Norsk love and other thrilling tales

I won’t endure these half-filled human masks;
better, the puppet. It at least is full.
I’ll put up with the stuffed skin, the wire, the face
that is nothing but appearance. Here. I’m waiting.
Even if the lights go out; even if someone 
tells me “That’s all”; even if emptiness
floats toward me in a gray draft from the stage;
even if not one of my silent ancestors
stays seated with me, not one woman, not
the boy with the immovable brown eye—
I’ll sit here anyway. One can always watch.
…—Am I not right
to feel as if I must stay seated, must
wait before the puppet stage, or, rather,
gaze at it so intensely that at last,
to balance my gaze, an angel has to come and
make the stuffed skins startle into life.
Angel and puppet: a real play, finally.
Then what we separate by our very presence
can come together. And only then, the whole
cycle of transformation will arise,
out of our own life-seasons. Above, beyond us,
the angel plays. If no one else, the dying
must notice how unreal, how full of pretense,
is all that we accomplish here, where nothing
is allowed to be itself.   – Rainer Maria Rilke

What a beautiful day. Ahh, I love days like this, relaxing at home after a full and interesting weekend. Actually, it’s still the weekend for us because it’s Scott’s day off, and since it’s raining (again, hello to Oregon winter…and autumn, and spring…and, well, most of this past summer, too) we really don’t have much planned. Over the last couple weekends Scott’s been adding shelves to our mini storage unit so our one outside chore was to head over to my folks’ to get a few of the boxes we’ve stored there for two years. That was our big event for the day. Now we’re ready to cozy in and watch movies. On ‘movie days’ we generally take turns choosing.

I had first pick, which we watched while eating lunch. It was a Norwegian thriller called Zero Kelvin, about a poet who takes a job as a professional hunter in Greenland, living with two seasoned hunters out in the middle of Godforsaken nowhere, and of course various horrible incidences of mayhem ensue over the course of the movie as the three men progressively lose their ability to cope with each other. Yyyes. While Scott didn’t like it much, I really did. I adore psychological thrillers, for the same reason I love supernatural horrors: both genres explore the human shadow, the soul, the cobwebby corners we cower in until emotional trauma forces us out into the open. Maybe it’s the cold bleakness of the landscape, but Scandinavians sure know how to explore their shadows–I can’t get enough of their movies right now, or their books. I spent a happy half hour this morning exploring new Norwegian and Swedish authors via the library site; I’ll be neck deep in thrillers for as long as my fascination holds.

Early on Saturday I bundled up in a scarf and heavy sweater, since it had snowed the night before, and went out to breakfast with my mom, one of our favorite things to do. This time we went to the Blackberry Cafe in Welches, off the freeway heading east to Mt. Hood. The drive up was spectacular. Though the snow had melted down in Sandy, where we live, it was still quite present in the higher elevations, and the hills surrounding Mt Hood itself were absolutely gorgeous blanketed in snow-frosted fir. I love Oregon. The cafe was warm and inviting, and it was one of those days where everybody just seems happy. Or maybe I was happy and that’s why it seemed that way–probably both! The waitress was friendly, the chef came out to ask how we liked our food (delicious), and my mom and I had a wonderful time talking and eating together. After breakfast we went to a small bazaar in a building next to the restaurant. It was sparsely furnished with only a few tables and vendors but it was well worth visiting because I met a woman, one of the artisans, that I really liked.

Susan is probably a little younger than me, very genuine and open, an artist who loves the same type of media I do, meaning just about all of it. She used to teach elementary school and had an art studio back east, but since she’s lived here she’s worked as a long-haul truck driver and does her art at her kitchen table. We discussed some of the paintings she had on display and how she did them; I learned a lot, stuff like: watercolor painted on gessoed canvas and then sprayed with a sealer comes out looking almost like oil, how to use watercolor pencils, the best poor man’s choice of pens for ink drawings. She showed me her art journal. We talked a bit about our families, and even touched a little deeper on who we are as people. We exchanged phone numbers. All in the space of about twenty minutes.

Meeting folks with whom I experience a genuine connection is rare for me these days because I’m around people only hit-and-miss. I’m not involved in any organizations, no church or work or club that has me socializing with the same group consistently, so it’s not as easy as it used to be to make friends. My sister-in-law Sherrie is a wunderkind at this; I have never met anyone who can make friends out of thin air as easily and well as she can. If she likes someone she meets, be it restaurant owner, candy shop clerk, neighbor (or all the neighbors), whomever, it doesn’t matter, in no time they’ll be at each others’ homes, going out to eat together, shopping, spending holidays together, being genuine friends. So, taking a page from her book, I’m going to give Susan a call after Thanksgiving and ask if she wants to come over for tea. I hope she does.

After our excursion, I had a few hours at home before we drove to the AntFarm’s fundraiser in Clackamas that evening. That was fun, too. Dad bought a table for eight and we filled it up with our family, plus Torie’s new beau Josh, whom we all stinking LOVE. Aside from bluegrass music that was really great but way way waaay too loud for the space, the evening was a huge success and they made lots of money, go AntFarm!

That was Saturday. Last night, Sunday, Van stopped by for awhile, though he couldn’t stay long–he had to get back home to Vancouver because of early work the next day–and Torie, Josh, and Josh’s brother Cody came over for homemade pizza and the Stephen King movie Pet Sematary, which I’d never seen. Oh my gosh, what a howler, and I mean it was cheesy in the extreme, but it was really fun to watch with a full house. Then Jess and Amber came over and Jess told us a bit about his trip to the Redwoods in California, which he’d just returned from earlier that day–it had been a weeklong trek along the Lost Coast with his Wilderness Leadership classmates and instructors, and one of the best experiences he’s ever had. They stayed until one a.m…. three hours before my usual waking time… but I didn’t care. Last night was a blast. I love being surrounded by these vibrant young people–they’re all so positive, literally zinging with enthusiasm and passion for life. They’re good for me.

And Thanksgiving is coming! And coffee out with my friend Linda the Friday after! It’s been, and will continue to be, a wonderful week for relationships, and I really needed that.

Well, time for the next movie. What will it be? (Scott picked The Jackal.) On the way home from my parents’ we stopped at the library to pick up my two books on hold: The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill and The Inverted Forest by John Dalton. I’m not sure which I’ll read first. I just read Heaven’s Lake by Dalton and really enjoyed it; unfortunately he’s a new author so he only has the two books. Ooh yes, I’m once again in the mood for fiction. Lots of novels! Lots of yummy Scandinavian movies! Must be winter all right. I hope everyone is having a wonderful day. Love! xo

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Filed under Beloveds, Cold places, Creative, Fambly, Friends, Poems, Stuff to read

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