Church Mouse
This upside down organ stool has its glass feet on display like a similar piece of topsy-turvy furniture in Minneapolis, which had the city skyline behind it. This former tool box is more similar in shape and color to a permanent wall hanging at the Goodhue County Historical Center. Photo by Kate Josephson.

The first arrangement that I encountered, at the top of the stairs as I turned the corner, had white roses symbolizing George Washington’s hair, dark red anthurium curving off to the side like the velvet drapery, and light blue carnations suggesting the sky outside the window beyond.

Another bouquet at the popular institute of art event, featured very brightly colored small compact blossoms systematically positioned tightly together to represent the abstract shrub-like clumps of dots on the corresponding canvas. 

Sometimes the viewer’s outfits complimented the art — such as a woman’s blue fleece cap near a large mostly blue “immersive” repeated pattern. There was also the girl in a dark blue skirt, white socks and long dark hair held back by barrettes standing eye-to-eye with an impressionistic picture of a younger girl — also dark hair, no barrettes. 

A Benedictine monk was represented by a few stalks of wheat.

My favorite combination was horizontal swaths of rich colors including purples, gold and green, which I found out later was done by a Minnesota native, entitled Lake Superior; I bought several postcards.

There were a lot of cars, lots of people. It was a bit daunting.

The next day, I went to the Goodhue County History Center. Colorful rural scenes were on easels in rooms full of rustic farm equipment. I liked the picture of the wagon with the high boards on the far side, off of which to bounce the hand picked ears of corn. 

A couple inside settings had partially peeled apples.

Upstairs in the back was a restored painting by the woman who had been the instructor of art at the Red Wing Lutheran Ladies’ Seminary before it burned down in 1920. An article in an old newsletter described the quality curriculum for the women on College Hill — also noting it had a Norwegian nickname that meant “the pastor’s wife factory.”

Rites and rituals are good springtime traditions. Ritualistic behavior engages the mind (whereas habits help one disengage). Rituals are created to help remind us of our relatedness and place in the world — hopefully invoking a heightened sense of sacred enchantment. 

A small gesture such as a slight bow, folded hands or checking with another shopper before spinning the postcard stand, can all create just the right amount of “friction” (a type of ritual, I just found out) to further affix you to a precious moment in the earthly twirl of time and space.

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