Delights: February 25 to March 3

February 25: My visit yesterday to the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery continues to delight me. In a museum that rewards close looking, I was utterly enchanted by Larry Fuente’s Game Fish (1988). Imagine a leaping sailfish, with its dorsal fin fanning above shimmering scales and a protruding bone thrusting from its jaw. Now imagine fins made of hair combs topped by yo-yos and dominoes wedged between toy boats, planes and even a tiny stagecoach. See a conga line led by Cap’n Crunch and a parade of bowling trophy figurines and blue-chested action figures. Notice the fish scales made of tiny pinball games, dice and coins. Laugh as you spot dentures ornamenting the fish’s mouth and a dart resting in the doll’s hand. 

Wait. A sailfish doesn’t have hands. I, however, applauded Fuente’s for his joyous creation.

Game Fish, by Larry Fuentes (1988), mixed media. (I’ll say!)

February 26: I’m sitting at a sunny table in the library looking onto a field and a bit of lake. Beside me is an enormous tank with a diamondback terrapin called Luke and a steady stream of fascinated children. “Where’s Luke? Where’s Luke? There he is!” The tiny girl waved to Luke. And then she turned to wave to the little boy next to her. And then as she was leaving, she waved to me.

Luke, a diamondback terrapin in the Ocean Pines Library. Just as fearsome as Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks. And his fans are just as loving.

February 27: Even on TV shows we hear people humming the “Happy Birthday” song as they wash their hands in the lavatory. Yesterday, above the sink, the library offered me other choices for my 20-second timer: songs by The Killers, Fleetwood Mac, Beyoncé and — this is the one I’ve converted to — Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Kevin and I just watched the episode of “Ted Lasso” where the song figures prominently. The only challenge for me now — as I recall the scene and the song — is to stop washing my hands.

… And to get the song out of my head.

1.8 Renwick, by Janet Echelman (2015), made of fiber and lighting. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery.

February 28: I wandered outside to fill the bird feeders and noticed perfect sunshine enlivening our backyard porch swing. So I grabbed my book and sat down. High overhead, the birds in the pines raised a din akin to last summer’s cicadas. Suddenly they quieted. I now could hear the splash of the fountain and the creaking of the swing as I glided back and forth. When the birds returned to their full-throated chorus, I wanted to call out joyfully with them.

Ruby Wet Foot Mongo with Kissing Serpents and Lily Pad, by Fritz Dreisbach (1990), glass. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery.

March 1: I walked into my coffee shop and something seemed different. I found it: a shelf of ceramic cups and saucers ready for washing. We are tiptoeing back to — well, tiptoeing onward to a less disposable world.

March 2: Today, less than six weeks after I filed my application, my new passport arrived. (Way to go, public servants!) My brain is aflutter with a world of memories and possibilities. I wonder, oh I wonder, where I should go?

Bonus: Thanks to my wonderful bloggerfriends in New Zealand, Singapore, Italy, Maine and Canada, I’m already whisking around the world. 

Consider visiting them from your armchair.

Megaplanet, by Josh Simpson (2005), glass. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery. Appropriately, Simpson is married to Catherine “Cady” Coleman, a NASA astronaut.

March 3: Yesterday, while searching through an old file cabinet for my birth certificate I found a file labeled “emails” in my mother’s handwriting. Inside was a cache of correspondence between my Dad and me, written in the handful of years before his death.

Imagine an envelope of old photos capturing family vacations, school events, work triumphs (and disappointments), and just, well, the delights of living.

I thought I didn’t journal in those days. But maybe, actually, I did.

My Dad, Sam P. Siciliano, at his desk in the late 1930s as sports editor of the Asbury Park (NJ) Press.

p.s. I needed my birth certificate yesterday because I didn’t have my passport. Had I procrastinated just one day on my substitute teaching forms, my passport would have landed in my lap and the creaky old file cabinet would have stayed permanently closed. 

Bonus: I was chatting with a friend about asking for help. I believe most of us long for a chance to be kind — to do meaningful acts of kindness — but something stops us. Maybe we think our help is too small to matter. Maybe we think the other person (so tough, so independent) would resist. Maybe we (read: I) just don’t slow down enough to imagine how a tiny loving gesture might kindle a little bit of comfort. 

As I thought of this, I had a vision of a community of saints waiting to be deployed. Waiting to be asked, waiting to be welcomed in, waiting. Cancer, for all of its horrors, gives people a chance to tell you they love you. Cancer jolts us out of our waiting.

I also know, from personal experience, that allowing ourselves to be loved is an act of great humility. When I had breast cancer, humility eventually seeped into me like chemo through an IV. And suddenly I was awash in love. 

I also believe, in a world of war, sickness and fear, that every act of kindness to one of us is a tiny prayer for all of us. Be kind in some small way today. And tomorrow. And tomorrow again.

A detail of 1.8 Renwick, as its colors evolved.

