365 Days of Earrings

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A long, cold, soggy March

My mother used to joke that she controlled the weather. "If I carry an umbrella, it won't rain."

Today I wore my umbrella earrings, made by the amazing Fimo clay artist in north western Pennsylvania. Thanks to me and these umbrellas, there was a steady drizzle for most of the day, but no serious downpour. Not even during carpool this afternoon, a time when the skies often open and drench us all. After all, I control the weather.

Late this afternoon, when I went to take a quick photo in the misty outdoors, I realized that I'd be risking getting my camera damp while taking a lousy photograph. It's a drab, gray, soggy world out there. So I came back in and wandered about looking for a spot to shoot a photo.

I hung my earrings over my kitchen sink, from the elephant tile that I bought at an Amsterdam street market some 15 years ago on my first trip to Europe. Like an elephant, I love water. I find washing dishes therapeutic; I dream of summer when I will once again paddle my kayak upstream against the current; I joyfully raise my face toward the showerhead to greet each new day.

I love water. Just not cascading at dismissal time. Today I wore my umbrella earrings to keep my feet dry.

On to April! April showers bring... And me with no more umbrella earrings...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Year of the Insect

Today pairs of 3rd graders shared the insect poems that they had studied and practiced reading aloud yesterday. Once again, the room buzzed with the boistrous excitement created by the images in Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise. I wore one of my pairs of dragonfly earrings for the occasion.

For me, this has been the year of the dragonfly. Last summer, I researched dragonflies, sketched dragonflies, wrote poems and personal narratives and descriptions about dragonflies. On the first day of school, I asked my students to each choose an animal that they would like to be. "If I could be any animal," I told them, "I would become a dragonfly."

I have always wanted to be able to breathe underwater. When they are young, dragonflies live and breathe under water. I have always wanted to be able to fly and hover at will. When they metamorphose, dragonflies sprout wings and fly. In the summer, when I kayak on the Clarion River, dragonflies and damselflies are my companions.

Anyone who lives in my part of northern Virginia knows that there is a certain irony to celebrating insects this year. The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), a species native to Asia, has invaded our homes by the thousands. We waste countless hours vacuuming and sweeping and drowning stinkbugs in a vain effort to rid ourselves of this pernicious pest.

Stinkbugs have volunteered for quite a few of my earring photos this year, but I've deleted those pictures.

Tonight, I just set the stage and waited patiently. Sure enough, attracted by light and heat, the stinkbugs plopped onto the page.

Today in class we celebrated grasshoppers, crickets, water striders, damselflies, book lice, and many of their kin. Tonight, I pluck stinkbugs from my chair and drop them into a cup of soapy water. I wonder whether any of my students will choose to write their own poems for two voices about stinkbugs...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Joyful Noise

Today in 3rd grade we read poetry from Paul Fleischman's amazing book of poems for two voices, Joyful Noise. These poems are a stretch for 8 and 9 years olds, replete with rich vocabulary and complex themes describing the lives of insects from mayflies to book lice, moths to grasshoppers. Reading them requires cooperation as close as that of ice dancers, since some lines are read in unison, some separately. The most difficult passages are like spoken rounds, lines swirling around each other like insects in motion.

To prepare to read the poems aloud to their classmates, the children highlight lines, circle tricky words, practice and laugh and practice some more. The classroom fills with a joyful noise as a boy reads the part of the honeybee queen, his partner that of the worker bee; the mayfly pair discovers their insect flies for just one day to court and mate and lay their eggs; the water striders brag about their ability to walk on water.

In honor of this amazing poetry, I wore a pair of insect earrings, these enameled copper butterflies that I photographed on our butterfly bush. The bush and I are both anticipating that spring is surely just around the corner. Tomorrow's forecast calls for snow. Only copper butterflies frequent the bush these days.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Call of the Dolphin

Whenever I think back on my own high school and college years, I am amazed that I survived to become an adult. I hitchhiked alone all over Washington, D.C.; climbed sheer rock faces without a rope or a helmet; and rode in cars driven by friends who were not only drunk but still drinking-- to name just three ways my life could have been cut short. So many second chances came my way.

In the past ten years, as the mother of three adolescents, I have heard too many stories of teenagers who made a single mistake that changed their lives and those of their families forever. Some died, some survived but with life-altering injuries--because of car accidents, falls, alcohol, drugs, or fights. For some, there are no second chances.

My heart aches tonight for two young men and their families: Robert, who ingested methyl alcohol and has lost his sight; and Forrest, about whom I posted on January 23rd after learning of his snowboarding head injury, who has begun to experience tremors, excruciating headaches, and seizures.

