Pegi Christansen: Distance 3

January 9, 2015

This is the third in a series of blog posts by Pegi Christiansen, who is a Lynden artist in residence through October 2015. As part of her project, Distance, Pegi will accompany people, in groups of up to three, on their first trip to Lynden. She will pick them up, drive them out, take a walk with them, and bring them back. As part of the excursion, she will ask some questions about distance. If you are interested in participating in this aspect of Pegi's project, please call 414-446-8794 or email info@lyndensculpturegarden.org and mention you are interested in a “distance visit.”

On Wednesday morning, October 22, I visited Lynden with two more members of the Grand Avenue Club. Tuesday had been windy and overcast, but Wednesday was calm and the sun poked out now and then. With no wind, Cathy Litwin, Aaron Leverence and I could see the clouds and trees reflected in the pond.

I explained on the drive out that 4000 trees were planted at Lynden when it was converted from cornfields into a private garden for Harry and Peg Bradley in the 1930s (the sculptures didn't begin to arrive until 1962). Cathy told us she has a friend who plants a tree for every grandchild.

The first question I asked Aaron and Cathy was, “If you could use a Star Trek transporter so you could step in right now and arrive somewhere else immediately, who would you want to see?” I was delighted to hear from Aaron that scientists have teleported atoms. In the Netherlands this year three atoms were teleported about ten feet. Who knows what might be possible ten years from now?

Cathy currently has a niece in Argentina. She would want to go to there to “see what she’s seeing.”

Aaron, thirty years old, lives in Elm Grove and has a nine-year-old brother who lives in Cudahy. He wishes he could see him more often, but acknowledges that “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” As he reminded me, “Sometimes you take people who are close to you for granted.”

Cathy picked up some leaves from the ground. After she moved to Milwaukee, she would press leaves in a book and send them in letters to her godparents in Manitowoc, and they would send leaves back. Cathy and her sister-in-law in Minnesota exchange cards with each other. She likes choosing which card to send. She generally doesn’t keep the letters and cards she has received, instead anticipating new ones in the mailbox. Cathy is an acute observer of people's penmanship: “My godmother wrote large and clear,” she recalls. “My husband had swirly handwriting.”

I mentioned the photographers I know who used to live in Manitowoc, John Shimon and Julie Lindemann. It turns out they photographed a friend of Cathy's, Susan, and Susan’s daughter. “Everyone is connected in a smaller city,” she said. “A smaller city keeps you grounded.”

On our way back to the car we walked by a stunning stand of birches where I took a picture of Aaron and Cathy.

ByBirches_dist3


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