There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

Wild Heart / Moveable Feast

My husband and I were headed into town on this morning. He would grocery shop and run errands. I planned to visit the Arboretum and the Palmer Museum of Art. Of course, when T. Tiger heard about the museum visit, he insisted that he and Lil RBG should come along. And so into town we went: a man, a woman, an ex-Supreme Court justice (albeit a very small one), and a striped Tiger with a lot of attitude.

I was dropped off on Park Avenue, and I photographed parts of the Arboretum before crossing the street and playing around, as I am wont to do, with the seriously fine reflections on the Business Building. It stands at the corner of East Park and Shortlidge in the location where Mitchell Building (the first PSU building I worked in) once stood.

I walked over to the Palmer Museum so the Tiger and I could see some art. The existing Palmer Museum on campus is winding down. The construction of the new museum is well along, next to the Arboretum. A chat with the very nice lady running the gift shop provided the following information:

The old location is expected to close on May 14, the first floor is open but the second is closed, they are packing up the art works in preparation for moving them, the museum will be entirely closed for a year or more during the migration, and all items in the gift shop are currently 50% off.

We strolled around and looked at everything very carefully, just in case it should accidentally be our final visit there (one never knows!). And I am including in the extra photos a shot of a favorite painting. I should have photographed the plate beside it which reveals the name of the artist and painting. (I've sent them a note asking; will add it when I receive it. Update: it is called Still Life With Grapes, by Severin Roesen.)

But I think of the painting as The Moveable Feast. I know it is not that, but it reminds me of the Hemingway book about Paris. A moveable feast is a holiday that moves around each year, like Easter. In the forward to one of its editions, Patrick Hemingway explains what a moveable feast is, to Hemingway himself:

"A memory or even a state of being that had become a part of you, a thing that you could have always with you, no matter where you went or how you lived forever after, that you could never lose. An experience first fixed in time and space or a condition like happiness or love could be afterward moved or carried with you wherever you went in space and time."

As the gift shop lady and I talked, I realized quite wistfully that I have been visiting this museum, in this spot, since fall of 1982. That was when I moved into the dorms at Penn State North Halls, a five-minute walk from the museum and the creamery, which in those days was located in Borland Lab, directly across from the adorable little Pavilion Theatre.

I visited both OFTEN, and will carry those memories of those places and times with me, like my own moveable feast, well after both of them have moved on. (The new museum will be located between the Arboretum and the Katz law school building; the creamery moved from Borland Lab to a location near East Halls several years ago.)

I noted that time was passing quickly, and scooted off to visit the rest of the Arboretum, including the Witness Tree, the red elm, and the children's garden. I wanted to leave 10 minutes at the end to do the interior of the amazing Katz law school library, but when I got there, the front doors were locked. I guess I've never been there on a weekend before!

So I headed back over to the Arboretum to spend my last 10 minutes there, in the poplar grove. There are wooden benches there, and I was photographing T. Tiger and Ruth sitting on a bench, when a breeze came along and they tumbled into the snow!

As I was picking them up, my right eye caught a flutter of . . . wings? And I looked behind me to discover a HAWK in a nearby tree!!! Wow!! Awesome! Clearly, it had been there the whole time and we had not disturbed it with our antics.

So I went ahead and took about 45 photos of the hawk, which it turns out, is a juvenile Cooper's hawk, Accipiter cooperii. It had a fluffy spotty belly, dark flannel pajamas on its back, large pale yellow feet, and yellow eyes. There are some weird woody plants by where I was standing and I used one as a makeshift tripod!

To be honest, I'd felt a bit peevish when I got to the library and found it locked, but the unexpected gift of seeing the hawk put a perky happiness in my step that lasted a long, long time. I thought to myself, When God locks the library doors, he tosses a hawk at you in the poplar grove. Or something. But the truth is this: because the doors were locked, I saw the hawk. Otherwise, I would have missed it. I did not choose this wild adventure; IT chose ME!

My husband showed up about that time to pick me up, and I was like a three-year-old, chattering on and on about the hawk and the museum and the reflections on the business building, and T. Tiger's tumble in the snow.

By the way, T. Tiger says HE instantly saw the hawk, and as a Jedi Knight in training, it's his responsibility to save Ruth at all costs! So he flung himself on her and they both tumbled to the ground, and to safety. This, he says, was an act of intention; an act of heroism, not accidental at all! Now, I do have my doubts about the veracity of this Tiger tale (tail?), but that's HIS story and he's sticking to it!

And my husband, being the great guy that he is, had not only bought us groceries, but also picked up lunch. "Are you hungry?" he asked me, and handed me a bag, in which there was a tasty Big Mac, that I ate ravenously as we drove home. Now THAT was a GOOD DAY.

I have two pictures and so let's have two songs. For my hawk with the wild heart, let's have Stevie Nicks, with a rare and wonderful recording of Stevie singing Wild Heart with friends. For my moveable feast, I wanted a song about the things we carry with us. So here is Jim Croce, with Photographs and Memories. I hope you enjoyed our wild, artsy adventure in town!

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