Thursday, January 30

The tectonic biscuit shifts of middle age, or "My Friends Are Missing Places I Will Never Visit"

I just made this small wall hanging called "My Friends Are Missing Places I Will Never Visit" - a meditative study in fabric and thread, having to do with staying in one place and all the implications therein.

I've never been a gracious traveller and I've never been particularly obsessed with trips I've taken or missed. But recently I've become keenly aware of other people's telling of their travels: I introduce two friends and they bond in an instant revery discussing favorite scuba vacation spots. I'm invited to lunch and hear "You haven't eaten until you've traveled through Europe."

Well, then, I guess I haven't eaten. At these moments I tend to just kind of stand there and wait for the subject to change. Okay, so I'll never experience the culinary shifts that occur as one eats one's way from the breads of Southern Italy up through the breads of Northern Italy. I don't even have a passport. So it goes. The title "My Friends Are Missing Places I Will Never Visit" is not meant to be pathetic. But I do think it's about middle age, that odd time where you thought you had the cruxes of the biscuits of life worked out only to find that next there is an unannounced tectonic shift in the biscuit — now all the things you've never done, even the ones you never wanted to do, are doors shutting silently in your face, their solid thuds replaced with a doubtful whisper of "never."

I was also thinking of missing in another way, the way friends who have left their homelands are forever elsewhere, with a yearning for other that can't be satisfied. Other country, other weather, other food, other time that has moved on without them — again, the thick experience of years going by has filled me with empathy for my expat friends that I could not have had as a younger oaf. Older oaf me gets it, at least I think I do.

Ahem. Anyway, that's what I was thinking about as I made this. It's made from layers of linen - some frayed, some tenderly stitched, with a panel of wool at the bottom. It hangs on what can only be called a pick-up stick.