Author Archives: lisaspiral

Cabin Fever

My indoor plants are trying to be hopeful

I’m tired of snow.  So is everyone else.  There’s a whole lot of grumpy going on.

This last batch I’m sure many people just left to melt.  Indeed, the parts I didn’t shovel are pretty much cleared with the day’s sunshine.  Unfortunately I couldn’t just ignore it.  Orion’s transportation depends on a clear path from the road to the house.  Pushing the wheelchair in even 1″ of snow is a whole different chore.

I have a huge blister on my palm.  It’s from a sugar burn I got last Thursday.  I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t broken it yet, but it is a challenge.  It made shoveling especially exciting this morning.

My Facebook feed is filling up with photos of blooms.  Even here people have their seeds started indoors and there are pretty little sprouts peaking up.  Not me.  I can’t even bring myself to look through the garden catalogs.

I tried picking up some tulips.  The “happy flowers” helped for a day or two.  I tried a fire in the fireplace.  That was great until I ran out of inside wood and couldn’t bring myself to trudge through the snow to unbury more.  I tried baking (see above sugar burn).  Even getting deep into a good book is difficult.

I’m antsy.  I have spring fever.  I want to open the windows.  I want some light.  Instead I’m curled up in a sweater with a cup of hot tea scrolling through re-runs.

What’s your cure for cabin fever?

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It’s a Musical

more snow is in the forecast (and in my bones)

Snow is coming in yet again.  Not unseasonable for us here in the “cold north”.  That doesn’t make it anymore pleasant when I’m stiff from shoveling and gazing longingly at the gardening catalogs filling my mailbox.  I need to get in the car and run errands before the storm hits.

Orion and I listen to Sirius XM Broadway station whenever we’re in the car together.  It’s the station we can agree on.  We both enjoy musicals, and the Broadway repertoire includes music from every genre imaginable.

Orion is also big on filking.  He has a talent for making up lyrics on the fly.  He says, “If I was singing that song I wouldn’t sing it that way….”  and goes on to demonstrate for me.   He has some favorites.  Instead of “I Could Have Danced All Night” he sings a song about being in the hospital with the catch “I Could Have Slept All Night” (if only I wasn’t woken up every 5 minutes by an alarm, a nurse, or someone wanting to stick my arm….).

The Chanhassen was kind enough to post an article about the actual history

Because of our shared appreciation for show tunes, Orion’s birthday present to me was a trip to the Chanhassen Dinner Theater to see Newsies.   We got to go this weekend.  It’s a show set at the turn of the century (not this one, but the last one) in NYC.  The children of the city are working in sweatshops and on the streets.  One of the jobs is hawking the day’s papers.  When the big publishers decide to unexpectedly jack up the prices of the papers for the Newsies the kids decide to start a union and strike.

It’s a Disney show, so the historical content isn’t accurate.  But it does reference historical events of the time.  The strike that provides inspiration for the musical was instrumental in the development of child labor laws and the beginning of the 20th century.

On Sunday we celebrated “Ham Day”, in that I made a ham and invited a friend over for dinner.  We also scheduled it so we could watch the Jesus Christ Superstar Live broadcast.  I’m a fan of the show.  I think it’s smart, musically brilliant, and generally fun.  This production was impressive.  It was well cast.  The vocal performances were balanced.Sara Bareilles gave the best performance I’ve ever seen of Mary Magdalene’s “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”.

A flight of Scotch, hand picked by Karina

Somewhere I also found time to spend with my daughter.  She spent most of the weekend setting up for the Easter Buffet at the pub where she works.   But she deigned to include me on her Salsa dancing night.  I had a good time, and even danced a little.  I had more fun watching her.  She shines in a crowd and really loves to dance to the Latin rhythms.

Looking for trouble?

Equinox

I didn’t post a blog last week.  I had plenty to write about.  I had photos. I theoretically had time.   I just spent that time in bed recovering from being all peopled out.  It was a busy week, and last week was as well.

