I know that lots of schools begin their year in August, but here most of our public schools begin the day after Labor Day. That was true when I was a child as well, and even now I feel the pull of that new adventure. Which of course requires new supplies. Apparently I’m feeling the call of gold and dots and a trip to Paper Source supplied a beautiful fix. I’m certainly ready to labor with more joy now.
Speaking of labor, yesterday, Labor Day, was day four of our city’s annual Fringe Festival – the performance festival that seeks to push boundaries both with experimental works and in offering them in neighborhood settings that allow folks who may not have regular exposure to the arts a chance to delight in them. It’s always a wonderful couple of weekends with 50 or so plays in the offering.
Yesterday we attended a solo performance play by Steve Duchrow called Peddler of Dreams: Two Feet, One Idea, Two Thousand Miles. It was a tale of Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay who in 1906 walked across America. He was on a mission to spread his Gospel of Beauty, imploring folks to “strive to make their own home and neighborhood the most beautiful, the most democratic and the holiest in the world” through the devotion to arts and democracy. He refused all transportation, money and companions and carried only his book of poetry called “Rhymes to be Traded for Bread” – accepting a night’s lodging and a meal in trade for performing his work.
The play was a delight, and like all good pieces of art, it has lingered in my mind. It has me thinking about what my Gospel of Beauty might be. This may be yet another call to write a manifesto. But in any case, I was thinking a lot about beauty today as I dismantled my Venus Retrograde altar. While it’s now time to put up an Eclipse Season altar, I know I’ll be thinking about my own gospel of beauty as I do so.
As one of the symbols of Venus, one of the things I had on my now dismantled altar was this swan postcard art by Charley Harper. I may return it to my Eclipse altar. Swans are often considered to be solar animals, but I also feel a lunar quality to them as well, and they also represent the energies of grace and transformation which I suspect might be useful energies to hold this month.
Today also happens to be International Literacy Day. Statistics indicate that one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. I hope this is an issue we can remedy within our lifetime.
Celebrating the gift of literacy was something I thought about today also. I received an issue of Flow magazine published in the Netherlands for paper lovers. Fun and bonus points for containing a little packet of pretty papers along with some envelope templates. I’ve also begun reading the science fiction alternate history timeline novel Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card and am being swept up in it as well.
All in all, I’ve had a wonderful day thinking about and celebrating beauty and literacy, and delighting that I get to set my own curriculum in my own beauty school.
What about you? What are you reading? Laboring at? Finding beautiful? Do tell – you know I love to hear.