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Sunday, September 19, 2010

An old danger box and an odd idea

Three Oaks is a hard act to follow, but I then flew to New York City, signed some books and of course managed to find myself at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Wandering around all those delicious rooms filled with shape and color and so many dreams, I had a thought:  I'll keep my eye out for all danger boxes.

Here's one I spotted, hundreds of years old and made from worn leather.  It's Spanish, and is living on a balcony inside the Met, on the second floor.  I won't tell you exactly where, in case you want to go hunting.  I'll try to add a variety of boxes to this travel collection by taking a photo whenever I see one.  My husband Bill was with me here, and snapped this mysterious picture -- I would never have asked a stranger to do it.  I look very peculiar and possibly dangerous...

Bill and I play a game in museums, and if I'm with one of our kids they join in, too. We'll look around at whatever is there, and imagine, in our minds, that we can each take home one treasure.  At the end of our visit, we compare notes on which treasure each of us picked.

My treasure for this last visit, aside from the slightly scary Spanish danger box, was a very tiny painting by Edouard Vuillard of a woman sitting at a table covered with food. She looks completely happy to be where she is, and the colors and patterns that surround her are subtle and somehow private.  It's art that invites me in, and the image also feels like an ingredient in my own danger box, that is, my imagination.

Here are a few questions that just occurred to me:  Is your imagination an endlessly deep danger box?  And can you decide what to put in it, or do things simply fall in?  And if you take a treasure away in your memory and keep it, doesn't that make owning it seem unnecessary?

Here's a wild thought -- maybe more art thieves could be persuaded to forget about actually taking things, and start making their own danger boxes.  I'll have to ask the kids in Three Oaks what they think about that one.

Meanwhile, who knows what dangerous box or idea I'll run into next...


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