Archive for October, 2009

bog painting

This oil painting by artist Jan Roberts hangs over our bed.  It depicts the bay at our northern home, and serves to remind us that the wild woods and water are always with us. 

The picture appears to be hanging in a crooked fashion, but not so.  It was the photographer who was lopsided.  The person in the painting, with the coffee mug on the pier, is me in my Irish sweater on a stormy March day. 

I’m thankful that we’re still surrounded by nature in Southern Wisconsin.  In a suburban community people can sometimes be so  preoccupied with their agendas that they fail to notice the wildness around them–whereas in the northwoods wildness dominates.  But having lived in a wild place for 8 years, I know that an awarenss of our natural world will always be foremost in my heart and soul. 

Everywhere we go, there’s beauty.  Joe and I have breakfast at a bistro in Delafield on Saturdays, and then we explore local side roads for rummage sales.  The byways in this area have a kind of mystical quality, as they’re lined with ancient, gnarled trees (many prairie oaks) which twist and bend over the road, creating arches simulating an entrance to a Gothic cathedral.

Our condo home looks out to a nature preserve on the far side of the park which we call “our front yard”.  Due to current orthopedic issues, I have’t been able to explore the preserve–but I will as soon as I can.   Neighbors have told us that deer, coyotes, and bobcats live in there, as well as smaller critters.  That report delights my heart.

Last night while dozing off, a great horned owl began to “whooo . . . .” right outside our bedroom window.  He (or she) kept up the welcome refrain for at least 10 minutes, lulling me off to dreamland and assuring me that I am forever wild.

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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You are looking at one of our bathrooms, decorated in a style Louis L’Amour would have liked–and so would have my dad who loved the west.  I have Dad’s spurs hanging on the outside of the cabinet behind the person taking the picture (me).  The framed horseman on the left, behind an Arizona Tea bottle, is Dad.  The horselady on the right (scarcely visible behind the drinking glass on the sink) is our granddaughter, Leah.  The colorful Native American is a sample of my “original art”.  🙂

After looking at this photo of our fun and funky bathroom, I began to wonder:  how do the photographers who shoot photos for home decorating magazines manage to capture mirrors without including the person taking the picture?  Are they vampires, generally reputed to have no reflection?  (Of course I’m not serious about the vampires, but isn’t it fun to be silly?!)

I love the way one word can trigger countless rabbit trails of thought.  Mirror!  Perhaps the first thing that might come to anyone’s mind on hearing the word “mirror” is not a thing, but a fictional person:  the evil queen/witch who said, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is fairest of them all?” 

I first viewed the film, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS in 1938, at the mature age of five, and that one-liner has stuck in my head through all these years.  Of course I’ve read the real version, the classic by The Brothers Grimm, many times–and I never fail to visualize that blood thirsty, jealous queen.

Quite a few years back I read a quote by a famous movie actress who testified that she got out of her bathtub one morning, looked in her bathroom mirror, and said “I’m no longer the most beautiful woman in the world.” 

(This woman was a fine actress as well as a beauty, with huge, dark eyelashes which may have helped her to accumulate an astounding number of husbands.  Like most of us she enjoyed eating, which tended to show.)

I’m glad I never was the world’s most beautiful woman!  What a burden that would be.  Hence I take my avoirdupois for granted, and my husband likes me “as is”.  It’s never a shock when I glance into the mirror.  It’s simply business as usual.  What some might consider preening in the mirror is most apt to be just looking for basal cells. 

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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