Last week, I returned to my keyboard for the first time in months (inspired by my inescapable desire to sing selections from the Mary Poppins Returns soundtrack). To my great shame, a layer of dust covered the music stand and even its tinny electric sound felt alien to my ears.
Given how long it’s been since I practiced piano in earnest, I almost feel undeserving of this dress – how dare I wear these stylized keys around my neck when I’ve neglected them for so long?
Though all blogs, diaries, and long-lost firsthand personal narratives remain selective in the facets of an individual’s life that they present, I assure you that my love for dresses as expressed through my social media holds a very strong basis in reality. I wear dresses (and occasionally skirts) nearly every day – I can remember with perfect clarity each of the few instances in which I’ve chosen a pair of leggings or pants instead over the past year.
Given that I have become what can be fairly described as a “dress collector,” of course, I now prioritize different qualities in garments than I did in the past. I love dresses that seem to last forever, and can be worn countless times in various situations. Some of this past year’s acquisitions, fortunately, appear able to withstand any challenge – and will ideally remain part of my wardrobe well into 2020 and beyond!
For every book cover printed on this dress, I can assure you that I have a real-world equivalent stacked in the massive monolith of research texts I acquired for the end of this semester.
Sometimes the treasures that fall into my hands through interlibrary loans astound me. A few weeks ago, I went to retrieve a stack of books about the Lindisfarne Gospels and wound up with a resplendent gold-embossed tome from 1908, its covers graced with as much elaborate interlace as the Gospels themselves. I felt almost afraid to touch it, much less page through in search of historiographical significance – it currently sits on a single shelf in my office like an arcane sorceress’ grimoire.
I wore this dress not for an endless day of research (of which I’ve had many of late) but to celebrate my favorite poet’s birthday, an occasion for which I participated in a reading of an eccentrically droll children’s Christmas story from the nineteenth century. I have to confess that the experience of holding that original book up for the audience to see absolutely delighted me.
I wonder how perplexed (or delighted) these various writers from the past century would be to find that the vogue for ornamental Victorian book covers has persisted to the extent that I own a dress covered in their likenesses!
The last time I visited Wales, crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct seemed an impossible venture – ice, cold, and wind might have complicated such a quest. I’m glad we didn’t even try, because the summer experience proved absolutely idyllic!
Clad in my standard uniform for British adventures – a Sophie Hatter-esque dotted blue dress and an enormous, SPF-strong sun hat – I stepped into the sky with a canal at my side!
The aqueduct (a World Heritage site!) naturally appealed to my romantic sensibilities. That’s funny, considering that it constitutes an engineering highlight of the Industrial Revolution – probably the opposite of what would satisfy most actual Romantics – but in the twenty-first century, it possesses a distant historical aura that I adored. Imagine an alternate world in which such airborne canals became commonplace, and man-made rivers stretched like highways throughout all of New England!
A flock of ducklings and their watchful mother crossed our paths near the edge of the canal. Make way!
Of course, I most enjoyed the marbled, glimmering glimpses of the sky and trees in the water! On our way back, a few tourist-bearing canalboats sliced through the reflections, creating an even more dizzying pattern of colorful ripples. Now that I’m back in Massachusetts, I can’t help peeking into creeks with some disappointment…
That one sublime moment when the tree adjacent to my home explodes in a cloud of blossoms always marks the end of my winter sadness–and this year’s bloom coincided with the conclusion of my first year as a graduate student! Though I’ll sorely miss discovering the most eccentric and fascinating aspects of medieval art every two days, I am glad to have some time to recover from a challenging semester. Now begins the season of writing letters, reading novels, admiring flowers, and wearing enormous hats to protect myself from the sun!
Inspired by the keenly methodical botanical activities of my favorite poet, I spent all of my finals week dreaming of acquiring a flower press and creating my own herbarium this summer. Considering that I’ve now survived that demanding cycle of paper-writing and sleep deprivation, I’m making such whimsical activities my top priority!
Other ridiculous goals I have in mind for the upcoming months of relative freedom include:
- finding out absolutely everything I can about nineteenth-century attitudes towards fairies (this is technically for school, but that’s of no consequence if it’s fun!)
- apprenticing myself in the arcane practice of NAIL ART (since I’ve stopped biting my nails for the first time in my entire life!)
- [re]learning Latin (it’s been a long time since I superficially studied it in fourth grade, and I’ve felt a strange desire to return to such ancient speech!)
- carrying out a host of crafting projects for my wedding in August–many of which you might see soon, because my final goal involves…
- actually blogging regularly! (Oh how I’ve missed writing these strange letters to the world. See you again soon!)
For some reason, I attempted to channel a vaguely Atlantis: The Lost Empire aesthetic for my first day of the spring semester. Milo Thatch, after all, has always been my number-one fictional academic inspiration.
Will such a style help me with art history, though? Likely not — but if I need to decipher any runes or mythical cartography I might be okay.
rabbits & the moon ♡ my first petticoat! ♡ cosmic & canine
cute & cephalopoda ♡ she buys seashells ♡ return to the sea
tidepool time ♡ rose-y cotton ♡ burgundy every burgunday
Given this general delinquency in terms of my blogging consistency this year, I almost feel like I don’t deserve to pepper this coming week with unwarranted “round-up” posts–but I hope the nostalgic alchemy of year-end reflections will transform my posting malaise into something golden.