The harvest moon has no innocence, like the slim quarter moon of a spring twilight, nor has it the silver penny brilliance of the moon that looks down upon the resorts of summer time. Wise, ripe, and portly, like an old Bacchus, it waxes night after night. - Donald Culross Peattie
My new project is to capture 28 days of season change here in Minnesota.
A couple of weeks ago, we headed down to the River. It was the part of the Mississippi that divides Northeast Minneapolis from Downtown. There is an island out there just up from the lock and dam, just up from where St. Anthony Falls used to exist.
Nicollet Island is one of my favorite places in Minneapolis. I have been there so many times, in so many seasons, for so many occasions, mostly all happy, but a few sad ones when the flow of the river all around healed me.
Therefore it was quite surprising to me that I had never noticed this Buddha before. Perhaps...no, I thought I could come up with an explanation, but there is no reason that I can think of that prevented me from seeing this totem.
I love going to Nicollet Island. I've stopped by there on so many memorable occasions in my life, at times throwing in flowers for offerings to be carried downstream by the River. We watched fireworks down at this spot as the new millennium began. One year we stopped by on our ten year anniversary and ended up standing under a tree branch that held the largest eagle I have ever seen. I'm still astonished, sitting here thinking about it six years later. It felt like a sacred sign. I went to this island on the evening I defended my dissertation, drank champagne and threw bright tulips into the water.
I just realized this is the place where I say my prayers and give thanks for all that is good in my life.
Rather fitting, isn't it? Finding this Buddha watching over this island?
Trees serve as homes for visiting devas who do not manifest in earthly bodies, but live in the fibers of the trunks and larger branches of the trees, feed from the leaves and communicate through the tree itself. Some are permanently stationed as guardians of sacred places.
- Hindu Deva Shastra, verse 117,
My new project is to capture 28 days of season change here in Minnesota.
When I was first married, I wanted to do all those "American" things that I didn't get to do growing up in my immigrant Gujarati family. You know, things like getting a fresh Xmas tree, eating eggs and bacon for breakfast, ordering pizza on a Friday night, and picking a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch. I realize now that I was starting traditions that I wanted to share with my baby. As a family, we live a life the blends together Gujarati and Minnesotan culture.
The Big D and I went to Tom's Pumpkin Patch sometime over ten years ago. We pass by every year on our way to our Airstream Retreat, but have never returned until this year. It was thrilling then, for me, to walk amongst the weeds and pick the perfect pumpkin. It was a totally different experience with the Baby Lotus Bud and just like many other things, going to the pumpkin patch was so much more fun with her!
I have a number of Halloween costumes for Lotus Bud. I picked up a couple of them at a thrift store, then received from my mother two other, new costumes. I despaired for a few minutes over the fact that Halloween is only celebrated on the one day. Then, I realized I could use these costumes for photo shoots and get some wear out of them.
So, we dressed Lotus Bud in a pumpkin outfit and took her to the pumpkin patch.
The Big D took this awesome picture of me and Lotus Bud. Can you see her amongst the pumpkins? The Big D has a new phone with a great camera on it, but it galls me that he can take such good pictures, in some cases, better than mine because I'm limited to my 50mm prime lens. I am seeking a walk-around lens. Any suggestions?
From here on out, there is a series of images of my pumpkin within the pumpkin patch. Warning: serious cuteness ahead!
Good advise, no? Always carry pumpkin in your arms.
When did people start calling babies pumpkins? Right from the beginning, she was our Pumpkin Pie, but that's because that's my favorite kind of pie and she's so yummy.
And, then she became out Shnugglebunkins.
And, now she's a Shunkins.
Our pumpkin within a field of pumpkins. There are over 15 acres of pumpkin fields at this location and two corn mazes. I can't wait until she's old enough to run around in the corn maze.
There were so many great places to put down Lotus Bud. And, how perfect is it that she just started sitting up on her own?!
While I was shooting away, the Big D selected the family pumpkins. So many good ones to choose from. At some point, you've just got to pick one and stick with that choice, or else, you'll walk away with a dozen pumpkins. Good thing they place wagons all along the patch! We picked five, three for the humans that occupy our home and two for the cats. It seemed a logical choice to me.
$3.99 per pumpkin. The larger, gigantic, back-breaking to lift pumpkins were $5 and $10. Heck of a deal! The joy of walking the fields and picking your own pumpkin - free and priceless!
This pumpkin, however, was not for sale. We had the privilege of calling her our own.
We got to talk with one of the farmers and I probably should have taken a picture, but I didn't. Instead she took a shot of us as a family. She stated several times that the mama is never in the pictures, so she wanted to be sure to get one of me. How sweet!
We brought all our pumpkins home and had a good time sitting under the tall elm tree in the backyard.
I am always impressed with my little Lotus Bud when we take her on an outdoor outing. She's an outdoors girl! She fits into our lives perfectly.
