Saturday, November 4, 2017

Of Waves and Storms

Leave it to my favorite Kiwi to rub it in: "Bits of me are getting browner."

He's luxuriating in summer's arrival there, so I reminded him that we're sliding toward the dreaded winter here. "Does it get that cold there?" he asks, clearly surprised. How do you explain Virginia's schizoid weather to someone who's never experienced it?

Like today, for instance. When Mac and I walked to the river at 1:00, it was sunny and closing in on 80 degrees. When X-tina and Mac showed up at my apartment at 8 to go to InLight, it was cloudy and 69. By the time we got to Foushee Street, great gusts blew in, a few giant raindrops fell and the temperature plummeted to what felt like 50. Half an hour later, it was back to warmer but a downpour had begun. I try to convey all this.

Naturally, he responds with a photo of his dog George snoozing on the porch under a bright blue afternoon sky. Show-off.

InLight was mobbed when we made it over to Broad Street, making it difficult at best to appreciate any but the largest of works. We saw dogs and babies strung with lights, as well as a store window with an installation called "Freak Show" where willing volunteers were allowing themselves to be made up like a Kardashian.

Meanwhile, the ICA looked fabulous in shades of fuchsia and magenta being projected on its asymmetrical sides..

"Wave Form" involved three half bicycles that, when the pedals were rotated, caused wave forms on the walls, making for a colored Etch-a-Sketch effect. The best part of "Storm Ending" wasn't the glass cases of moving clouds but the rolling thunder soundtrack that accompanied it, especially once the downpour began.

It was a good thing we were having fun together because our timing seemed to be off. We stopped by Chocolates by Kelly in hopes of seeing truffles made under a black light, but the chocolate-maker was on a break. At the installation where the VCU dancers were in performance, we were at the back of the crowd and moments later, applause erupted as it ended.

Once the rain began, many installations involving projectors had to be shut down, so we headed over to Gallery 5 to see "Lit," two large-scale light shows in the upstairs gallery. The one on the south wall was particularly cool because it encompassed two windows that punctuated the groovy, swirling images being projected with real-life night scenes.

In the tiny back gallery, we watched a time-lapse video by Jackson Ward resident (and science nerd) Prabir, composed of images of the James River Park, the Sierra Nevadas, the Outer Banks and Great Smokey Mountains, full of dramatic shadows, racing clouds and shooting stars.

Everywhere we went, there was a lot of light inside while outside, it was a dark and stormy night.

The last thing I expected once my friends headed home was a protracted conversation with the only person I know in New Zealand, but there he was, looking to catch up. He wanted to know how life was and I, having just removed soggy shoes and a dripping jacket, said wet.

That's when he began bragging about summer and how great the vibe was, with lots of international visitors and fun. From there, we were off and running. Their local food and wine festival had begun yesterday, so he told me about the chef who'd prepared last night's multi-course meal pairing raw wines and food. Sounded fabulous to me.

Over the next little while, we delved into his travels, what he's been up to and our lives, with him sharing that he loved that his girlfriend had taught him the importance of conversation. Only a man would have to be taught such a thing.

What he had clearly absorbed while he was here back in May was what an enjoyable town this can be. "I have such good memories of my time in your hood. Really, it's a wonderful place." Tell me something I don't know, friend.

As we were closing in on an hour chatting, I began my farewells. Lazily, he responded, "Right. I think I need to have a snooze before dinner. Nice chatting, Karen. You made my time in Richmond."

Ah, but bits of you didn't get browner here. Next visit, more time at the river, I promise.

And, of course, all the conversation you can handle. That I've got in spades.


  1. K... this is the umpteen time I've missed that light show, (outta state). I swear I'm goin' to see it next year if I'm still kickin'.

    hey weather's not so bad... juz sweater weather...grab your pull-over.


  2. Looking forward to 78 degrees on Monday! Yep, you really need to check out InLight one of these years!