Sunday, July 10, 2011

W-b-N, Quilts and Obama’s Middle-East speech

May 20

I spent the night in a rest-stop near Booneville, Missouri.  This one was certainly quieter than last night’s stop, but I slept as well.  The house battery was very low again when I awoke this morning.  I’m not going to be able to leave it unplugged for a few days, as I had originally intended, when I go back from Denver to Charleston to pick up Blake.
The trip from Nashville was pleasant, again with trees and hewn, bare-faced rocks offering a kaleidoscope of scenery along the highway’s edge.  Once across the Mississippi River, the land becomes very flat; large fields, dotted with barns, farm houses, and sheds line the road.  Many fields, just recently planted, are covered with a film of luscious, pistachio green - newly sprouted plants.  Patches of brown, where plants have not yet germinated, show the soil beneath.  Other fields are bright yellow with rape-seed flowers, already in full bloom.
Near the border of Kentucky and Illinois, approaching the town of Paducah, I noticed a sign for the “National Quilt Museum” and, on a lark, decided to visit it.  The rest stop I intended to stay at was about an hour away, and it was only 4:00 PM, so I thought it might be fun to spend an hour looking at quilts.  My friend, Ellie, does quilting, as does Marlene, one of the women in the K-Gals group.  Even Lis has done quilting, and was teaching some of the students in her class to quilt as a project while I was visiting her school.  The quilt museum was marvelous – quilts of every description decorated its walls and hung on rods between rooms so the viewer could see both front and back.  These are quilts as art-form, and the intricacies of design, the meticulousness of the stitching and background are almost beyond imagining.  They are art-works that take years to complete; the patience and persistence required boggles the mind.  And as a female art-form, quilting is largely unappreciated by the general public.  Mostly other quilters come to stand in awe before the imagination and effort involved.  But I was as enthralled by the quilts as I normally am by well-done paintings in a museum.  I wished I had given myself more time.  I was reminded of the patient creativity of trees as they slowly craft their limbs and leaves and create a standing beauty that is largely unappreciated by observers.
Normally, I listen to audiobooks on a long trip like this, but I didn’t pick up any at the library before leaving Charleston.  Just not enough time to do it; besides, they would have come due before my return.  So I’ve been trying to listen to NPR (public radio) as I drive, where I can get music, news and interesting talk radio.  But, of course, I lose the signal every hundred miles or so.  Usually I can find another PBS station by using the “seek” button in the lower FM ranges - except in western Tennessee, Kentucky and southern Illinois.  This bandwidth is also where you find religious stations and other quirky types of broadcasts.  The other evening, I found a station where the theme was “Hep-Cats Holiday,” featuring Tommy Dorsey and other ‘30s & ‘40s musicians.
Yesterday about noon, I was lucky.  Skirting St Louis up 255 and around 270, I picked up a NPR station that was about to carry President Obama’s speech on the Middle East.  There were commentators trying to guess what he would say.  The speech came through loud and clear on the radio, and was rational and sensible in tone and content.  When he got to the section of his speech about women, I started to choke up.  He declared that those countries with educated and empowered women were the most economically advanced and the most peaceful nations in the world.  He was making such an obvious observation, yet other men in positions of power have been unwilling to articulate that or unable to see it.  I began to weep because he was willing to come out and say it for the entire world to hear.  I don’t believe I have ever before wept during a political speech.


  1. This whole post reminds me of some reflections I made travelling last summer, and listening to NPR. The last paragraph speaks to me today in ways I cannot explain. Thank you for this.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Lisa. I hadn't seen it before and just came upon it as I was browsing this post, intending to include it as a link to another blog.