It's funny about pleasure, and the things that bring pleasure into a person's life...or a family's life.
Just as our meeting one another doubled the pleasure that we had in life, QiuQiu's presence - and her obvious joy in every moment of life - has tripled it.
And it has been interesting to experience this unique and often frightening time in the history of our nation at such a joyful time in our life as a family. There has been an old saw in my own family about how joy in life is intensified in times of meager means. It had, of course, a particularly intense meaning for my mother's family during wartime, and in my father's family during his poverty-stricken early childhood during the Great Depression. There have been times when it has annoyed me to hear that old saw dragged out again in an attempt to brighten difficult moments...and yet there is no denying that there's a truth to it. When times are tight, when possessions are few and treasured, the power of familial love, of imagination and the inner world of the soul become much more acute and intense. There's a lesson there, and a value that should never be taken for granted.
I think that we are all experiencing that lesson again now. After so many years of rampant consumerism, shallowness and overindulgence, it's time again for us all to remember the power of imagination, the core essence of familial joy, and all that can be made from those simple pleasures. I think that few of us are unaffected by the fear of what could be lost at this moment in time - jobs, livelihoods, homes...the list goes on. And yet the essential joy doesn't go away. It is simply filtered down to those things which matter most. In that spirit, M., QiuQiu and I took a long walk downtown today on M's lunchbreak...not to shop. Not to buy anything. Just to experience the most eclectic part of the city in which we live...the part of the city in which the old and the new cohabitate...the sordid and the enlightened, the cultured and the lost, poverty and wealth. New, stark, glossy art galleries share real estate with thrift shops and dive bars. Expensive antiques stand side by side with skate shops and boarded up storefronts. Trendy restaurants are hip to hip with tattoo parlors and houses of ill repute. These are the layers of society, history and culture that make up our city.
We thought it was high time we introduced QiuQiu to the grand, messy, confused, eclectic hive of Denver's urban heart.
The most inexplicable store on Broadway. Wigs? Corsets? "Hi-heels"?? Judging by the false stone facade, the antiquated, hand-painted lettering, and the...how shall I say it...goods advertised, this store has been around for decades. And yet, the lettering is always freshly-painted, the window displays - if smacking of another era - constantly replenished. Obviously, this store still does a rollicking trade. Why? It's one of Denver's great mysteries.
They certainly like to decorate for the holidays, as well! Who does hand-painted glass signage of this caliber in this day and age, I ask you? Where do they even find the tradesmen to perform such a task?
QiuQiu, by the looks of it, was mightily entertained by the whole show.
QiuQiu and I enjoying an exhibit at a new and prestigious local gallery.
Local neon signage.
M and QQ across from the iconic Aztec Theater.
A local historic landmark building, decorated with stencil graffiti.
Nothing.. and I mean nothing...makes QQ as happy as being out for a stroll with both of her parents.
Could be modern art, could be indoor construction in progress...hard to say!
To be kissed by daddy while looking at mommy over his shoulder = pure bliss.
An unusually cool local crafts cooperative.
Mannequin parts waiting for assembly in a shop window.
Late afternoon light.
One of a great number of used bookshops.
For some reason, at this time of year, there was a boat parked on the street. Only on Broadway.
A salon window, dressed to the nines for the holidays.
An unusual vintage toy in a window.
A little slice of punk.
QQ growing tired, safe in the arms of her family as the afternoon wanes.
Indulging her love of any and all reflective surfaces.
More signage from a bygone era.
Resting in the doorway of a high-end antique emporium.
Upside-down is always better than rightside-up.