Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mount to the Sky!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky . . .

I was put strongly in mind of that couplet from Clement Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas” on Monday when out driving.  There was a mild hurricane blowing as a cold front came into town and dry leaves from the trees and streets went whipping by in a colorful blizzard.  And sure enough, when they came to a tall fence or a house, whoop! They soared upward.  There’s something exciting about being out in a strong wind, and  my heart was full of pleasant excitement as I drove around.

In the afternoon three of us went to see “The Martian.”  I really liked it; my husband, the one with the PhD in nuclear physics and an ardent amateur cosmologist, saw many scientific false steps in it - though none gratuitous or really stupid - but allowed that it was, even so, a good movie.  What I liked was the “never say die” attitude of the stranded astronaut and his rescuers.  Good stuff.  Take your older kids to see it – though be warned, there’s some bad language.

I got my office cleaned up yesterday, too - hurrah!  I found an old table lamp on the give-away table in our underground parking garage a week or two ago.  I took the shade off it and put on as a replacement the Thai peasant hat I bought from a postcard vendor in Bangkok – well, not from her; it was her son, who came running up to me with it when I indicated I wasn’t interested in postcards, but the hat she was wearing, until I saw how raggedy it was.  He had gotten somewhere a brand new one.  I had seen lots of Thais wearing the hat and they looked so exotic and beautiful with their little faces peering from under it, so I had to buy one.  It was big and clumsy to bring home, but I managed – and I’ve been looking for something to do with it because, not having a sweet little face, I look ridiculous wearing it.  The base of the lamp is wrapped in narrow strips of rattan, and that’s what the hat is made of, too, so they go well together.  When the lamp is lit, you can see the underlayment of the hat is made of very narrow strips of rattan making a criss-cross pattern.  The lamp is now in my office, sitting on a low chest of drawers I keep needlework stuff in, under a very large color print I bought in Bangkok, of a scene from the Legend of the White Monkey.  The picture is surmounted by a length of magnificent hand-woven silk also bought in Thailand.  The effect is cozy and pleasant, as well as evocative of that grand travel adventure of some years back.  And, of course, the adventure helped greatly with the plot of Thai Die.

So here are two photos, one of the “cozy” effect of just the lit lamp; and another that shows the amazing White Monkey gathering his friends into his mouth to protect them from an approaching enemy.  (When I saw it in an art gallery, I thought it was depicting a demon gathering damned souls into his mouth – a good theme for a mystery author who prefers the guilty to be deservedly revealed and punished in her books.)


Linda O. Johnston said...

I saw "The Martian" too and really enjoyed it. Glad to hear that even if it wasn't completely scientifically viable, it kind of worked!

Dee W said...

Love the lamp, shade and print! What a great remembrance of your trip, and yes, I am looking forward to your new book! Have a great day.

Betty Hechtman said...

What a great way to use the hat!