It was another wonderful day in this glorious Autumn season!
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Listen hear Little Lotus Bud! You've got to stop growing up! Who gave you permission to grow so quickly? Huh? It sure as heck was not me.
Sure, it's cute, but did you have to go and learn how to do this?
All those babies in yoga class who are sitting up or on the verge of crawling are such bad influences on you! This is a lesson you should learn early on: Don't give into peer pressure. Just stay small and adorable and hug-able.
You are breaking my heart, little girl!
Pretty soon you are going to be insisting on feeding yourself and walking and talking. I can't stand it.
Someone just recently pointed out that this time of your life is fleeting. That's for damn sure! I just cannot believe you are already eight months old.
This last month you got smiley. It's so sweet to see you break into a smile. It's make each day easier and better and just so lovely. You smile at everything and everyone. Well, mostly everyone. I wonder if you've got your Dad's sense of judgement. He can sniff out a creep a mile away. When bad friendships of mine would end, he would always remind me that he'd seen those questionable qualities in that person the day he met them. You seem cautious and discerning like that. And, yet, you put on your best smile to most people we encounter, so that tells me the the world must be filled with a lot of good people. In return, you seem to bring out the best in others. I've never been treated so nice as when I'm out with you. I hope that people respond this warmly to you all the time. It's make for a much better life.
Life with you is now forever busy. You keep me busy with feeding you bottles of expressed milk, nursing you about seven times a day and feeding you solids twice a day. Who knew such a little baby could eat so much?
I steam and puree a couple of times a week because you go through it all so fast. You'll just keep on eating if I don't put a stop to it. And, then when you do eat too much, you look so tired and lethargic. Your belly gets big and round. I know that feeling. I've seen that look on my own face plenty of times. I hear that the pureed foods will be coming to an end soon. I hear that you might even start eating cereal bits on your own.
Peas and pears have become your regular evening meal. There is also multi-grain cereal mixed with the pears. And, there are all sorts of new songs involved: "All we are saying...is give peas a chance"; "All the peas are gone/Now there's only pears" (to the tune of California Dreaming). I know it's corny. Maybe someday I will regret writing this to you, but right now, it's all I've got and I'm hanging on it as tight as I can.
You keep me busy and I keep you busy with all our outings. Twice a month we are heading out with other Mamas and Babies to museums and such. This week the Minnesota Arboretum. We're still in yoga and will probably continue for at least ten more weeks. Next month we'll be starting swimming lessons. We go grocery shopping, we go to meetings, we go see your grandparents.
Your grandparents keep their house stocked with all kinds of friends. I swear each time we visit there are some more of these stuffed critters. You gather them all around you. It seem you want them all!
Autumn is here and it is my favorite season. It's interesting to think that you have yet to learn about seasons. I think you've noticed all the bright colors in the neighborhood. The changing leaves seem to fascinate you and eventually they end up in your mouth. What's with that, huh? You're trying to eat everything these days.
I had a first last month. I actually got to leave you for eight whole hours. I went on a Co-op Board retreat and your Daddy took care of you all afternoon and most of that evening. But, you were a stinker because you took a real long nap. Why don't you ever do that for me?
I have to admit that it felt real good to have some time to myself. You are so much more alert and awake these days and that makes it really difficult to get anything done. Some parents find DVDs for their little ones to watch. I've tried this and it doesn't work. Not that I would do this a lot. But, come on. If I could get just a half hour every two weeks, that would be such a relief. But, you are not into that and I suppose that's a good thing.
I do manage to get a few minutes of reading in. I sit you on your Dad's big chair and surround you with your own books. It keeps you occupied for a while and I sit right next to you with my book.
I admit I left you on the chair by yourself the other day and you managed to roll right off. Dang, that was a scary feeling when I heard the thud of your body hitting the floor. You didn't start crying until I picked you and within minutes you were smiling again. I won't be doing that again anytime soon.
What's my excuse for leaving you by yourself there on that chair? I was tired. Your Dad went out of town for a few days and I was just down right exhausted.
I learned all about texting this month. Yep, I'm a little behind the times but hey, at least I'm catching up. Give me a break! I just got the cellphone this year and when I realized I wasn't using my pre-paid minutes, I decided to give texting a try. Your Daddy and I text back and forth about you. When your Daddy was out of town, I sent him text pictures every day. Pictures with you holding up signs.
He's going to be take more time off during the last three months of this year. I could use the help. I hadn't imagined having you all to myself so often. Before you came, I worked on repairing and strengthening my relationship with both your Grandmothers in hopes of sharing some of the baby-watching-work. But, that hasn't materialized, the help I mean. Your Grandmothers and I are getting along just fine. Your Dad is going to take some time off and really, he sort of needs to because he has vacation days to use up.