Going through the equinox reminded me that this is all about balance.   I’ve written about balance quite a bit.  There is always something new for me to learn.  I recognize balance is not a passive thing.  I also recognize that it’s harder to maintain balance when the swing back and forth is very wide.  My swing has been a little wide.

old friends

In my busy people weekend I had a great time.  It turned into a weekend all about live music, what a treat!  I ran into an old friend on-line.  (Or as I like to remind her: I’m not her oldest friend; I’m just the one she’s known the longest.)  Since I hate trying to have a real conversation through messaging (is my age showing) I asked what she was up to and if we could get together.  She had plans with another of our High School friends and invited me to tag along.   Music in the suburbs, good company – including the strangers who graciously shared their table, old fashioned rock-a-billy music and a lot of catching up.

Paganicon!

Then the weekend got into full swing with both St. Patrick’s Day and Paganicon.    This is Karina’s first St. Pat’s as a manager in an Irish Pub.   I got several phone calls including the stories of all the “fires” that she needed to deal with.  The folks I talked to when I stopped in this week had nothing but praise for her, so I suspect she rocked it.  She had scheduled events at the pub all week.  I went on Friday (St. Practice day) to hear Hustle Rose.

The band leader worked with Karina back in the day, so I’d met him and heard the band before.  It was nice to support them both.  I think they are very talented and I like their original stuff as well as their covers.  David, the band leader, was even kind enough to give slightly intoxicated Mom, me, a ride home.

“St. Practice Day” at Claddaugh with Hustle Rose

Part of the Paganicon line-up are the musical guests.  Because I took Orion this year we were much more focused on the socializing than the workshops.  Of course one of the best places to get together with folks is around the music.  Saturday night is the ball, and another friend Tomi T-Time Majoros and his band stepped in when the scheduled band backed out.  Even the musical guest of honor S.J. Tucker sang along.  It was great to have a ball band that folks could dance too.  A fun and friendly evening.

Orion and I also got to hear S.J and visit a little with her.  She put out a special edition exclusive CD just for the Paganicon event.  Her heart is as great as her voice.

Sweet of SJ to sign the CD for Orion

This last weekend, as I said, was the equinox which meant ritual prep and execution.  I also ran up to my folks for 24 hours (that’s 3 hours up and 3 hours back for an overnight).  Dad wanted to caucus,  my sister needed to do an equipment run (a hospital bed and a wheelchair coming soon for my Mom) and so someone needed to stay.  Glad to be able to help even if it meant swinging that balance a little wide.

 

To check out my previous posts search on my blog page for:

Balance

Equinox

Ostara

Paganicon

Losing Time

Photo by Gianna Olson (one of our group this weekend)

Daylight Savings time is hard on the body, especially in the spring.  I spent much of the weekend indulging my own body clock.  That was great, but since I’m more of a night owl, it made the spring forward adjustment even more difficult.

I am doing better than I expected under the circumstances.  I attribute that to taking some time out for a Sauna.

Sauna is a social/spiritual/cultural event.  There are sauna/sweat practices in many northern cultural traditions.  In the Twin Cities there is actually a club, the 612 Sauna Society that was founded to explore and share the Norse sauna traditions.

The 612 Sauna Society sets up their portable sauna

This month they’ve set up in the courtyard of the Swedish Institute.  A good friend decided she’d like to try sauna (she’d never done one) and I got an invite.  I chose to see this as a continuation of my birthday celebrations.  Especially after last week’s snowstorm I’ve seen lots of people succumbing to the “is winter ever going to be over blues”.  Part of the reason I maintain the “older you are longer you get to celebrate” philosophy is to combat that.

It was a perfect day to spend the afternoon sweating.  In a Scandinavian setting sauna is usually done in cycles.   You warm up to the core and then come out into the cold and cool all the way down.  The “rinse repeat” can mean coming out of the sauna and jumping into the snow or a cold lake,  doing a cold water splash, or just hanging out.  We did three rounds, and mostly skipped the “rinse” part of the program, although it was certainly an option.

