Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crepuscular display

Part of the herd
deer photos by dk

From the Rivera mural in the DIA-we are all cogs in the great machine

The Wisteria Gate which we initially found closed

For the last two days, the city tree crews have been by pruning the trees and then with their big truck, grinding up the branches. This process is extremely fascinating to Oliver. He'd happily watch them all day risking hearing loss as it is a very noisy operation. Yesterday the crew was right next to my house although my city tree didn't need pruning. When new houses go up in Ann Arbor, one or two city trees are planted on their easement between the sidewalk and the street. A variety of different trees are used so neighborhoods don't face total deforestation such as due to Dutch Elm disease although the city has plenty of elms that escaped that. Our neighborhood had a disproportionate amount of ash trees though and the ash borer killed all of them. I believed I have a Norway maple but the tree man said that it is not a Norway but a sugar maple. It is very early spring so there aren't even buds on the trees so he was identifying it from its root patterns. He said the maple in my yard though is a Norway.

Yesterday was my last visit with Shanna and the precious boys. I showed Oliver my first crocus and he promptly picked it-purple-one of his words. They go back to Boston today. Shanna promised a more extended stay this summer with more 'Sue' time.

Later, it was off to Fashionable Ferndale and The Fly Trap-a 'finer diner' with my friend to score some tasty pho. On to the Detroit Institute of Arts. We were turned away from the main parking lot puzzling as there were no special exhibits there that I knew of. Turns out that some real estate tycoon was having his funeral at the DIA. He had lots of well-dressed, rich looking friends too. I wanted to show my friend the Diego Rivera murals-the showpiece of the place and I was especially interested as I had just read a novel somewhat based on his life. During the Red Scare time, the museum had to put up a sign decrying Rivera's politics but said the murals would not be destroyed due to their artistic merit. But the Wisteria Gates to the Rivera Court were closed for the hotshot's reception!!! Soon they opened so the help could bring in food and we went into the court promising not to eat the food. Two of the Rivera experts suddenly appeared to answer any questions about Rivera we might have. They reminded me of the Book People (Naomi's writing assignment this week concerned Fahrenheit 451 and the few people left in the world that appreciated literature each chose one book to memorize). I had asked one of them about Frida Kahloe, also a person of interest to me and Rivera's wife. No she just knows about Rivera.

As a child, I remember just 3 works of the museum: the Rivera murals as they were so large, Van Gogh's self-portrait-interesting as he had cut off his own ear, and Copely's Watson and the Shark showing a boy desperately trying to swim away from a shark gnawing on his leg.

The museum has many German artists that I know very little about. My favorite era is that of the Impressionists. My favorite museum being Musee D'Orsay in Paris-Impressionist's Central.

Later that evening, a few of us sat in the last warm evening for a while sipping wine listening to the spring peepers, which would suddenly stop for no reason we could fathom, and watching the deer herd silently strolling in front of us. It consists of about 10 individuals. When the peepers stopped, we could hear the trills of the red-winged blackbirds. Soon more wildlife appeared as the sun set, bats and a lone raccoon who didn't seem too concerned about our proximity emerged. As it became darker, the deer became more bold and edged closer to us. Underneath us, we could hear something scratching and fussing; we assumed another raccoon. But shortly after we became too cold and it was too dark to appreciate much, the skunk sprayed the house.

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