Of Shakespeare and jellyfish

Today was a day of on again off again thunderstorms. In between downpours I did things like walk the dog, crochet jellyfish, and go to the North Carolina Museum of History to take a look at one of Shakespeare’s first folios from the Folger Shakespeare Library that is on display there through tomorrow.

I have to admit, it’s not something I would have thought to do on my own, but when all was said and done, I was glad I had gone to see it, and I like to think that some of the magic of Avon’s bard has somehow touched me.

The Folger Shakespeare Library first folio tour, of which this exhibit is a part, was housed on the third floor of the North Carolina Museum of History at the end of a hall next to a video exhibit that had the sound turned on to a volume I found to be “louder than necessary.”

As I read the supporting materials for the Shakespeare first folio, I struggled to hear myself think over the audio portion of the exhibit in the next room, but then I saw the first folio itself:

Shakespeare's first folio
Shakespeare’s first folio at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh

It was opened to Hamlet’s soliloquy:

Hamlet's soliloquy to be or not to be
Opened to the page of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy

Would my modern eyes be able to decipher these words printed nearly 400 years earlier?

I leaned over and studied the text.

After reading a couple of lines, I was able to comfortably read the early modern English, and Hamlet’s pondering about the nature of being.

And that was it.

In 15 minutes time I had seen the entire first folio exhibit and found myself both transfixed and (perhaps) transformed.

After lunch, I also found myself ready to crochet. On Friday, I had been able to finish one of the jellyfish I had started:

first completed crochet jellyfish amigurumi
The first completed crochet jellyfish

Could I, I wondered, finish more jellyfish today?

The answer: sort of.

I did finish this one key-fob sized jellyfish:

Smaller crochet jellyfish amigurumi
A smaller crochet jellyfish

but I did not quite finish either of these two jellyfish whose various parts were swimming around in my bag:

two crochet jellyfish amigurumi
Two crochet jellyfish in medias res

When we set out to do something, we don’t know what effect it will ultimately have on us. How we will be changed (or not), what will move us (or not), and while I don’t yet know where Shakespeare’s folio and these jellyfish will take me, I, like Hamlet before me, have questions to ponder:

To crochet or not to crochet? What’s the question?

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