By Thomas Lux
One wave falling forward meets another wave falling
hand-hauled, mineral, cool, could be
a kiss, or pastures
fiery green after rain, before
the grazers. The kiss -- like a shoal of fish whipped
one way, another way, like the fever dreams
of a million monkeys -- the kiss
carry me -- closer than your carotid artery -- to you.
Even though we're all still under the weather, we decided we really needed to get out of the house for a while, so after younger son got home from a Hebrew school field trip to the Ratner Museum where I would happily have accompanied him if I had been able to breathe without sniffling, we decided to brave the cold weather and go on the Countryside Artisans winter open house tour. We went first to Art of Fire, the wonderful glass studio where we usually begin; this time, in addition to glassblowing demonstrations and free coffee, cider, and cookies, they were hosting other artisans including several we know from the Maryland Renaissance Festival: Dancing Pig Pottery, Tuatha, and Allen Ye Printmaker.
We watched the entire process of this round glass candleholder being created, from the green color being added to the molten glass...
...to the heated glass being expanded for the first time...
...then heated again and expanded inside this mold to create a pattern.
Then the glass was twisted to swirl the pattern like this.
It was then surrounded by clear molten glass.
As it was heated and shaped, the pattern began to glitter in sunlight.
And when it was blown for the last time before being removed to create the open mouth of the candleholder, the swirl was apparent.
From Art of Fire, we went to Dancing Leaf Farm, which sells magnificent home-spun yarns and crafts, but I must confess that our compelling reason for visiting is that they have sheep, chickens, and two very friendly golden retrievers. (This weekend they also had cider and cookies.) On the way to the farm, we saw signs directing us to an alpaca farm open house, and since the kids weren't with us when we saw baby alpacas in Annapolis a couple of days ago, we decided to stop at A Paca Fun Farm. They have over 100 alpacas, including lots of nursing babies, the youngest only two weeks old! And they have a beautiful store with affordable gloves, scarves, and socks, which was also serving cider and cookies, so we were well-fed on this countryside tour.
Maryland apparently will be playing in the Humanitarian Bowl on December 30th, which will be shown on ESPN, and they will play Nevada, whom they might even be able to beat. Plus the game will be the first time the Wolfpack and Terps have played, and it's at Boise State University, which we visited last summer when we were in Boise visiting relatives (the stadium has blue grass). Our evening was spent watching the BCS Bowl selection show, which contained no major surprises, then the Redskins-Ravens game, which contained only bad ones if one was rooting for Washington. Ah well, at least we didn't try to go to Baltimore and brave both the cold and the crowds!