Inside is inviting and peaceful

The 612 volunteers actually recommended a slower cool down.  The quick splash, or even a brisk breeze at colder temperatures, can make you feel ready to return to the sauna before the core has really cooled.  We drank a lot of water and cooled off by the fire.   Being outside in swimsuits at 30 degrees Fahrenheit was quite sufficient, and quite pleasant.

The time in the sauna was social, but it wasn’t small talk.  In many ways the sharing was as much a release of toxins as the actual sweat.  There wasn’t a “timer” we were told to listen to our bodies and come out and go in as we would tolerate it.  We brought water bottles and the 612 Sauna Society provided water for refills so we were very conscientious about staying hydrated throughout the experience.

Refreshing to be in a swimsuit in the snow

It was a time without time.  It was a ritual without a lot of ritual.  It was an opportunity to learn more about the cultural history of sauna and about each other.  It was an opportunity to get in touch and in tune with my own body rhythms.  It was cleansing and healing.  It was delightful.

Even better is that I can tell the cleansing and healing effects have stayed with me.  My desire for just water continues to be high.  My appetite is good, but not overwhelming.  My aches and pains have eased up considerably.  I slept really well.  I’m still grumpy about the time though.  It shouldn’t be this late yet!

 

Previous, perhaps relevant, blogs:

Daylight Savings

My first Daylight Savings post

It’s not the first time I’ve been to the Swedish Institute in birthday season

Snow Day

The ice is making pretty patterns on the driveway. Not sure I’d want to walk on it.

We’re under a winter storm warning today.  The prediction is for rain Sunday night, turning to ice and followed by up to another 6″ of snow in the afternoon.   As I watched the Oscars, the screen was a constantly updating running list of all of the school closings in the state.

It is not that unusual to see the rural area schools being closed when there is a winter storm warning.  Roads in those areas get blocked.  Transportation is unpredictable.  But when the city schools are closing the night before an afternoon snowstorm I have to wonder what’s going on.

Historically the Twin Cities don’t shut down.  The airport stays open until everyone else in the country is closed and there’s nowhere to send our planes (or no new planes coming in).  The plows run, salt is distributed and everyone (certainly by March) is accustomed to winter driving conditions.

But we live in a new era.  City budgets for snow removal and maintenance run low by the end of the season.  Liability is an issue for traffic control issuing tickets for badly parked cars late at night.  Young students of low income families stand at the bus stop under dressed for the weather.  Parents need notice to make plans.

Minnie is watching for the snow. It’s a grey day, but no snow yet.

When I was in school it was assumed there would be a parent (let’s face it, a Mom) waiting at home if schools were released early.  That’s no longer the case, and latchkeying a grade schooler is frowned upon.  Schools can’t be sending children home if there is no one there to let them in.  So an afternoon snowstorm becomes a crap shoot.

Do you hope that the weather holds until everyone is on the buses and on their way, or do you close the schools the night before?   Given the length and severity of the storm prediction I can see why most of the school districts in the state seemed to make the choice they did.

This morning I get up and think, snow day I’m going to have to shovel the driveway.  I wonder if the buses are going to be running for Orion and I’m pretty sure they will be late.  Then I look out.  Nothing is coming down.  There’s a little ice in the drive, but no snow to be seen.  It’s a snow day and so far no snow.

 

 

It’s actually blowing a lot and of course there is ice underneath. The pm commute promises to be treacherous.

Update:  By 4pm it finally started snowing.  If we still get the amounts predicted maybe they should have made the snow day tomorrow.  Stay warm and drive safe.

Resistance and Gratitude

Somebody appreciaes the snow

This is me still not feeling much like writing.  At least this week I’ve been doing the part where I write my blog in my head.  That’s an improvement, and better is better.

