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Artists who paints in oil en plein aire. Member of the three member Plein Aire Cottage Artists. Members: Mary Rose Holmes, Violetta Chandler and Helen Tilston

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Hare With Amber Eyes

Ocean View by Helen Tilston

I belong to a newly formed book club.  Our founder brought ten friends together from various professions and we are all getting along very well.   Our first meeting was in November when we selected at my suggestion "The Hare with Amber Eyes" by Edmund de Waal.
I had read this book previously and the story lingered long after I closed the final page.   Our meeting to review the book was scheduled for January.

My daily routine is to fast walk/run 4-5 miles each morning on the beach.  To vary my route I will sometimes walk over Belleair Bridge which is a steep bridge that has incredible views.  One often meets the same walkers and Americans being both friendly and encouraging will greet and sometimes small talk ensues.  My painting and exhibitions stole much of my time in December and I was cramming to finish my required read.  I decided to listen to the book on tape.  
One morning my mind was miles away and on the home stretch of listening to "The Hare with Amber Eyes"  when  a regular walker, Madame X, a stunningly beautiful octogenarian waved and asked how I was.  I unplugged my headset and she asked what I was reading.   I told her and she asked what it was about.  I told her it was a memoir with the story woven around a collection of 264 netsukes.  I pronounced it net suke s.  She promptly corrected my pronounciation saying it is net skas.  I asked how she knew and she said she had a collection.   I was stunned beyond belief and she then asked me if I would like to visit her home.   I did not need much persuasion.   She is an art collector and had a rich and varied collection, including approximately 100 netsukes all purchased in Japan where she was based for many years.   She insisted on loaning me 10 pieces to our next book club meeting.

Here are some of the pieces
Netsuke:  Carved from wood or ivory and fit in the palm of the hand. Carving often takes more than a year to produce.  

Some may say coincidence or being aligned with the universe or the Holy Spirit being amongst us, I shall let you decide.
That a stranger would know what a netsuke was surprised me but to think she had a collection and I met her and she trusted me to loan me these valuable pieces for our book club meeting has me still tickled pink.