spring break adventures

Yesterday was Only Daughter’s first day of spring break, but I had college classes to teach, so today is “our” first day of spring break together.

We started by getting up “early” (8:00) and heading off to Frederick Meijer Gardens to see the butterflies.

Here are some of the pictures.

If you look closely you should be able to see lots of butterflies. The air was just aflutter.

These are feeding on little balls of nectar.

Wonder if this one is wearing enough SPF.

“Does this flower make my wings look bluer?” “Yes! Now hold still!!!”

Ready for takeoff!!!

This next butterfly is quite large, and the inside of its wings are a beautiful powder blue. One of these types kept flying around and around us, and we were hoping it would land on one of us, but it didn’t. It was a bit disconcerting, though, because it liked to circle our legs, which made us afraid to take a step in case we stepped on it. If you look at the first picture, you can see a hint of the blue as a bright streak between the two wings. The second shot, taken more from the side, better shows its striking eye-markings. I stood and waited and waited and waited for it to fly so I could try to capture it with the wings open (he would NOT hold still). As you can tell by the 3rd shot, it didn’t work out so well.

The funnest part is when you leave, you exit through a vestibule of sorts so they can check for hitchikers.

I tried not to let it bother me when oblivious people would push into view between the scene and my camera and stand there, or when one woman stood and watched for many minutes while her daughter tried repeatedly to catch one of the butterflies, inches from the sign that says “Please Do Not Touch the Butterflies.”

We decided to make the most of our visit, so walked through the sculpture gallery, currently featuring works by Jim Dine. Only Daughter summed it up as such: tools, women (he has a fascination with Venus di Milo), hearts, and Pinocchio. My cynical self wonders if taking four completely unrelated ideas and juxtaposing them qualifies one as an “artist.” Most of it I don’t get, including this:

Now that’s one heck of a tool belt!

It is interesting in that all of his sculptures are in bronze, but treated in such a way as to look like wood, or bone, or even rubber. The security guard pointed out that, after 8 hours a day 5 days a week patrolling the sculpture hall, he was noticing more and more details, such as wondering if the tread on the two tractor tires (connecting an axle which bore more farm implements, a “metal” pig, and a rather large skull) was going in two different directions on purpose — was it implying some kind of circle? Hmmmm, good question, but not good enough to balance out the general state of perplexity and lack of emotional connection I had with most of the work.

There was a “bouquet” of Venus di Milos which I kind of liked, but after I took the picture above Only Daughter pointed out the “No Photography” sign, so I decided I better not take another.

The following are part of the permanent installation:

“Seven Saints and Sinners” by Marshall Fredericks

(Daughter liked that the baby has a halo, too.)


“Hagar” by Jacques Lipchitz

Some of you may know Hagar from the story of Genesis: originally the handmaiden of Sarai (Sarah), Abram’s (Abraham) wife, who was offered to Abram by Sarai when she became concerned over her barrenness and believed that she should do this in order to fulfill God’s promise. As you can imagine, Hagar became pregnant before Sarai did, and resentment brewed. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, who became the leader of the Ishmaelites. Hagar is also mentioned in the Koran, although not by name, as it is believed that through her son comes the Prophet Muhammed.

I like this sculpture very much. Its twistings, intertwinings, seem to well represent the complexities of Hagar’s actual and emotional circumstances.

You can see a bit of the Chihuly chandelier in the background.


Phase 2 of Day 1 involves the making of Monkey Bread. Careful consideration of the ingredients (2 sticks of butter, 3 eggs + 2 egg yolks) implies that I will not, however, be eating very much of the monkey bread.

And I think I might have agreed to take her to see a potentially cinematic monstrosity known as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules” this afternoon. It must have been a weak moment.

2 Responses to “spring break adventures”

  1. April 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    LOVE Chihuly — were there more of his pieces? And I love butterflies, don’t know why. Enjoyed your pics. Mmmm, Monkey bread. SURE you won’t be eating it?!! Hard to resist after putting in all that work. So glad you and your daughter are enjoying one another. Very sweet.

  2. April 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Butterflys are so magical. Love them. Little balls of nectar, very cute. The sculptures with the tools make me think of, a woman’s work is never done.

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