldn't imagine walking further than the first bench (about 100 miles), but ended up making my way all around it and looking into the gated windows of the minute kitchen, guard and storage rooms. That's where Parker told us about the Sari.

While C. was driving around Marblehead earlier, I spotted a boat storage area and asked him to stop (he'd already stopped many times so Parker could photograph forsythia, lobster pots, a wooden swing in the middle of an island of daffodils. Later they would climb up into the cemetery and find gravestones so old that the writing has disappeared.) so that Parker could photograph the wrapped boats. And I found myself, for the first time, VOLUNTARILY getting out of the car and going to take pictures myself.

For several years I'd compulsively photographed (with film, black and white) any wrapped items, buildings under construction in winter, plastic wrapped boats, etc., with the intention of making a mock-Christo (sp?) piece. (His/his wife's work has so penetrated my references.) I never did, but here I was, VOLUNTARILY walking somewhere that was a mere luxury (instead of toward Ping and the Sushi bar...). Or toward my classroom, where I will go today.

That was quite a surprise. A fabulous day. Six hours outside. And Parker will be here until Thursday!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the eloquent and enthusiastic portrait of Parker and the account of your trip. Daffodils and forsythia: it must be spring in New England.

    Love from Mim