Readers, to receive notifications by email each time I make a post, just scroll all the way down this page (next to the “word cloud”), look to the left and click on the black button that says “Join Me!” And if you think a friend might enjoy these, please share the Delight!

If you’d like to browse my past essays, please consult the “word cloud” featured at the very bottom of this post. Find a theme or two that interests you and sift through the sands. Or learn a bit more about my Blog by visiting my Welcome page. You’ll also see links to my four published essays. I’m glad you’re here!

20 thoughts on “Delights: February 25 to March 3

  1. I love the Easter eggs in this post … so many beautiful sights from the Renwick Gallery – I imagine I would love visiting. And that treasure trove of correspondence/memories … wow.

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    1. Hi, Ju-Lyn. Thanks for finding “Easter eggs” in my post: delights within delights? That’s a very kind thought. I love visiting art galleries in Singapore through you; I’m happy to return the favor. And you’re right about the treasure trove: I tingle to think of what I’ll find…

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  2. What a great exhibition at the Renwick. I remember visiting there many years ago. How wonderful to find all those memories and thank you so much for the mention. Lovely post as always!

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    1. The Renwick is a tiny jewel that rewards slow looking. I’m glad you enjoyed it (again!). I’ve been thinking about you in the midst of the protests there. Your writing sends kindness into the universe, which we all need.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The game fish made me so happy this morning. What a blessing to live within striking distance of the Smithsonian!

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    1. Your comment makes me smile: YES, Game Fish does make me happy too. The details are splendid. I might have to return, in order to grab more photos of the fins, tail, scales, etc. etc. I could stare at it for hours.

      And you’re right about my luck to be so close to the Smithsonian. I used to work right across the street from TWO museums, and almost never went. With retirement, I’m resolved to change that. When I visit, I’ll post photos! (And thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Where do you live?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I live in Beverly, north of Boston Massachusetts. We have plenty of great art museums but the Smithsonian is on another level.

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  4. Yes, what a blessing to live so close to the Smithsonian. Only one word will do for “Game Fish,” and that’s a Maine “Wowsah!” What a piece! Thank you, thank you for the mention. I did indeed travel around the world via your links. Finally, wonderful picture of your father, who looks exactly the way I have pictured a reporter from the 1930s.

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    1. Game Fish definitely deserves a Wowsah! The details alone make a hundred Delights, and the composite is amazing. Such whimsey! Thanks also for saying something about the photo of my Dad. I forgot I had it, and last night I so enjoyed studying it: how young he was — maybe 23 or 24 — how baggy the suit and how big the Remington typewriter. I should put the photo here on my desk for inspiration. Thanks for helping me think of that!

      I’m so happy to mention your blog. It gives me such pleasure, and I want to spread the word.

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  5. Oh my, this fish is exactly something that would make my week as well. Such joy! And you found Luka! Well, Luke. And got waved at. And all the rest of the art is so beautiful too, together with your reasoning and wise words, and your find that almost wasn’t. I’ll be visiting all others mentioned most gladly. Got my passport ready.

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    1. I love this! Both Luka and Luke had great weeks, and Game Fish is something special. I’ll take more photos!

      Thanks for engaging so actively on my posts, Manja. (It seems we both are catching up today.) You are becoming my pen pal! I’m glad you’ll visit the other bloggers around the world; they certainly will enjoy getting to know you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I realisef that I saw the first two posts from your list already. 🙂 Tomorrow is “I Feel Slovenia” night in Dallas against Sacramento Kings, it’s an early game so that Europe can watch it more easily at 11 pm, but just now I read that Luka is questionable because of a toe sprain? 😮 I hope he plays! (And yes, we’re pen pals!)

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  6. Your blog is ambitious, and very eclectic, and I’m looking forward to reading more about your experiences and reflections. I particularly like the concept of the “My Year of Delights” section, which allows you to capture, preserve for posterity and share, those small incidents that bring joy when they occur, but which are so easily forgotten (the little girl’s reaction to Luke and her subsequent wave to you, for example). I also await news of where your new passport will take you…your next big adventure is about to begin! And, incidentally, I love Game Fish, such a creative piece of art…if only I had talent like that!

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    1. Hi, again! Thank you so much for your very kind and encouraging words about my blog (I love “ambitious” and “eclectic”!). My “Year of Delights” has been a lot of fun, and you’re right about capturing the joy of small incidents as they occur.

      Unsurprisingly, it galvanizes me to pay attention — and then funny things start to happen. A priceless example occurred in my last “Delights” for Feb. 11-17. If you go there, read at least the first & last entries that week. Crazy. [And something similar happened on Oct. 20 from my Oct. 15-21 Delights] I hope you visit again! I’ll go back to the Renwick and more close-ups of Game Fish for all of us….

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      1. I’ve just read both of them, and both made me smile. What you are doing, recording the little things for posterity, is so important. We get swept away by “big news” and sometimes lose sight of all the fascinating stuff that happens to us, and around us all, every day. Keep up the good work!

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