May 6, 2008

BRAMBLES (Brief Rambles) 2:2008 May 5—Temporary Art, Bull-Headedness?-Arachnophobia


A passage in Maya Angelou’s book, Even the Stars Look Lonesome, reads: The simple materials (of West African women) are forged into plastic designs that will be as temporary as the length of time between rainfalls, and with no lasting staying power against the insistent sun. These artists, however, do not seem to need promises of longevity, nor do they exhibit a craving for notice out of the ordinary.

While observing sand sculptors, from the very young to the accomplished, along the beaches of New England, I felt a twinge that their works would be washed away with the next high tide. I felt it was a shame to lose such devoted, talented artwork. Yet one artist who had created several complex, eye-catching, sand sculptures told me that he knew they would be washed away, and it didn’t matter. And children laughed as their sand castles fell with the lapping waves.

These artists, both the West African women and the American sand sculptors, do not seem to need the promises of longevity. Yet, when I create something, I want to hold it dear to my heart before sharing it. Then I want to preserve it to share with everyone I care about.

Perhaps this is because of my un-rootedness. Perhaps the West African women of which Maya speaks are rooted, have been in the same place for generations. Are my feelings a byproduct of experiencing broken relationships and loss of place?

The passage continues: In fact, one of the most notable characteristics of house painting among West African women is the camaraderie found among women sharing the creation of design. Family members and those attached by friendship often join together in the industry of decoration. When they do, it is agreed that the principal owner will contribute the major design, but it is also expected that every woman will bring something of her own to add to the overall effect.

The African saying is proved true: Sea never dry.

This gives me an interesting idea. Could my family members and friends create design together? This sounds like such a neat idea. Perhaps an easel, paints and canvas would form an interesting addition to my patio this summer. The daily creations, “graffiti,” perhaps, would be painted away each night, with the new canvas ready to be recreated with the dawn of each new day. Will this art would be a bridge connecting us to a wider world and a broader experience?


It was reported in the Looking Back column of the April 17, 2008, that 75 years ago (April 19, 1933) a G. B. Heiple, age 70, veteran auctioneer from Waterford (PA), suffered severe injuries Monday evening when an angry bull attacked him while he was attempting to drive it from a field.

Then there is the story from the October 19, 1791, journal of a French land speculator, Madame Rosalie de la Val. She had just acquired a farm in Lamoine, Maine, and was purchasing a cow and a bull from nearby Gouldsborough, Maine. They embarked on a ship with the creatures, and when they returned to their Lamoine farm, they had the problem of removing the beasts from the ship, anchored away from shore, to the farm. She went ashore while others solved the problem: they shoved the bull and the cow into the water, and they got to the riverbank by swimming.

I laughed when I read this, picturing a crew of men loading the beasts on the boat, then shoving them off into the water and watching them swim ashore.

I wonder: did they ever worry about the bull turning and attacking them? That happened to a man in Japan. When a cow was being delivered to a slaughter house in Yakkaichi, it bolted to freedom and led about two dozen police on a nearly four-mile car chase through town. One man was sent to the hospital unconscious. Security cameras showed the frenzied 1,600 pound animal zigzagging across a parking lot and then darting down a street, hotly pursued by a stream of patrol cars. (Tribune-Review DATELINES from wire reports, June 5, 2006)

Guess that cow was also bull-headed—no way did it want to go to the slaughter house! Can you blame her?


Today, as I sit for the first time this spring season in the corner of the enclosed sun porch, I wonder if my guest from previous years will return. I wrote about her in for a writer’s prompt, THE TIME IS NOW…, at a Beanery Writers Group (Latrobe, PA) meeting:

I had a special guest this month. Rachney, as I dubbed this orb spider, presented me with a museum-style display of her life when she wove her web outside a window by my desk. I could safely watch her during her sojourn here as I did my paperwork.

At first the large yellow-marked black spider seemed intimidating, but after researching her on the I-net I discovered she’s a common garden spider who likes sunny spots on small shrubbery. (click on THE TIME IS NOW… to read this post)

The “now” time I referenced was that it was time to overcome arachnophobia.

Rachney’s presence just outside my window was appropriate, I discovered, when I read a site on the spider’s symbolism in the Native American culture, where it represents creativity. The spider’s eight legs symbolize the four winds of change and the four directions on the medicine wheel. It’s eight-shaped body represents infinite possibilities.

“”Spider people” must look beyond the web of illusion of the physical world and look beyond the horizon to other dimensions… Remember who you are as you create who you will be.” (

I wonder if Emily, at age five when she told her story of Mr. Albert the Spider, instinctively understood through her Native American heritage that the spider had symbolism.

“Emily, how many legs does this spider have?”
“One, two—three—four,”
“Now count the other side.”
“Five—six, seven—eight legs!”

What color is it?”

I hope that Rachney—or one of her progeny—will return this summer, to inspire me eliminate any remnants of arachnophobia (which stays under control as long as a window separates us) and also to make massive strides on my historic romance novel and historic journal article.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] too the new world, from Virginia to Maine, was replete with wild animals. Tales of one, the beave…EaselsEasels. … Base size: 21??? x 21-1/2??? tray: 21??? Easy assembly without tools Weight: 25 […]

    Pingback by high style easel — June 5, 2008 @ 8:29 am | Reply

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