Since last I wrote, I’ve been to Greenville, Alabama, and Charlottesville, Virginia.
It was a week to gather with family and friends to remember Uncle Dan, my dad’s only brother. Solemn and hilarious, heavy and light, dark and bright. Why does so much of life parse into such even measures? I heard “Danny Boy” on a bagpipe, witnessed deviled eggs that stood on their ends like little egg-white Jefferson cups. I had barbecue from a hut beside a Shell station, and I heard an extraordinary eulogy from Dan’s son Dan.
“Amazing Grace,” “Ode to Joy,” “Morning Has Broken,” “Shall We Gather at the River.” Cousins from all over. Siblings from all over.
Just before we left Charlottesville, we made a trip up to Monticello–Dad, brother Aubrey, and sister-in-law Celine. In the light snow I thought about how Jefferson’s life of the mind resembled my uncle’s. Restless, curious. Complicated.
At one point, I was about a foot from this Gilbert Stuart portrait:
That empty, green background makes the portrait sing, doesn’t it?
The travel was a complete tragicomedy on the way home: a failed de-icing that felt like a recent Carnival cruise, an overnight in Charlotte, and an extra leg through DC. At one point, we sat in a packed bus, way out on a bleak tarmac, parked for an hour in front of an airplane with a closed door and no sign of activity. An excellent exercise in letting go.
It gave my dad and me plenty of time to cogitate on the state of the universe.
At least I had a simple project that kept me distracted.
London Cowling, with Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, one of the great yarns, in Oyster.