Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy Weekend

Even though Halloween has become a retail-driven holiday, with row upon row of bags of candy, lights, cheap costumes, a fair number of people still make home-made decorations.  One house on our block has a crowd of these milk-jug skeletons handing from the branches of their evergreen tree.  They aren't especially spooky, but they do catch the morning light in an interesting way.

On Friday the Janesville Art League took a bus trip west to Mineral Point.  The past few years artists in southwestern Wisconsin have sponsored a studio tour.  Painters, sculptors, potters, woodworkers, mixed media folks, all open their studios to the public.  Mineral Point, an old town with a Cornish heritage has been a favorite stop for my husband and I for years.  We've toured the historic homes, visited Pendarvis, the old Cornish mining area, eaten in old pubs, and browsed among antiques.  The Art League folks concentrated  on the galleries that have sprung up in many of the storefronts.  I spotted a good view through a window in an antique store, and took this photo.

Saturday I volunteered to portray Nellie Tallman, wife of a wealthy Janesville businessman in the Rock County Historical Society cemetery tour.  I've done this twice before, but I enjoyed this year particularly because the day was so sunny and warm.  Guides escorted six or seven groups of history buffs through the oldest part of Oakhill Cemetery, stopping to hear short talks from volunteers dressed up to portray historic locals Dr. Henry Palmer (1827-1895), Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1862-1895), Catherine Holmes Atwood (1820-1902), Levi Alden (1815-1893), A. Hyatt Smith (1814-1892).  

In between groups I sat reading beneath a hickory tree, and was startled to see a three-inch walking stick insect hiking across my black-gloved hand.  He wasn't the only creature I saw. Squirrels and all sorts of birds were out, feeding on nuts and berries.   

I don't have many decorations that are specifically for Halloween, but I have become fond of my old plastic jack-o-lantern light.  It gets plugged in at the beginning of October, and stays up for the month.

I found this poem in my 2008 Wisconsin Poet's Calendar.  I thought of it after I looked at the photos I took this weekend.

Repairing the Breach, by C.J. Muchhala

Killed for their knowledge
of belladona, ergot,
fleabane and rue, the women
lie fallow under snow.

Their moon-blood
clots in ruby seeds below
the frost line.

When the rains come
the women run
twiggy fingers through
stalks of hair, unknot
their woodbane girdles.

They dance.

In slippery crotch
of sacred oak,
they dance beyond
their howls, their burning.

Blackbirds fan
dark wings above
their blessed bones.

No comments: