WALK ON NEW YEAR’S DAY. There was a drizzling rain all day. Mid-morning, I put on my walking shoes, hooded heavy jacket, took an umbrella, and set out for a two-mile walk. It was cold. I had not put on my gloves, and soon I wish I had. As usual, there were waves from drivers of cars and trucks, but there was nobody else out to whom I could wish a Happy New Year. I liked the cold, wet smell of the air, of the wood smoke from a chimney, of the grass and leaves. I had two thoughts. (1) A friend from Norway tells me that Norwegians think that a walk each day is just as important as a prayer to God. So be it. A New Year plan. (2) In summer, when the weather is uncomfortable, I hear people say, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.” I should start an inane refrain for winter: “It’s not the cold; it’s the dampness.” No, it’s the cold, especially when the breeze from the south chilled the dampness. When I arrived home, I thought the house felt too warm at 65-degrees. I was exhilarated and energized.
NONFICTION. Tom Chaffin, SEA OF GRAY: THE AROUND-THE-WORLD ODYSEY OF THE CONFEDERATE RAIDER SHENANDOAH. The title gives the subject, and if you like stories of the Civil War or sea adventures, you will probably enjoy this book. Chaffin writes with enthusiasm, and the narrative never slows up. The chapter “Ascension Island” could be an interesting self-contained piece. It’s excellent in detail and adventure, as is the entire book. The captain was from Pittsboro, NC !
AT THE ART MUSEUM. The North Carolina Museum of Art is exhibiting a collection of still life works from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The program is billed as “A Visual Feast,” and it is. I found several pieces that I love. Two favorites: Henri Matisse, “Vase of Flowers” from 1924, and Akira Arita, “Ten Bottles” from 1980.
The Matisse vase of flowers presents a blue-green swirled vase with large white flowers. The flowers are on a table in a room that opens to the sea. The sea is calm; there are a lone boat on the sea and a single palm tree on the beach. The interior of the room is marked by a red and white striped cloth under the window and a red and yellow-brown patterned wall paper. The light is bright, but the effect is serene. I somehow felt I had been in that room. The “Ten Bottles” by the Japanese artist is serene, almost unworldly. There are ten white bottles arranged on a taupe colored wooden table with a background of gray and white and small, muted red lines. It’s a composition in which to become lost. Just excellent. I liked most of the pictures, well enough to buy a catalogue, and I will try to visit again before the exhibit ends of January 13.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thanks for reading.