10 hours ago
Thursday, January 15, 2009
THE RED CHAIR, THE SHELF AND THE BLACK CHRIST OF ESQUIPULAS
Peter Schjeldahl recently wrote, "A funny thing about chairs: to use them is to lose sight of them." I saw the picture of these chairs in The New York Times and am really enamored of the stringy one. It seems very easy to make, as well, just buy lots of red, stringy yarn and loop it all over some old chair. I got to try it soon. When I finally clear all the boxes of books, CDs and paintings that are still lying around the unfinished apartment. Pretty chairs are best appreciated, obviously, when we're not sitting on them. Unlike clothes, though, they don't make us feel better-looking by wearing them or, in this case, by sitting on them. But I'm not going to get philosophical about chairs and fashion right now.
The other is of one of the shelves in the kitchen, a single shelf that took over a whole week to install, true to Guatemala's paradigm of timeliness. But now that it's there, I love how all my kitchen books look upon it. Not that I use them much! Which is why there are Balinese masks and baskets and all sorts of tchotchkes over and around them.
Well, yesterday, because there are peaceful protests closing up the main freeways in the rural areas, we didn't have many guests, as most of our weekday guests are rural merchants and government officials coming to the city for business. They could not get through. But today we had a sudden and unexpected influx of guests that filled out the whole inn! Most of them are Catholic pilgrims from Mexico on their way to the historic Black Christ of Esquipulas, an icon in Northeastern Guatemala which is revered thoughout Central America. I am endlessly curious about pilgrims, so will try to find time to chat with some of them before they leave tomorrow morning on their way to the shrine. Makes me think of Chaucer's tales and didn't Bocaccio also write some ribald stories on pilgrims? This group sounds plenty festive, that's for sure.