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great mothers day

May 11, 2009

When I was a kid in church they would give all the mothers roses during the service. And if there were extras, then they would start giving them to women who weren’t mothers, and if there were still extras, they would give them to the older teenage girls and so on. We always hoped they would get to our age group so we could have a rose too and sometimes we were in luck. 

Since flowers are no longer my thing, (I don’t go in for the pesticides and the plastic wrappers) Scott knew better than to try to get away with that. I do love a fun outing, however, so I requested a little jaunt to the Cheese Factory. 

I have been going to the Cheese Factory since I was a kid. We took school field trips there and had our 4-H potlucks and fairs there in the barns out back. You could take tours of the brie-making process and the place stunk to high heaven, like it REALLY stunk. You could barely breathe. Over time you started to like it but it was still a sort-of daring game to go in there as a kid. I have noticed the scent diminishing over the years but I couldn’t believe it when I went in today and it barely smelled at all. VERY strange, but maybe it was just allergies, or it may be the big fancy new building islating the processes from the little gift store in front and making it not stink as much. I truly hope this is not the case.


a lovely day at the cheese factory

a lovely day at the cheese factory

Mothers’ Day at the cheese factory was absolute heaven. It was a gorgeous day of just enough wind for a few kites to go up, just enough sun to be warm and the lawn out back was like Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, filled in with families and dogs and picnics and games of frisbee and catch. Of course, Scott, Lukas and I were there to see the Terroir exhibit, but we were not above eating sandwiches, It’s Its and cheese while watching out little guy crawl around a rock sculpture by Edwin Hamilton and introduce himself to some dogs and some other babies.

After a while, we leisurely headed over to the art exhibit, Terroir, curated by Patricia Watts and up through June 21st, that focuses on our local sense of place. There was a sculpture of clothing tags on a map. You could cut a tag out of your own clothes and add it to the map, taking a new tag from a basket and sewing it into your outfit. The new tag looks like a regular clothing tag, but poetically discusses global clothing-making conditions and how to treat the earth and its people. I cut out Lukas’s Osh Kosh tag and stuck it over in the Philippines. (noting to myself that I did buy that shirt at a secondhand store at least)

There was a piece on how far your produce has to go to make it to your table if you don’t buy local. There was a painting made with topsoil and pond scum from the area that was a lovely green color. Woven leaves and twigs, a composting bike, bread starter that will respond to cheese factory air (all we need to do is take some home and bake the bread to see what happens) and a piece on the history of cheese making from this very location.

I like the direction this is going. It is much more fun for me to experience art that calls me to think about something other than itself and also participate in the process in some way. It creates a feeling of authenticity in my own life experiences. So often, we see things that make us feel inadequate, and it was nice to go here on Mothers’ Day and be around art that actually reinforces my own flawed and beautiful experiences. For example, the bread that results from the starter is based on the current conditions in the air, not some standard of how bread is supposed to be. That is just what I needed on Mothers’ Day. Current conditions are what make us—sometimes that is really good, sometimes it falls a little flat and it is really just about continuing to make the bread (I mean live my life). 

We finished up our day by going to see my mother. My parents live out in the country a few miles away from the cheese factory so we take Lukas there whenever possible. Being a boy, he loves the water tanks, the cars, and the charcoal that drops out of the bottom of the barbeque. He is free to wander over petrified wood chunks and under walnut and pear trees. My dad shows him rabbits, deer, peacocks and turkeys. My mom helps him walk around past her irises and lavender. We put him in his little swing and hold him up to tree branches.

Much appreciation and love and thanks to the deities (especially the great mother) and the elements for a perfectly beautiful day. I know they had everything to do with it.

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