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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Just last night I spoke with a young friend. I’d sent her a greeting card depicting a cat, sleek and gilded and sparkling with jewels. You see, my young friend tends toward attire that also catches the light. She’d had the card framed and was trying to decide where to hang it on her wall. She already had framed a picture of an owl (I can’t remember if I’d sent her that). She asked, do you think the owl and the cat can be placed side by side? do you think they’d get along? I replied in surprise, my dear! have you never heard of the owl and the pussycat? She hadn’t. She asked, what’s the gist? I told her that I’d share the poem in full in a while but for now it was quite alright, indeed quite wonderful, for the owl and the pussycat to be close on her wall.

The Owl and the Pussycat was first published in 1871 by Edward Lear.  A poem once often told and memorized in schools. A nonsense poem that sparked the imagination. Prequels have been written, and sequels, and many a reinterpretation.  I’m not sure that the original is shared as often as it used to be. As National Poetry Month wraps up, read the poem for yourself on the Poetry Foundation website.  And here is unique interpretation of the story available as a print at LangosyArts.

The Owl and the Pussycat Print by Zoe Langosy

The Owl and the Pussycat Print by Zoe Langosy

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Art by Maya

Art by Maya

Can you guess which one is me? A lovely gift from a young friend. A drawing of us out and about in the sun. She’s part of my informal Kids Postcard Club. My next step is to turn her artwork into a postcard and give her a few, along with postcard stamps, so she can share her work with friends and family near and far. We’ll see … 😉

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A butterfly mobile. A gift given many years ago by a friend. The wings are growing a bit threadbare and dust is adding a fuzzy film. Regardless, still a lovely source of inspiration, and occasionally contemplation,  whenever it catches the light.

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Lin A. Nulman is an Adjunct Professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College.  Her poetry has appeared in Black Water Review, Tanka Splendor, and the anthology Regrets Only: Contemporary Poets on the Theme of Regret, among others. Lin puts her heart and soul into teaching and while I’ve yet to take a formal class, I have felt a student. In her own unique ways, she has challenged me to both appreciate and expand upon the work that I do as writer and photographer. It’s with pleasure I share Lin’s words and images about her grandmother, a great influence in her life.

photo by Lin A. Nulman

“Oh, you see one tree, you’ve seen them all,” a woman once said to my grandmother, who had just remarked on a tree she found beautiful. Gram repeated the comment throughout my childhood as “the saddest thing I ever heard anyone say.” I think so, too, and I’m thankful for the gift of knowing why.

We took walks when I was a little girl, and even not so little, in our neighborhoods and on the beach. Often Gram would stop to look at something commonplace, such as weeds in a patch by the side of the road. Isn’t it amazing, she would say, how Nature creates so many shapes of leaves in just this one place?

photo by Lin A. Nulman

photo by Lin A. Nulman

Eventually I reached the age of impatience with what grown-ups noticed that wasn’t rare blue beach glass or a good climbing tree. But even when I felt impatient, I knew I could see what she was talking about. I don’t know if Gram believed in God, certainly not in a kindly God, but she did deeply believe in Nature, wonderful and endlessly giving. If you looked at it that way. And I do, and I have to, despite all the other ways my eyes still need to open. Her view was one of my starting places, creatively and spiritually.

photo by Lin A. Nulman

Recently a latent love for bohemian style has sprouted in me, thanks in part to author and blogger Justina Blakeney. I stay up too late turning pages of her new book and feeling out of breath. Justina defines bohemian style as the product of “a creative life and an active engagement in the search for alternative ideals of beauty…Our worldly collections are as eclectic as we are…Decorating is about feeling free, having fun, rejecting traditional notions about what goes with what…and getting a little bit wild.” [I’m quoting from her introduction to The New Bohemians: Cool & Collected Homes. UNputdownable.]

photo by Lin A. Nulman

photo by Lin A. Nulman

Even my 1906 copy of Putnam’s Handbook of Etiquette warns New York High Society about the habits of “Bohemia”, over there in Greenwich Village, beyond “the borders of wise convention”, definitely over the edge and unacceptably wild.

photo by Lin A. Nulman

photo by Lin A. Nulman

Her book was in my mind recently on a walk through the Fens, one jewel in the Emerald Necklace of green spaces that loops through Boston. It has a wide area of community gardens, where dozens of people fulfill their own visions with flowers, trees, bushes, berries, vegetables, bamboo, grasses, and leafy plants. It is a wonderful place to open my grandmother’s eyes, to see the shades and shapes Nature creates in just one corner of a park, sometimes helped along by a little human artistry: a painted gate, a statue, a purple disco ball. On this walk, my looking as I was taught to look revealed Nature, to my joy, as The First and Ultimate Bohemian. Everything goes with everything, so feel free and always be a little bit wild.

photo by Lin A. Nulman

photo by Lin A. Nulman

I challenged myself to photograph the gardens in December, without most of the flowers to help, and still found colors and forms running madly, beautifully together, eye-catching contrasts of silhouette, especially as I lost the light, and small places full of texture and depth. Thanks, Gram.

photo by Lin A. Nulman

photo by Lin A. Nulman

Please look for my blog, The Creative Part-Timer, in early 2016.

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Many things have caught my eyes in the fading autumn light. Shadows on the ground. Angels in stained glass windows. Parsley fading in my indoor garden.  I have snapped shots of them all and yet it is the detail from two leaves given by a friend that I choose to share this day.

She handed them to me as she raced out the door, baby in one hand, and two leaves in the other. She said she thought of me as she saw them, and as she’s done in the past, she added with a smile, “Now, see what you can do with these.” Encouragement is always good. 😉

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A very young friend to whom I send postcards recently gave me a gift in return.

Flowers from her first garden.

A beautiful sight in the morning light.

Thanks, Vanessa. 😉

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It is a sad title but it has been a beautiful journey.  An unexpected gift from a friend of a bouquet of tulips with encouragement to photograph its form. And so I have over the past couple of weeks.  But these may be the final images, I think, pink petals resting in a gold goblet catching the last of winter’s light.

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