So today I wore dolphin earrings, just as I did on January 23rd. Forrest has spent many hours at his mother's dolphin projects and surely knew this dolphin that I met at the Bermuda site while studying the unique ecology of Bermuda's ecosystems.

To me, dolphins embody the wise, playful, gentle traits that charcterize healthy adults. How I hope that Robert and Forrest have a chance to grow into healthy adulthood.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Earring Lady's Gators

Today I wore my Louisiana alligator earrings. I bought them in New Orleans last March at a shop called The Earring Lady. I wandered into the shop with my daughter Phoebe and her friend Hannah as we toured the French Quarter. This was Hannah's first road trip: Louisiana to Virginia. Her family flies a lot. We tend to drive.

Phoebe and I had driven to Lafayette to see my older daughter, Kathe, and her husband Jim in their Louisiana home. We ate St. Patrick's Day dinner at The Blue Dog Cafe, a great local restaurant resplendant with the artwork of George Rodrigue.

We kayaked in Lake Martin on an early spring day when the gators were sunning themselves, so still that they appeared to be logs until we paddled close enough to see them clearly. Then we paddled slowly away, hoping that their reptilian blood had not yet warmed enough for them to paddle faster than we could... Our hopes were granted.

When Phoebe, Hannah, and I explored New Orleans, I purchased my alligator earrings as a talisman of safe and happy travels. Today, we drove Kathe back to her home in Blacksburg, VA from the cabin we shared for this last 2011 Spring Break weekend at Claytor Lake.

As I put these earrings on this morning, I noticed the symbols on their backs. A long and winding road!

That's the journey of the Earring Lady, I guess.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Have fun we did!

I brought my moose earrings along this weekend to Claytor Lake State Park. My daughter Käthe chose them for me in Wyoming where she spent a summer at the Teton Science School leading groups as they explored the unique ecosystems of the Grand Tetons. Among the many highlights of her summer were moose sightings. This weekend we are together, Käthe and her husband Jim, my husband John and I, enjoying some time away from home.
This morning we hiked through the woods, a chilly walk under skies threatening to unleash some cold rain. We returned to the cabin just as freezing drizzle began to fall. Undaunted, John grilled our steaks outside, over charcoal, listening to news of Libya on his XM radio headset.
Last year, at another state park cabin, my daughter Phoebe regaled us with readings from the cabin journal. Our favorite was a meandering, unpunctuated account of glorious summer adventures, ending with the phrase, “Have fun we did.” Only after many readings did it occur to us that the writer had meant to say, “Have fun! We did!”
But thus, through lack of an endmark, one of our favorite family expressions was born. And it’s true of this weekend: Have fun we did!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Wintry Mix

I'm sitting in the passenger seat of our car next to Claytor Lake in southwest Virginia, connecting wirelessly to the internet so that I can log this posting. The lake was created in 1938 when the New River was dammed, to provide electricity and new recreation opportunities to this part of the state.

We arrived a short while ago at our beautifully sided cinder block cabin next to the lake. The walls are decorated with photos of the early years of the park, such as this one from the early 1940's.

These earrings remind me of cascading water. The weekend forecast calls for a wintry mix of precipitation—will it be rain, sleet, freezing rain, snow? My earrings seem to cover all the bases. My daughter Käthe, who will arrive shortly, made them for me years ago. She’ll smile when she sees them, and say, “Nice earrings.”
“They remind me of falling water,” I’ll reply. "Have you heard the forecast?"

Tomorrow we'll explore the park.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Branching Out

I spent the morning wrestling with Turbo Tax and shuffling through our year's worth of financial records. Ugh.

Since a chilly rain was still falling this afternoon, I delved into another sedentary task: geneology.

My father's mother invested countless hours in The Record of My Ancestry, a massive leather-bound tome tracing each branch of our family tree into the distant past in her tiny, spidery script. My cousin Gale pursued my maternal line, creating computerized trees that also lead back to our European roots.

I compiled my own short version, back to my great-great-grandparents, and was reminded that I am the namesake of one: Amy Storm North, born in Brooklyn in 1818. How grateful I am that this was the ancestral name selected, rather than Adeline, Harriet, Finetta, Rhoda, Matilda, or Ecedra. Sarah, Emma, Louisa, or Eliza would have been fine, too, I guess. But I have always loved my short, simple name: all angles in print, curvaceous in cursive. The most alphabetically balanced name I know: A=1, M=13, Y=25.
As I reflected on my day, I plunged into my craft bin in search of these tree of life beads that I bought from a clearance rack a year or so ago. I wondered what use I could make of them...