Next month we're going to head up to the North Shore and hike up Oberg Mountain. In preparation for the trip we bought yet another baby carrier, this time an Ergo Carrier. It's one in which he can carry you on his back. We tried it the first time on Saturday when we took a walk through the wildflower and bird sanctuary. You seem to really like it!
I'm rambling when I really should be finishing this letter. Right now, you are off rollerblading with your Dad. Soon, it will be time to nurse you, then feed you solids, then bathtime and nursing again before putting you to bed at 8:00. It's not a schedule so much as it's a routine. It's seems to be working for you because you sleep eleven-twelve hours a night. Thank you so much for that Little Bud, I so appreciate that you are good sleeper!
Here are a few photos from today.
I can't believe how much you like hanging upside down. Apparently it's really good for realigning your spine; it's baby chiropactry
And, in case you wondering, no, we did not plan the fact that all our clothes match. But, we did take advantage of this situation.
I think it attests to us, as a family, being in harmony with the universe.
Today is 10/10/10 and you are eight months old. Every day I give thanks that you are in my life. Even when I'm tired and blue. I'm so happy to have you!
Fence post at the Eloise Butler Wildflower and Bird Sanctuary
One the things I love about Minnesota is the changing seasons. Autumn being my favorite season, I have decided to begin a 28-Day Photo Project. When my skeptical self started screaming that I've already got too much going, I say back, well if I don't do it now, then when? Autumn will quickly change to Winter and I want to capture these fleeting moments. I am hoping that my sense of urgency will then be applied to all those other aspect of my life.
For this adventure, I organized an outing for the Minneapolis Mamas and a total of six Mama/Baby pairs showed up! It was an awesome stroller parade! I should have taking pictures of all of us Mamas and Babies. I should have taken a picture of the MIA's awesome Family Room. I did neither of these things because I was so into the experience that I did not think to pull out my camera until Lotus Bud and I were alone again.
The MIA is very family friendly and we Mamas hung out mostly in the Family Room, eating lunch, feeding our babies and chatting about Motherhood.
Eventually, we did make it to the 3rd floor of the MIA and I quickly realized that we needed to spend many more days to take it all in. To be honest, the museum experience was a bit overwhelming, but only because I wanted to see it all. There are three floors and dozens and dozens of gallery rooms on each floor. There were all sorts of art pieces from canvases to sculptures to whole room displays and video presentations. There was pottery and photography and prints and textile designs. The list goes on and on and each floor is packed full of it.
The first room we entered was all that really registered in my mind. To me, it was the best way to begin because it contained several Twin Cities related subjects. I went back after all the other Mamas had left because it was then that I realized photography is permitted in the MIA.
How awesome is that?!
This piece caught my eye because I am interested in weather related things. I noticed the tornado before I realized that this was a painting of St. Paul.
This is a painting of the St. Anthony Falls before the dam was built. In order to build the dam, the project required removing the Falls. This is in NE Minneapolis, right near my home. Every time I walk by the dam, I try to picture the Falls, so I recognized the location in this painting right away.
One of the Mamas was an art history major in college and she said she practically lived in the MIA during her undergraduate years. Me? I had never even been here and did not realize that Minneapolis had such an enormous collection of such beautiful art.
Everything about the MIA was incredible. The construction of the building was smart and included a perfectly framed image of the city of Minneapolis. I was stunned. I gazed upon this view for quite a while, letting the other Mamas get ahead of me. Silly, now that I think of it as I should have paid more attention to the art. But, it was by this time that I was overloaded and felt I could not appreciate the art in the way that all the art should be appreciated.
It seems the MIA was not above poking fun at itself and the whole business of art. In an exhibit entitled An Embarrassment of Riches, there was a video loop of a Sotheby's art auction with an auction called "Strip the Auctioneer." His sock sold for an obscene amount.
Being a museum curator here would be a freaking awesome job, wouldn't it?
Many of Mamas expressed a desire to come back here, perhaps meeting twice a month instead of just once. This would allow us to visit the MIA once a month and explore a new destination at the other meetings.
I didn't want to leave. After the other Mamas left, Lotus Bud and I went back up the 3rd floor galleries and found a couple of benches where we could sit and soak in the color. Many of the rooms were empty of people. There were a few quiet, thoughtful moments.
There were huge, enormous, vibrant paintings to gaze upon. I am always amazed by the determination of painters. I imagine it must take a tremendous amount of courage to start a 20x20 ft. canvas, to make the first mark, to paint the first stroke.
Eventually, Lotus Bud well asleep and so, I started my way out of the museum and to the Jeep. While leaving the final set of doors, an elderly gentleman held them open for me and looked upon Lotus Bud and proclaimed that she was "Sleeping Beauty." How incredibly sweet. It was the perfect moment to end our outing to the MIA.
Sleeping Beauty with perhaps a little bit of Red Riding Hood in her.