On a Sonnet by Leah Goldberg
By Anna Kamienska
Translated by Grazyna Drabik and David Curzon
happiness doesn't know justice
It comes when it wants
and it wants unjustly
Time for you to withdraw into the rustle
of black silk attire
rather than to dress up in smiles
But is it your fault
that like rain it caught you on the road by surprise
that you didn't have time to cover your silver head
And now you stand like a lonely tree
open to all the winds and birds
And now you shine like a lake
and whether you want to or not
you reflect the sky
After Adam got home from Hebrew school, we ate a quick lunch and drove through beautiful Alexandria (which was crowded with visitors at its annual art show) to Mount Vernon, which was hosting its annual 18th Century Fair -- think Renaissance faire only set in the American Colonial and Revolutionary periods -- no swordfighting demonstrations and no stuffed or silver dragons, but lots of costumed craftspeople selling pottery, furniture, pewter, needlecrafts, herbs and the like, plus quack doctors and sword swallowers, weapons demonstrations by a Virginia regiment, and free cruises on the Potomac River to look for sneaky Redcoats. We are always happy to go to Mount Vernon and it's lots of fun to be there on a festival day with so many people dressed in 18th century costume. Plus we got to see dementordelta and Lin! We missed seeing General Washington, but we've often seen him wandering the grounds during other visits and he probably had a lot to do this weekend.
There were several weavers and many more people who worked with yarn and thread, both spinning-dyeing the raw material and knitting-crocheting-embroidering finished products.
One can buy freshly shorn, undyed wool...
...or a variety of homemade yarns...
...or finished cloth...
...or clothing, from breeches, petticoats and bodices to skirts and waistcoats to tunics, leggings and the inevitable hats.
This is Monsieur Le Farceur de Villeverte, the French lace merchant who unfortunately has had to start making his own lace after fleeing the Revolution.
He demonstrated how to weave with these bobbins (and offered my kids jobs for a penny a day).
After a turn through the upper gardens and farm to see the animals and summer squash -- we didn't make it to the newly restored barn or the crops along the river, though we saw them earlier in the year -- we came home so the kids could finish their homework. After dinner we all watched the Discovery Channel's Before the Dinosaurs, which had lots of interesting reproductions of what creatures from ancient Earth looked like -- huge spiders, mammal-like lizards -- and Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy, in which a 77 million year old hadrosaur-type dino from Montana named Leonardo is found with most of its skin and internal organs intact and the scientists attempt to perform an autopsy without damaging anything. We also watched the very end of the Pittsburgh game. And hey, the Redskins won! Maybe they won't stink this year!