Cheers to my grandmother, Emma Matilda Ashhurst, who disliked her name so much that she announced at the age of 10 that she would henceforth be known as Maud. And she was.

Tonight, I have another sedentary activity in mind: Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss sounds like it should fit right into the themes of my day.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cranes and Gaman

My origami crane earrings have lost their crisply folded luster after 18 years. The art student from Calcutta who lived with us in Savannah bought them for me from a Japanese fellow-student. After all these years of wondering at the skill necessary to fold such a tiny crane, I decided give it a try.

First I had to relearn the folds. I groused as I always do when the directions call for knowledge I lack: "make an inverse interior fold." Eventually, it happened: a crane. Then a smaller one. Then a tiny one--not crisp and perfect, perhaps, but maybe next time.

This morning, as I heard on the news that infants in Tokyo should not drink tap water, I glanced at a photo in the Washington Post of children at Norwood School (the school I attended from K-3) folding 1,000 paper cranes to deliver to the Japanese embassy. I hopped up to find my aging cranes.

I cannot imagine the heartache felt by Japanese mothers and pregnant women as they worry about the health of their children. I wonder how many of them are folding 1,000 paper cranes, busying their fingers until a better solution becomes clear.

About a year ago, I heard a news story on NPR about gaman, a Japanese word that means to bear the seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience. We Americans need 16 syllables to say what can be said in Japanese with 2. I don't think this is a time for gaman, though. Dignity and patience won't protect those children from radiation. I wonder what Japanese mothers would reply.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lady Beetles for the Garden

My friend Martha envisioned a community garden at the school where we both teach, down by the old barn where we've conducted many science field studies over the years, at the foot of the silo that I used to climb each spring to drop my students' egg-drop contraptions. For about 5 years Martha has been researching and persuading and grant-writing and planning.

When I arrived this afternoon, she was digging in the dirt, in her plot of raised beds full of rich soil, surrounded by deer fencing, stocked with tools, gardening catalogs, and refreshments.

Jill and I turned over the winter rye cover crop in the raised planting bed that we will share, while Martha and her daughters Leland and Ellen, fellow teachers Susan, Paula, Raven and Scott and their friend Jim, Marie Christine, and Stephen all worked in their beds under the watchful eye of our master gardener, Linda.

I wore my ladybugs, pictured here in the rosemary bush that John over-wintered on our dining room table, and only today returned to the porch to enjoy the rain that's forecast for tonight.

Scientists prefer the term lady beetles, I read. They are named for Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was often pictured in a red cloak. The 7 spots on Europe's most common ladybird beetle were thought to symbolize the 7 joys and 7 sorrows of Mary.

My beetles have only 3 spots on each wing cover. Ah well. Less sorrow, but also less joy. Perhaps I'll use a Sharpie and add some dots when I figure out which wing represents joy. Martha and Linda are the ladies I choose to honor today. A working community garden is quite an accomplishment!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Touched by the Hand of Fatima

Distant tragedies filled the airwaves and my mind again today. Sorrow for Japan, and fear for Libya. Fear for Japan, and sorrow for Libya.

Once again, I wondered if I might own any Libyan earrings. I searched online and found this symbol often in Tuareg jewelry. Further research revealed that this is a stylized Hand of Fatima (Mohammed's daughter), believed to protect its wearer from evil and worn by all Tuareg women. Here is another image of the hand known variously as hamsa, hansa, khamsa, and khomissar:

From this symbol comes the stylized version above: the three bottom points representing thumb, middle fingers, and pinky.

So. How to make Hands of Fatima earrings. Paper chains? Could I make an origami-like paper pair?

I tried.

Tiny folded paper chains.
Hands of Fatima.

How I wish that a web of care could spread across the globe so that tonight everyone could sleep, well fed and safe. Especially in Libya. Especially in northern Japan.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Homeward Bound

Kathe and I got up early to hike across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn. It's been 22 years since we stood on this bridge together--we moved from Brooklyn to Savannah just before she turned 2. Two years in a row, I walked with my baby girl across the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan on Labor Day, the first time in a baby sling, the second in a backpack.

Today we strode, side by side, on the first day of spring under a bright blue sky. Motherhood was new to me on those other walks. Now, so many years later, its joys continue to blossom.

We shared coffee and a chocolate croissant after our walk. I snapped a photo of my earrings in the coffee shop.

Kathe was with me 10 years ago when I bought this pair at the Sawmill Center in Cook Forest, PA. I love their delicate balance and simple elegance. We went home, and together made similar earrings, hammering the tip of the wire to hold the beads in place, laughing at our struggle to twist each wire so that the two would match.

