Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rhythm and Canoes

Earlier this week we set out on a little adventure to meet up with some friends at the Eiteljorg. We went straight to the interactive section of the museum to play store and stagecoach.

We also found something new that struck my little ones' fancies this time. Instruments. Each took their turn striking a chord on their instrument of choice. After a lunch break, our friends left and Audrey asked to stay. We had a little time, so I asked if she wanted to head back downstairs to play. "No. I want to see the exhibits," she said.

Since we had to pass a totem pole on our way to the exhibits, we began there. I explained that every totem pole tells a story and read her the story of this one about a young man who saves his starving village by killing a sea monster and wearing the monster's magical skin to catch fish. Then, to my surprise, when I asked which section of the museum she wanted to walk through she chose the contemporary art.

We began with this installation, Wach-Nee (Canoe Form) by Truman Lowe. The piece is supposed to create the feeling of being underwater as a canoe passes overhead. As Audrey led me from exhibit to exhibit, we wove our own story of walking underwater and the things we would see and feel beneath our toes.

She stopped at each exhibit, asking me to read about each one until I told her we had to go, and promised to bring her back. Once home, I handed her a piece of paper and asked her to draw her story. Like all stories, it changed from the original telling, and the retelling in the car, and by the time it found its way to paper and crayon, it had been reborn into something new - the only detail that remained being that the bottom of the body of water was a layer of rocks rather than sand or mud. Story recorded, we moved on to the adventures that lay in wait, as all of us with a story do.

(Audrey and I are the two figures with the crazy hair standing at the side of the water. Yes, in this version of the story we are no longer in the water. Why? Well, that little figure outlined in blue on the right-hand side of the paper would be a shark. I'm not really sure how we transitioned from walking barefoot in a freshwater creek with minnows to standing at the side of some water scared of a shark, but there you have it. As for all the blue ovals? Those would be the rocks. Stories change. Rocks are forever.)

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