Friday, April 9, 2010


"Spaghettification" is our new word for the day, compliments of Gretchen Kastings, student of physics, photographer, and enthusiast of All Things Medieval - and visitor from London this week-end! "Spaghettification" is what happens to you when you get too close to a Black Hole. Oliver is endlessly fascinated by this term. Don't you love starting vacation with a new word? I do. I thought I'd put up this happy picture of the motricity gauntlet for today - the girls were actually a little sad to say good-bye to their friends for two weeks, but we have possibilities of a play date (I scored my first French mom phone number the other day - woo-hoo!) so they'll survive somehow.

With the car getting its tune-up, we've been walking to school in the morning, and it's been so lovely. Eleanor has her dog named Teddy tucked into her hood here. It's funny how a little extra time walking makes a difference. We were actually all laughing this morning (Mac was doing his imitation of a man speaking unintelligibly over a P.A. system) - why can't we do that in the car? Is it really that unnerving to have to buckle three squirmy kids into a car? (Yes) Honestly, Oliver was hanging on to a stone wall he was laughing so hard at Mac. Mac really is good at sounding like an unintelligible P.A. system guy.

And then you get to see people's gardens coming into full bloom on your walk home. I've always been fascinated by the phrase (and the idea) that walking "clears your head" - is it too early to clear my head in the morning? I worked pretty well today, just the morning, really, but I found some wonderful things within Thenaud's Triumphe de Prudence - truly an untapped text (because it is so very artless, but never mind style, his content is great!). OK, I won't launch into why, but suffice it to say that he equates tyranny and democracy as terrible forms of government ("government" being understood as "managing the public good"). I'm going to actually miss writing over the next week, but many amazing discoveries await.

Tomorrow we go to the Center for the Arthurian Imaginary with Gretchen and Oliver and Iris (Mac and Eleanor will stay to watch Barbabapa and nap and have adventures of their own). I have been waiting for this place to open up ever since we arrived!!! First of all, the setting: in the legendary Broceliande/Paimpont Forest (where Merlin is buried, where Viviane held him ensnared for all eternity, where the Lady of the Lake gave Lancelot his sword!); secondly, the lore (this forest is the setting for countless Breton Fairy Tales of the day); and thirdly, the potential for my "Love and War in Medieval Art and Literature" class which I am teaching this fall. The forest is such an important literary and representation space (it had its own laws, especially when it was a nobleman's hunting forest, and it was, of course, a place of outlaws as well - Robin Hood was not the first) - it's also a space of the imagination, of korrigans and wild men, of magical fountains and willful Nature. I'll need Mac to take the really good pictures that evoke all of this, but in the meantime, I hope to get some of my own tomorrow. Is a medieval forest a black hole? Does one spaghettify (I've been waiting all night to conjugate that word!) around its edges? We'll find out!

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