The work is coming very slowly, refracted, refractory. I hear my name like it's coming through water. I left the blank page and went uptown.
I looked up "refractory" after I typed it because I didn't want to confuse it with "refectory." OS X's Oxford American Dictionary offers the example his refractory pony. I love this.
I hadn't been to the Cloisters before. Almost one year ago Ben & I rode bikes over the George Washington Bridge and back and then went to Fort Tryon Park. It's one of those memories that's still very present, I see the day crisply, it felt like leaving New York. I wanted to get away from this and go to that.
Really I wanted my own cloister. The Cloisters themselves are lovely, but they're a museum, and filled with people, babies, shovers. The atrophy of experience: digital cameras trained on pietas, dry fountains, unicorn tapestries. There is a terrace that wraps around the building from which you can see the Hudson and I guess New Jersey. I was looking for quiet. I found it in the Heather Garden of the park outside.
In the grass on the hill I read the The Last Life by Claire Messud, and the gears slowed. I didn't have any expectations for clarity. Vague hopes that The Project (there's always a project, but this time it's a large looming one) would crystallize or stand down or make a tenuous promise to stop confounding, but I read and looked at the river and thought some about my block, where I would have been had I not caught the train.
Something broke. I had one of the tiny Field Notes books with me and things started to make sense. I diagrammed ideas, wrote myself notes for later concerning the manageability of the work in case I was seized by anything resembling doubt masquerading as procrastination.
Oh! The last time I scribbled about museum-going, Lynn & I went to the Dia:Beacon in the Hudson Valley. I took these pictures on our trip, which I'm honored to report are featured in the latest issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review, accompanying Lawrence Wechsler's (one of my favorite writers) article on Robert Irwin. You can't see the photos on the VQR site, but you should consider checking out the hard copy for Wechsler's always riveting prose. Here are the photos:
Now I've got spring fever. I'm a mess of allergies and sunlight and already mourning summer's passing. This winter was kind of the pits. Better things are drawn to summer, they want to happen then. When I finished a perfect 70-degree run last weekend, Lance Armstrong's voice came eerily on via my Nike+ iPod thingy and congratulated me on my longest run to date. Which is not true, since I've only had this gadget for about a year or so and I just recently allowed it to talk to me. Am I inclined to run farther to win Lance's love again? Yes. Yes I am. Why am I so easily seduced?
I think it's spring. The construction has abated, the days are long and therefore manageable. There is enough space in them for coffee on the corner and walking to the cleaners in Gramercy and getting A Moveable Feast from the library and seeing a movie about people who won't feel whole until they're paralyzed. Yeah, I saw that movie, Quid Pro Quo, tonight. Nick Stahl is aging strangely but attractively. Vera Farmiga is several varieties of troubling. The movie's got some moments. But then it's got some moments and you're just like who greenlit that.
Days wide and warm, in which I wander listening to back episodes of the Fresh Air podcast. Springtime, you count. I will wear a daisy in my hair.