Bee Yourself

One thing you’ll learn about me quickly is that I love bees. Bees are wonderful, magical creatures. The structure of their hives has a certain beauty and order, they are the backbone of our agricultural system, and they inspire great poetry. For these reasons and many others, I was excited to learn that Bryn Mawr had a beekeeping club when I first arrived as a frosh. I joined as soon as I found out about it and am now the president of the Beekeeping Club. We have a few hives that are about a ten minute stroll from campus at a wonderful farm. I’m thrilled to start up this season of beekeeping, here’s a photo of me as well as our secretary and web mistress, as well as the posters we made, at Fall Frolic:

When I visited DC last weekend, along with seeing some wonderful art I also got a chance to visit the White House beehives. Did y’all know about these? In association with the White House vegetable garden, there is a colony of honeybees! I like to imagine Mr. and Ms. Obama putting fresh honey into the coffee they drink every morning while gazing into each others’ beautiful eyes. Here’s a photo of the White House hives, courtesy of my friend Maggie:


The First of Many Posts Wherein I Fangirlishly Gush About Art

Last weekend a dear friend of mine was driving to DC and offered to take me with. Some friends I went to high school with are living there for the year, and it was so nice to hang out with people from my hometown– entering their house was like stepping into a portal to Utah.

Something that I’m always excited to see in DC is Helen Frankenthaler’s Mountains and Sea (1952). I really love this painting, especially because studying it was such a formative moment for me in deciding that I wanted to study art history and in particular feminist methodology in art history. It’s a really stunning painting, larger than life and gorgeous in its colors and form. I’ll include a reproduction of it, but no photo can do it justice.

Glorious. And this image doesn't do it justice.

I love Abstract Expressionist paintings because looking at them is such a singular, visceral experience– looking at an Abstract Expressionist painting not just a visually pleasing or intellectually stimulating moment of observing an object of significance. Rather, it’s a process: you walk up to this looming canvas featuring colors and shapes that don’t signify anything you’ve seen before, and you stand as close as the security guard will let you and you have to crane our neck to see the entire painting. It’s intimidating, authoritative, and looking up at it like that you wonder if one of its vast fields of color or constellation of splatters will swallow you right up. You feel tempted to back down, as staring down this enormous beautiful thing is terrifying, but somehow you find the courage to keep looking. When you’ve finally looked at every single beautiful inch of the canvas before you, you step away having had a near death experience, having faced a sublime existential void and having survived.

I guess this is all a very wordy way of saying that my relationship with the work of Frankenthaler and her Abstract Expressionist peers is essentially Stockholm Syndrome.

What I Wore: Parade Night

All day on Friday, people kept saying, “What a lovely dress you’re wearing!” To this I would respond by showing them that I was in fact not wearing a dress, but a romper gifted to me by my hellee, perfect for climbing trees and riding bikes:

Making an extra creepy face to show off my increased sartorial dexterity.

It’s daisy printed and has a dark blue background, which I thought would be appropriate because daisies are the official flower of Bryn Mawr and dark blue is my class color (evens ’til we’re dead!). The romper format seemed useful because sometimes it’s hard to sit on the ground for a long time in a dress. Also, this is a goofy enough garment that I thought maybe I should wear it first in front of people who are feeling the Parade Night spirit and will be forgiving about my silly clothing choices. My aforementioned hellee, Anna, is set to graduate in 2014 as well (she is extra ambitious and planning on graduating in 3 years, which makes me want to say weepily, “My little baby is all grown up!” and plant an embarrassing lipsticky kiss on her forehead like a good mom) so we were matching in our dark blue:

Me and my babygirl.

Isn’t she the cutest? Also, am I the only person who absolutely loves being matching with other people? My grandma used to buy me and my older sister matching fluffy dresses and frilly socks for Sunday School and I absolutely loved it.

On Parade Night, it’s the Sophomores’ responsibility to gently sprinkle water (via water balloons and squirt guns) upon the first-year students as they run through campus. As their sister class, we juniors are expected to shower the new students with flowers and candy. I threw a combination of rose petals I foraged (I’ve noticed the rose bushes shedding, I was able to gather a generous number of petals from the ground beneath them) and bread crumbs because, you know, Bread and Roses. I tossed in a little glitter too, for good measure. It felt so great to be back in the traditions spirit, sitting on a blanket with my friends and singing songs with my fellow Mawrters, sprinkling rose petals, glitter, and bread crumbs like a fairy princess flower girl Gretel, and of course frolicking in Taft under the warm night sky after we finished singing a lullaby to our sister class.

Embracing Grandparenthood

This morning, a young lady who I presume to be a member of the class of 2016 spoke to me while I was rushing to a meeting in Dalton. “Excuse me,” she said, gesturing to Pem East “Is this Thomas Great Hall?” I pointed her in the right direction and sent her on her way, but I wanted to tell her that “Thomas Great Hall” may just be a meaningless phrase to her now, it may refer to a space she doesn’t feel confident finding now, but over the next four years it will gain great meaning. The phrase “Thomas Great Hall” will become familiar to her mouth, soft and easy to say instead of a new, strange shape, used often enough that she’ll abbreviate the name. She’ll go there countless times seeking Athena’s blessing, attend lectures and events that enrich her life, and Thomas Great Hall will become a part of her daily routine.

That experience was one of many that happened during my first few days back at the Mawr this year. I arrived the day before the bulk of the class of 2016 was scheduled to arrive, so I watched all the incoming frosh pour in to campus. The frosh who I was particularly excited to meet, of course, were those who were the customs babies of my customs babies– my customs grandchildren, so to speak. I was so excited to meet my 50+ grandkids, but also a little apprehensive. The fact that my customs babies, who I thought or hoped would never grow up, were raising customs babies of their own reminded me that I am getting older and that (heaven forbid) I may one day have to graduate. Last week, a flood of adorable, wide-eyed, memento moris came through, reminding me that my time at Bryn Mawr is limited, which is something that I hate thinking about.

That’s dark, of course, but accepting change is an important and challenging part of life. I am a junior now, which is scary, but that also means that I know the ropes around campus, that I get to take classes that are exactly what I’m interested in, that I know who my friends are, and that I will totally get to sit back and relax during Hell Week (sidebar: I had no idea how much fun/hard work it is to hell someone! Wow!)

So as I gather flower petals/glitter/confetti/candy to sprinkle upon the sweet, wonderful, overwhelmingly welcome class of 2016, I do so with a little bit of sadness and nostalgia in my heart, but mostly excited for my future as a Mawrter and excited to watch this new crop develop.