Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11!

Today, May 11, is National Train Day. (Truly. Amtrak and Wikipedia say so, here and here.) Here’s one train rider’s memory of a formative cross-country trip:

“I was fourteen when my parents returned from one of their trips out West to say that they had found a home in California and we would be moving to the town of Santa Barbara. The train ride from Pittsburg to California took us across country for nine days. The train was taking us from our past, through the vehicle of the present, to our future. The tracks in front of me, hugged the land, and became a living part of my memory. Parallel lines whose meaning was inexhaustible, whose purpose was infinite. This was, for me, the beginning of my ballet Frontier.”

That’s Martha Graham, from her autobiography Blood Memory. Today, May 11, is also Martha Graham’s birthday. Everything connects!

Martha Graham’s birthday is also remembered today on Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac site, here, where there is more posted about Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. Thank you, Anita!

Happy May 11 to you, no matter how you celebrate it.

Above: a detail from Locomotive, coming in September.

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