I watch everyone I know sink into the cabin fever, long winter blues at this time of year.  The longer brighter days are great, but they’re not enough when we get yet another 6″ of snow.  I’m grateful to have a birthday this week.  It gives me something to look forward to and it gives me a reason to get out and celebrate.

I have the best neighbors!

I’m grateful for the neighbors, who are Karina’s age.  I haven’t had to lift a shovel all weekend and I was able to get out of my driveway to spend Sunday with a good friend wandering through the Como Park Conservatory and Zoo.  We are very fortunate to have this haven in the depths of winter.

When you walk in your skin celebrates.  There’s moisture in the air!  Your eyes delight in the variety of shades of green.  The conservatory staff is very contentious about rotating the small plants though so there are always some manner of blooming orchids.

It’s a mini tropical vacation

This time I was delighted by how many things were in fruit.  There were limes on the lime trees, chocolate pods on the cacao, star fruit and prickly custard apple.  (Now I am on a mission to try prickly custard apple or Brazilian paw paw.)  We found odd buds and blooms everywhere.  In the conservatory hope for spring thrives.

Thursday was an adventure.  Karina had the evening off (a rare occurrence) so we’d planned for her to take me out for my birthday.  Then her whiskey distributor invited her to a launch party for Jameson IPA.  (They age their whiskeys in beer barrels (caskmates) and brew their Irish Pale Ale in whiskey barrels).  I was game and we had a good time.  It was not too big a party, probably because of the snow (the first 4″ was Thursday, the 6″ was Saturday).

Don’t know what we’re getting into, but we’re game.

We critiqued the drinks the same way we often have dinner.  Debating the merits and downfalls and discussing how to use or adapt the idea.  Mostly we were pleasantly surprised.  Neither of us are big IPA fans, but the mixed drinks were well balanced and the caskmates added a level of nuance to the whiskey.

“After party” because Karina needed to do a little more “homework” checking out local hot spots

I’ve always maintained that the older you are, the longer you get to celebrate your birthday.  I started last Thursday and I’ve got plans (so far) through most of March.  That’s something else to be grateful for!

 

Here are a few more photos from the conservatory, in case you needed your own touch of spring:

Even the ferns are having babies!

Cocoa pods in the tree

Bright colors breaking up the greens

 

I’ve written about the Como Zoo before:

Apparently it’s a good place for me to go when I’m “resistant”

They’ve finished the expansion, but we didn’t see any great apes Sunday

 

Shut Down

Officially we went up to avoid the Super Bowl crowds and have a little party

Have you missed me?  I’ve noticed that when I’m dealing with big events in my life I stop writing.  My journals all have gapping holes during the times when I would be most interested in going back and reading about what I was thinking in the moment.  I’ve blank spaces from when Orion was a baby, and each of his hospitalizations.  I have holes in the record immediately after recording that I had cancer.  I stopped journaling when the cupboards came off the walls.

My parents are aging and it’s hard.  It’s hard on them and it’s hard on us.  I’ve missed the last two blogs. The first I skipped because my folks don’t have internet, the second because I’d just gotten home.  I have been slammed with emotional content and I shut down.

When I was a kid I was “sensitive”.  I cried in empathy, wore my emotions on my shirtsleeve and was generally harassed about it.  I made an active decision to stop.

The first trick was pretty easy, typical in my family.  That is to put emotion aside while you deal with a crisis.  The idea is to stay clear headed and available, and not add to the chaos while it is occurring.   The aftermath, when everything is safe, comes like a tidal wave and can be very confusing as it appears to have no source.

Here’s sympathy AND distraction

Having that kind of emotional catharsis in public is a great opportunity for gaslighting.   There IS nothing to be so upset about (anymore).  It IS overreacting (because it’s all the reaction at once).  Even the part about “just looking for attention” isn’t entirely false.  If I’ve just spent hours offering sympathy and emotional support to others, yes I may be looking for a little sympathy and emotional support for myself.

