Friday, October 22, 2010

Apothecaries, Safe Journeys, Other Luminous Things

Full moon!
As I write this, a dear friend is driving through Montana, convinced that, in her words, "geography is relative," and Spokane is on her route back to New York City.
I ran last night under this big moon with the Flying Irish running club. Right after I moved here, I ran with them once; I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to join them again. Each week they run a 5k, and this week’s was the Stair Master, so named for the many stairs we trotted down and then back up near Spokane Falls. (Permit me an aside: When people ask me if I like Spokane, I tell them 1. that it’s too early to tell and 2. that I live within a short walk of a waterfall and a Nordstrom, and this seems about perfect to me.)
Speaking of other luminous things: I bought this San Rafael icon in a little shop in Albuquerque’s Old Town last weekend. I’m pretty bumbling and new to hagiography, but I like thinking about the saints. When I lived in Moldova, I was delighted that people celebrated their Saint’s Day (ziua onomastica) in addition to their birthdays.
This store had loads of Virgin Mary (especially Our Lady of Guadalupe) and Frida Kahlo merch, and rows of dangling saints attached to pinholed tin. I’ll put this San Rafael in my office. The room is homier now, with a latchhook butterfly rug, my Ikea white boards covered with notes, and shelves of leftover books from the department’s fundraiser sale last spring. 
San Rafael is not my saint (I suppose that would be Nicholas), and his feast day (Sept 29) is not my birthday (March 10). What swayed me is the description of his powers on the back of the tin icon: “Patron of lovers, safe journeys, apothecaries, pharmacists, happy meetings, health inspectors, young people leaving home, invoked against blindness.” Plus check out the guy’s wings, fetching cape, and rustic legwarmers! Is he carrying lunch, or a whimsical handbag? Either way, I’m on board!
A Correction:
A vocal member of my vast readership (heh) asked if Estancia’s festival (described in my last post) was actually Punkin Chunkin, not Pumpkin Chunkin. I thought I paid particular attention to this detail on the freestanding sign at the turnoff for the dusty field. I think what happened is that I so wanted the sign to read “Punkin Chunkin’” that I mistrusted my reading. Here’s a photo of a sign near the cannons:

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