"Like the study of science and art, accounts of historical events can be intrinsically fascinating. But they have a wider significance. I believe that people are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas---historically, contemporaneously, and in works of art. And only equipped with such understanding can we participate knowledgeably in contemporary discussions (and decisions) about the culpability of various individuals and countries in the Second World War. Only with such understanding can we ponder the responsibilty of human beings everywhere to counter current efforts at genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice."
"...we humans are the kinds of animals who learn chiefly by observing others---what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves from day to day, and especially, what they do when they believe that no one is looking."
----Howard Gardner, from The Disciplined Mind, published in 1999

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On the Corner; or, Metta Unexpected, Part Two

Summer vacation will begin for my children on Friday morning. With the lovely challenge before me of how best to make use of the first of the last two independent mornings, I decided to visit an establishment in town that I often pass but have never visited. The reason for my visit was that I had heard that one of my dearest friends is now working there.

I've not seen her for a while, as she had been out of state for her own joyful purposes. As friends often do, we had been out of contact for a while. And so I was eager to see her.

Dear reader, I must tell you that although I had never before visited this place, I pass it every time I return from classes at night. It is a family place, an old-timey style place on the corner; with an ample porch and outdoor seating should you choose to take advantage of the beautiful day or night. At nighttime, I always look forward to seeing the glow of the lights, reflected back again through the mirrors on the back wall, and seen through the plate glass windows, and seeing all the people gathered. Just so.

It is a happy place: if Hopper had been feeling so inclined to paint Renoir's boating luncheon at the Moulin de la Galette, with an interior of the Folies Bergere, it would be a picture of what I see when I pass it at night. And it is a lovely sight, making one feel a little lighter and glad to have such warmth there on the corner, in one's own town.

Luncheon of the Boating Party, Auguste Renoir

Moulin de la Gallette, Pierre Auguste Renoir

(imagine her smiling to make a more correct reference)
Bar at the Folies-Bergere, Edouard Manet

When I entered the establishment this morning, I did not at first see my friend. I was about to leave, when the proprietor greeted me. Dear reader, imagine my surprise when I realized it was D., an acquaintance I had met through my friend, J. when J. worked in a different shop. How glad I was to see her; and not only D., but in quick succession came many good people with whom I have had happy acquaintance!

Dear reader, I wish I could convey to you the abundance of that place, and of those people. What a beautiful generousity that D., J., and L. offer, and how glad I was to be able to be with them and all our neighbors.

The old popular song says that you can't always get what you want, but you sometimes find that get what you need.
I like to think that sometimes happy finds us more often than we know, just so.

We need but open the door, say hello, and stay a while.


The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

How wonderful! (And your complimemts are appreciated but equally applicable to you. I would love to see you paint this postmodern bricolage!

neroli said...

Oh, Artist, wouldn't it fun if you could come and we could do a series together? I imagine we would gather quite an audience if we were out painting pleine aire!
Did I spell this right?
(laughing at myself)

neroli said...

PS---I did not partake of these myself, but I did see there several people having hot apple dumplings for breakfast that I believe were approximately the size of a head of lettuce. With the option of ice cream to boot---we could be Little Miss Sunshines!

Judi Bee said...

What a wonderful way to characterize the quaint shop in which I spend my work hours. It was so wonderful to see you again too, dear friend. You look awesome...relaxed and looking forward to summer.
Who says words aren't your strong suit? You are wonderful! I'll look forward to your next posting.

neroli said...

Judi Bee dear, how I've always loved your generousity! Thank you. Hope to see you again soon.