So I learned to allow myself to be distracted.  Eventually I learned never to “get around” to dealing with my emotional content.  There are lots of distractions!   I’ve been trying to unlearn that.

Black Panther! We got there early. Theater was sold out for an 11:45am Sunday show.

I’ve found that I’m a better writer when I can be open to emotion.  I’ve found that there is strength in vulnerability.  I’ve found that it’s really hard to make myself do the work and that I need to create a time and space for it.  I still can’t do it in public, at least not until I have a good handle on it myself.  The support would be nice, but the gaslighting I can’t deal with.

So I shut down, a little.  I look for distractions (I don’t have to look hard).  I pick and choose my confidants.  I try to carve out some space.  Please be patient with me.

 

Missing Miss Minnie

Minnie’s puppy picture

I’ve spent the past two weeks babysitting my grandpuppy Minnie.  She’s actually 4 years old now and much easier to have around.  I was sick one of those weeks and she was warm and comforting.  She’s not nearly as hyper or demanding, although she still knows Grandma is a sucker when it comes to treats.

Minnie has been through a lot this past year.  My daughter has moved many times, and I had Minnie because she was moving again.  All the stress and upheaval has taken a toll on the dog.  She’s a lot more volatile, less trusting, quicker to say “enough”.  That’s problematic.

Love me/leave me alone

Of course to my daughter Minnie is perfect.  There is discipline, but not a lot of acknowledgement of an underlying problem.  Mostly, I suspect, that’s because my daughter also feels like there’s nothing she can do about it.  So I take the dog, and establish a routine.  It’s easier for me.  I’m home a lot more than my daughter is and just that is a reassurance.

Minnie and Karina at 4th of July

Minnie and Orion have a love/hate relationship.  Minnie is scared to death of the wheelchair and looses her mind any time Orion moves.  On the other hand he often drops food while he’s eating.  Orion adores Minnie, except he doesn’t actually want to touch her and hates all the noise.  That’s a dynamic that scares me so I keep an eagle eye on the two of them anytime they interact.  I also do a lot to make sure there isn’t much interaction, like putting Minnie outside while Orion comes to the table.  It won’t solve anything, but Minnie isn’t my dog.

Karina has a few days off so she’s taken Minnie back.  It’s nice to have quiet.  No one barks every time a neighbor walks by or comes out of their house next door.  It’s easier to have a morning where I’m not running back and forth letting Minnie in and out while Orion gets dressed and ready for his day.  It’s nice to jump into the car for a quick trip to the library before the blizzard snow starts to accumulate without having to worry about getting Minnie settled or arguing about who might want to come with.

When I had bariatric surgery Minnie came to visit me in the hospital.  In 4 years, I think I’m the one who’s changed the most!

They say the best part about having grandchildren is that you get to give them back.  This is true.  Still, I find I’m Missing Miss Minnie.  I catch myself looking for her, or thinking about her next treat.  It’s definitely easier and quieter having her gone.  It’s also just a little more lonely.

MLK Day

So on Martin Luther King Day I decided to use my platform to expand another voice.  My friend Crystal Blanton    is a Social Worker, an activist, and a talented writer.   Reprinted with her permission:

Losing the Illusion: The Reality of Racism Today

Losing the Illusion: The Reality of Racism Today

Jun 17, 2017

Many of us are angry right now. I am enraged by one more example, another reminder, that Black lives don’t matter in this country. After hearing the verdict today I am numb. I cannot wrap my mind around a society that clears a cop from all criminal charges after shooting and killing a man, Philandro Castille, in front of a 4 year old child and his girlfriend…. while he still had his seatbelt on.

I have been sitting in my numbness thinking about the trauma of this on that little girl, his girlfriend, his family, his community, the school children he worked with.. And the Black community at large. I have been thinking about the ways that trauma are retriggered and how that applies to racial trauma. I have been thinking about the generations of transgenerational pain in the Black community and how epigenetics pass this down generation after generation in our DNA.

