Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Accidental Movies

Do you ever do this? Take pictures with your camera (I forgot, no one has cameras any more. Okay, your phone.) & somehow in the middle of it press something that means you're making a movie. Except you never make movies, so you think you're just looking at the scene, ready to take another picture. But when you push your "take a picture" button, nothing happens. Hmmm, you think, & keep   watching the scene, moving the device, pressing the button. After a little while (one hopes, depending on the scene) you turn it off & back on again, & there you are, able to take pictures, wondering what just happened.

The sad thing about this: the more dynamic & interesting & movie-worthy the scene, the sooner you are to turn it off & start over. If it's no big deal--say, the way pattern looks really cool on the end pages of Mary Oliver's poetry book, Blue Horses, reflecting the light from your little gooseneck LED light from IKEA off the protective plastic coat the library lovingly placed on the book--you might mess around for 47 seconds or so. Sigh.

I was going to share the little movie--with no guarantee that it would be 47 seconds well spent; watch at your own risk; blah blah blah--but fortunately for you there was an error. Instead, taking far less than 47 seconds to peruse, is this photo, 1 of 29 I took. I could show you the slideshow...

The little diorama at the top is brought to in part you by Mr. Jackson, dead these many years. Mr. Jackson was my teacher at Nye School for 8 years, my introduction to education. He taught grammar & phonics exceedingly well, made sure we did at least one freehand drawing a month (on manila paper) as well as the obligatory trace-your-hand turkeys & folded-&-cut paper snowflakes & such for seasonal decorations & ran a kickass rhythm band which was a key component of our twice-a-year programs, Christmas & graduation--standing room only events at Nye. He also--well, I won't go into the parts that made some students (not me) wish they went to school in Absarokee. We can't be all things to all people, after all. One thing about going to a one-room school, is you know who your teacher's going to be next year. & the year after that...

Mr. Jackson had two favorite little gifts he gave to the girls in the school at Christmas & school year's end. I have no idea what he gave the boys. Girls got paper cards with little ceramic animals glued to them or a cool cobalt blue bottle of Evening in Paris perfume.

I probably don't have any perfume bottles left (more's the pity, since a bunch of my decorating consists of setting blue bottles of all shapes & sizes on window sills) but in one of the bathrooms of my parents' house are two sets of little animals that Mr. Jackson gave me. Every time I go home, I rearrange the mama duck & her teenager & baby & the mama dog & her 4 puppies (1 has its tail completely broken off & another has just a little tail tip chipped; I usually make them the super adventurous & adventurous ones.) into dynamic dioramas.

I'm pretty sure, since I left Nye School the spring of 1973 & the ceramic animals were probably "little girl" gifts, that the duck family & the dog family are more than 45 years old. I doubt many of their counterparts, given to other girls, even exist any more. I very seriously doubt that any of them get played with several times a year.

I was unusually enchanted by the diorama I came up with over the holiday season. The puppy peeking out of the heart-shaped box at the baby duck. Mama duck & mama dog nose to nose. 3 puppies converging on the adolescent duck--safety in numbers? So, you get a couple less-than-perfect photos of this (I didn't think of it until it was time to leave & I had to hurry & the light wasn't good & I don't like flash) to go along with (what was going to be) your movie of the end pages of a poetry book. I hope all this artistry doesn't completely blow you out of whatever water you happen to be in.

Blog alternative:
290. Put together some of your possessions (even if you don't have old childhood toys, you probably have a comb & a light bulb &...) in a diorama. A brave coffee cup standing up to a collection of empty beer bottles? One earring leading the escape from the necklace corral?