Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most

Earlier this morning, the sky was filled with pink clouds, and crocuses were bursting through the ground, and the grass in Central Park was the color of emeralds. Yes, finally it's spring, when the world is puddle-wonderful, and the goat-footed balloonman is calling to me over the heads of the nodding swaths of daffodils.

Yesterday, I went across the park to the Metropolitan Museum to see the Pierre Bonnard exhibit, interiors and still lifes. Bonnard once wrote, perhaps in one of the small datebooks that held his sketches and grocery lists (also on view at the Met) that “There is always color, it has yet to become light.” He spent the latter part of his life in a villa on a hill near Cannes transforming the former into the latter, adding the occasional creature of light - the figure of memory you see in your mind's eye sitting in a familiar chair, or crossing the street.

Sometimes, at this time of year, I see my younger self as just such an apparition. One of my dearest friends always remembers me at 19, in a sheer white-dotted, full-skirted vintage lavender dress and roller skates, careening down a hill near the boat pond, simultaneously ecstatic and terrified. (Which is not really a bad way to travel, as the former makes up for the latter.) We had only met a few days earlier, and she says that's when she fell in love.

(Bonnard's 1927 "Flowers on the Mantelpiece at Le Cannet," at the Met until April 19th; post title from the song sung most memorably by Ella Fitzgerald.)

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