It seems like year after year we have been fighting for the larger society of Americans to listen to our stories of pain, trauma, and fears. We have been working overtime to prove the existence of racism and discrimination that continues to be normal in our experience and a part of the fabric of the very society we share with others. It is interesting in today’s times to see the country continue to be divided by race, and to watch a portion of Americans come to grips with how overt racism has become (again) in the age of Trump. It is interesting to watch people come to grips with the ongoing murder of Black people by the state, and work to cope with the increasing realization that the words of our Black friends and family were truthful and real all along. It is essential for people to understand that racism is alive and well, functioning in all facets of our society and interwoven in the fabric of our history and our present.

Critical Race Theory is very applicable to this and understanding the ways that American society continues to thrive on systems of racism embedded into its very operation. And when we are evaluating the impact of racism, and ways to disrupt that pattern, we have to start looking at racism itself from a very different lens. Racism isn’t just the white hooded figure with an ignorant view on life and an affinity for the word Nigger. Racism is a system, a construct, that permeates every corner of our society and has been used as a tool for targeted success in this nation.

On the UCLA School of Public Affairs site it states that “CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures.” Let’s say it again for the people in the back. “The individual racist need not exist…”

People live in a place of cognitive dissonance by convincing themselves that someone is a good person and “can’t be racist”, or that people of color just want to make everything about race. Arguments even ensure about how a cop, like the one that killed Philandro Castile, “isn’t white and so it couldn’t be racism”. Ignorance about the functionality of racism in power structures and institutions, coupled with cognitive dissonance, is the reason people can believe such things. It is comfortable to think that racism is a person, that it is “bad” people, and that others can be separated from it because they have Black friends.

There are tenants to Critical Race Theory, and while those tenants are often a source of disagreement among different theorists in the field, there are a some that are universally accepted. The widely accepted CRT tenets include the following: Racism is Endemic, Race is a social construct, the power of differential racialization, interest convergence and materialist determinism, advancing the voice of the marginalized and intersectionality of identities.

In Critical Race Theory in Social Work Education: A Framework for Addressing Racial Disparities, the first tenet discusses the very point of how we view the role racism plays in society. It isn’t isolated to an individual person or experience and is not abnormal in our society. It is the normal reality of the power dynamics within the society we have created in America.

“Racism is Endemic. First, CRT asserts that racism is not an abnormal experience, but an everyday occurrence for people of color. It is reproduced in our structures, customs, and experiences. Accordingly, race should be seen as a central rather than a marginal force that defines and explains human experiences (Solórzano & Bernai, 2001). Given this endemic nature, CRT suggests that the functions and effects of racism are often invisible to people with racial privileges.”

The reality of this statement strips away the lies modern society has been able to tell itself about what racism is, how they are exempt and the accountability each person holds in the continuation of this demoralizing and deadly epidemic. What we are seeing now is how this illusion of safety for the average American has been  slipping away with every police murder of an unarmed Black person that is caught on a standard smartphone by a passing citizen.

While white America experiences the slow slipping away of the illusion of righteousness and exempt status, Black people are losing the illusion too.

Once again the Black community is faced with the reality that change isn’t really change, we still aren’t safe, and that we are rapidly slipping back to the 1970’s civil rights era. We are dealing with the harsh reminders that our bootstrap muscles are more defined than most and yet we are still target practice in these streets.

We are again and again faced with the reality that we are not in control of the narrative and our voices are too often left out of the historical accounts of our history. Coming to terms with our lack of social capital, in 2017, and the disenfranchised power-base we are holding onto, it leaves us to really think about what it means to navigate as a Black person in a modern racist society. It is comfortable for us too to believe that “We The People” now includes us…. Until it doesn’t.

Going back to the Critical Race Theory, how important is it for us to redefine our understanding of racism and the impact of the illusions of meritocracy, and good will on our psyche? How does this support or hinder positive change that promotes the survival and the ability to thrive for Black people?

