Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Traditions

The subject of the The Cloisters came up at dinner a couple of weeks ago, as these things do. I realized it had been a tragically long time since I'd made the trip up there on my own, something I used to do often, especially when I felt off balance. There's something about the surroundings, the gorgeous Medieval art and the healing gardens that press my RESET button. It was the day before my 40s truly begin (just as the year 2000 was a practice run for the real Millenium, I say I'm not really 40 till I'm 41), and according to the forecast, the last day of mild weather for the foreseeable future. Best to make the most of it and get my ass on that A train. 

I took a different approach than I normally do, hiking up the hill where Fort Tryon Park starts on Broadway. I'd packed a picnic lunch (ham, arugula and hot tomato chutney sandwich, carrots and cherries) and stopped here to eat it. Some schleps are very satisfying. Dig the view!

And there she is!

My favorite items in the collection are those that are painstakingly carved and etched with the minutest and clearest of details. In most cases, all from a single piece, which leaves no room for mistakes. The things people spent their time on before the modern age, and with only natural and candle lighting! I am in awe.

Metal etching. This item is way smaller than it seems here, photo not nearly doing it justice.

The inscription on this covered 14th century chalice reads in Latin, "He who shall drink from me shall ever be happy." I'd love to find out if it's true. Can think of many things I'd like to put in it to try.

I love the trend of carving beasts at the foot of tombs. The ones below (as opposed to the ones the knight's feet rest on above) are supposed to stand guard. But I find them very sweet. 

Another beastie. Reminds me of Bruce. 

A very regal camel.

Love all the tranquil courtyards among the twists and turns.

This one is entirely surrounded by detailed columns such as this, all carved with different figures and allegorical signification.

I want a sink like this in my next house.

This fountain will do nicely as well.

Feed me, Seymour! (Ain't it cute?)

Sure, I could have spent Tuesday at home, writing, being generally productive. But this little staycation trip felt like even more of an accomplishment. I think I should make a point of coming here at least once a year. It might as well be June 19th, right? Make it a pre-birthday tradition. Great way to focus on the new year ahead for me, while looking back in time at some of my favorite things.

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