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Midas Under the Sunflowers: Orange Almost into Gold

Midas Under the Sunflowers. Photo by Margaret Almon.
Midas Under the Sunflowers. Photo by Margaret Almon.

When I found Midas under our sunflowers, I knew I needed to take photos for Orange Tuesdays.  Midas isn’t mine, but he came with the house, as the yard and porch are his by annexation.  This photo reminds me of the story of Jack and Beanstalk, but Midas has no interest in climbing the sunflower’s stalk, just in napping.  I am also reminded of the story of King Midas and the Golden Touch, who believes nothing more valuable than gold,  wishes that everything he touched would turn to gold, but when his wish is granted, he discovers his whole world solidifying into uselessness: food, water, and worst of all, his daughter.  How quickly King Midas’ wish went awry!

Midas Under the Sunflowers
Midas Looking Indifferent. Photo by Margaret Almon.

Once when we were young, my sister and I visited Butchart Gardens in BC, and there was a bronze statue of a pig, and you could make a wish while you rubbed his snout for luck.  My sister told me she wished the whole world was orange.  I don’t know if her enthusiasm for orange has endured, but I didn’t discover I loved orange until I started making art, and it was the orange glass that caught my eye again and again.  Even better is orange gold smalti, a thin layer of gold under and even thinner layer of orange glass, and no, I don’t wish everything I touched turned to orange gold.  Just a little is enough to bring things alive.  My neighbor Midas has one good eye, which is plenty for hunting, since he brings small “gifts” for his owner.  He got tired of my taking photos and turned his back to me.

Midas Under the Sunflowers
Midas Turns His Back To Me. Photo by Margaret Almon.

 

25 Years in the United States: My Journey as a Expatriate-Semi-Canadian

Margaret Almon circa 1985 with Hercules the Cat.
Margaret Almon circa 1985 with Hercules the Cat.

The summer of 2010, I reached a milestone 25 years of  living in the United States.  I left Edmonton, AB, Canada, in July of 1985, to go live with my mother and sister in Bethlehem, PA, the Moravian Mecca, where my mother was attending Moravian Seminary to become a minister.  I was 17, almost 18, and couldn’t imagine ever becoming comfortable in my new home.  Seriously, I didn’t understand flag worship, and my husband tried to explain it to me when I met him at 19.  I felt like an alien.  Now, after moving to several states, including Massachusetts, Oregon and Illinois, I have lived in PA for longer than anywhere else in the US, and it is my home.

I’d never heard of a rowhouse when I moved to the Philadelphia area, and now I live in one!  As my husband says, it’s our 1 bedroom-2 studio house.  There are still ways that I feel like an outsider, but this is where I have friends, where I know the back roads, where I make art, and now I can’t imagine going back to Canada.  But growing up there did shape me, and I am grateful for the perspective it gives me.  I always was a kind of alien, being born in the US, and moving to Canada when I was just a baby, and becoming a resident alien, a “permanent resident” which becomes impermanent if you leave for more than 2 years, and dont do arduous paperwork.

This photo is from the week before I moved to the US.  The back of the photo is labeled, in my stepmother’s handwriting, “Hercules and Margaret Almon, June 28th, 1985.”  Obviously, the most important person is listed first!  Hercules was a big lug of a cat who wandered around my father and stepmother’s condo complex, in search of superior victuals, and found the smoked salmon at their place suited him fine.  My haphazard buzz cut was from a woman at a $6 haircut shop, who watched tv while loosely interpreting Annie Lennox, left some bare patches, but overall, 6 weeks in, things were evening out.  Finally, I am wearing a Brave New Waves t-shirt that I received after writing many letters mentioning local bands to this late-night indie music radio show from the CBC.  I am taken aback by how currently “retro” it looks, with the old-school headphones emblazoned on the front.

How do you know when you are home?  I’d love to hear your stories.