For a moment, let’s dive a little deeper into the tenet about interest convergence and materialist determination.  Too often the survival of our people relies in our ability to appeal to dominant culture. Critical race theory makes space for us to understand that this itself is part of the construct of a racist society and an institutional system of privilege benefiting the majority.

“A fourth tenet of CRT is that of interest convergence and materialist determinism. This suggests that racism confers psychic and material benefits to the majority race. Further, it posits that the interests of the oppressed are addressed only when they converge with the interests of the dominant group (i.e. Whites) (Bell, 1980). According to Stec (2007), “acts that directly help blacks must implicate white interests because white economic (and other) interests and black oppression are inextricably interwoven and depend on each other for their survival” (p. 2). This means that those in the dominant culture who enact social, political, and economic change on behalf of racial minorities would only support changes if their own self-interest is better served.”


This leaves us with a lot to contemplate while we grieve yet another injustice at the hands of the state. How do we navigate a system, without the power of the dominant culture, and isolated from a system of justice that is meant to protect us? How do we heal hundreds of years of transgenerational trauma when we are living the horror that continues to retrigger the very pain of our ancestors? What does it mean to be an ally when the very nature of the system we exist within disproportionately devalues the oppressed and empowers others? When will we begin to look at how transgenerational trauma has impacted white America’s epigenetics around empathy, power, worth in our distorted systems?

I think it is time for us to begin the work of diving deeper into the construction of our societal fabric than we have ever been in order to gain understanding that will prioritize change. How can we shift what we do not understand…..

And in the meantime, I will continue to grieve for my people and the reality we are living in. I will continue to contemplate the meaning of freedom in the middle of the warzone. And I will continue to fight for the survival of myself, my family, my community and a collective consciousness that moves us back into future. In the meantime I will fight for love.

More to come…..

 

https://psychology.iresearchnet.com/counseling-psychology/counseling-theories/critical-race-theory/

http://www1.uwindsor.ca/criticalsocialwork/system/files/Constance-Huggins.pdf

Inspiration

Orion with Minneapolis through the window. It can seem odd, with our weather, to have outdoor exhibits. We have a whole sculpture garden – it’s where that iconic spoon lives year round.

I’m back to a daily practice of writing, which is good.  I have noticed, however, that it’s pretty difficult to come up with anything to write about without some inspiration.  I packed up Orion and headed off to the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

We were joined by Karina and two of her friends.  We didn’t have long and wandered the areas she prefers, including the galleries with Native and Indigenous art.  I didn’t take a lot of photos either, as I really just wanted to be in the moment.

One of the reasons we went is because Karina has been talking about going for awhile.  A year ago she went off to training for her job.  There was little to do in a strange city and she ended up visiting a Native American museum.  It opened her eyes.  Not to Native American art, but to how fortunate she was to have the resources in the Twin Cities.

Yesterday she stood in one small gallery and said “This room, this one room, has a better exhibition of Native Art than that whole museum did.”  (And it’s free!).  I made a point to visit the Native American Museum in Manhattan the last time we were in New York and I’d had the same impression.  They did a lovely job of displaying the progression of tribal cultures across America.  It’s not a big museum.  The featured modern artists work was lovely.  But most of the historical pieces were not as culturally representative as similar (and more abundant) pieces often exhibited at the MIA.

We have periods where we increase our collective awareness of the Native cultures that surround us.  2017 was the year many people were made aware of the mass execution in Mankato.  We northerners like to think of ourselves as above racism, but there is plenty here and a significant amount of it is directed towards the Native community.

We are privileged to have so much access to arts in the Twin Cities.  We are privileged that our art community uses that art to educate, to inspire, and to activate the local community.  We are grateful to the support that the art community has, which enables them to offer access for free.  Maybe I’m inspired just to visit more often.

FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:

Art and the Mankato hangings

Minnesota Native preserved and curated sites

Native Community in Minneapolis

Local Native Galleries:

All My Relations Arts

Two Rivers Arts

Northland Visions

 

 

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