We’d climb on old gondolas and tugs and dugout canoes illuminated only by a translucent, fiberglass ceiling. We could see the pine needles and dirt accumulating in rows along the corrugated roof from inside the building. We played underneath a white, fallow field blessed by inattention and sunlight.
A sign in the aisles said not to climb on the boats, sure, but no one was ever in the room with us: no docent, guard, member, or guest. Only birds.
We inherited my grandmother’s chaise lounge. Mimi died at 91 with enough possessions to fill a two-bedroom apartment and its patio, where this chaise held forth with about four other wrought-iron pieces. Mimi was a raconteur, and almost everybody in town knew her back when the town was that small, before I was born. My [...]
Bethany’s fall semester ended in late January, and her spring semester begins in early April. She’s been traveling around Japan in the two-month interim, staying in hostels and meeting up with friends.
Now she’s working on an organic farm in Nagano, which a lot of us older Westerners may remember as the home of the 1998 winter Olympics. She’s neither farming nor skiing, though. She’s earning her room and board by doing odd chores and helping her host with her seamstress business. Bethany loves crafts, so it’s a good match that way.
In the morning, I can read only in her basement. Every other room has someone sleeping in it, usually on a couch or floor. Betty’s house is small, but it’s big enough. One toilet and bath got seven of us through with a little charity. I fixed the toilet yesterday and was treated like a [...]
Last month at Kenyon’s Gund Gallery, Victoria and I moved among Bethany’s hundred-and-forty-odd, glowing and pulsing sculptures. As our eyes adjusted to the dark, we found that we were becoming part of the installation. It was ourselves, and not the sculptures, that we began to see and understand.
This secret knowledge hid us from later visitors, at least from those who didn’t stay long enough to discover that the sculptures’ lights weren’t static. The lights pulsed neither in unison nor in disregard for one another. I sat under them to see how they got along, much as I spent long stretches on beds of pine needles as a kid wondering how the trees got along.