Today, over coffee, we admired them again. I don't think I realized 22 years ago how much joy I would find in sharing a cup of cafe au lait or a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Collage of my NYC day

A collage of my day:

The weekend reunion of the Reading and Writing Project, including a session with Lucy Calkins. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of teachers descend on Columbia Teachers College for a day. Inspiration, sound philosophical underpinnings and research, and great concrete ideas for teachers. Many pages of notes!

The exhibit at the Whitney Museum of the works of Edward Hopper and his contemporaries.

A sake bottle from Joe's Shanghai restaurant where we ate dumplings, squid, turnip pastries, and scallion pancakes. Yum.

And my Beads for Life earrings, bought at a Fair Trade store in Harpers Ferry--paper beads rolled by women in Uganda who are learning skills needed to start their own micro-industries in their home villages.

My collage does not include our miles of walking. Brisk miles through the chilly final Saturday of winter. And now a choice awaits: the firm or the soft hotel pillow to rest my weary head.

Of wifi and balance

I'm on a Megabus headed for NYC for the weekend "reunion" of the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia Teachers College with some colleagues and my daughter Kathe.

The promised wireless on board lacks consistency. So right now I'm piggybacking on the Bolt bus' wireless as we follow it up 95.

Today I'm wearing a pair of earrings that I made recently out of beads purchased at a bead shop in Leesburg, VA.

As is true of most humans, one of my ears is lower than the other. This pair works best when each earring is placed on the correct ear, making the two turquoise beads dangle at the same height.

The Bolt Bus blew past us, taking the wifi with it. But most of what I'd typed remains.

After a Broadway show, Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, I'm ready to sleep.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wearing of the Green

The saying goes that on St. Patrick's Day everyone is Irish. So today I wore green and shamrock earrings.

But I'm pretty sure that I'm not Irish. My dad's male line hails from Wales, the Cymru of this t-shirt. I have lots of WASP ancestry from England--white, Anglo-Saxon protestant.

Since the days when I drew maps showing the waves of "barbarian" invasions under the tutelage of my 7th grade history teacher, Ruth Williamson, I have always been impressed with the scarcity of "pure blood" anywhere, and it is certainly rare in my ancestral England. Even the Angles and the Saxons were Norse invaders! And those Irish Celts came from central Europe... By the time my ancestors were seeking religious freedom in 17th century Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut, they were a very blended people!

There are no shamrocks in my yard this time of year, not even the 3-leafed kind. But I did find some new growth in bloom.

To celebrate spring, I went for a long bike ride along the C&O Canal. Ah, spring!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Small Voices

This morning I slept in--until almost 7 AM! I am on Spring Break, after all, and I did have a late night driving home from DC after the opening of the film OKA! Amerikee and a reception afterwards.

The film was a whimsical portrayal of Louis Sarna's memoir about life with a village of Bayaka people--whimsical, but still making clear the many challenges that threaten the lifestyle of these hunter-gatherers in central Africa. I was very impressed with how the director, Lavinia Currier, managed to convey both the joys and the threats.

I also enjoyed this exhibit at the National Gallery. Much food for thought about how we create ourselves; about how men imagine women and themselves; about how artists grow through their work. Nothing small about his voice; larger than life. It's there through June 5.

So today I stayed home and set to work organizing our finances and tackling Turbo Tax 2010. So many papers, folders, calculations. By 3 PM my mind was fried.

I stepped outside for a breath of fresh air and heard spring peepers peeping down in the pond. Realizing that I had no earrings on my lobes, I ran up the spiral staircase to snag a pair of frogs, and headed down the path to the pond.

I've owned this pair of frog fishing-lure earrings for a long time. I recall gazing at them in wonder, and announcing to my companion, "Oh, look! I have to buy those!"
They look happy there!     

One of them lost a leg quite a few years ago when I pulled a sweatshirt over it. You will hear no mutant frog jokes from me. Not this week. Not with fears of radioactivity as Japan struggles with its nuclear nightmare.

I find joy in the knowledge that the peepers are peeping here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Visions from the rainforest

I am heading into Washington, DC today to see the film OKA! Amerikee at the Environmental Film Festival. I'm meeting my friend Tom, who is a filmmaker, to see the Gauguin exhibit at the National Gallery and enjoy dinner out before the show and the reception afterwards.

As usual, I stood pondering my earring options. Some from South Africa, some from Kenya, which might be appropriate for a film about an ethno-musicologist who recorded the music of the Bayaka pygmy culture of central Africa. But that level of cultural indifference seems a bit like wearing a cowboy hat and spurs to attend an Alvin Ailey dance concert--hey, it's North American! 

Then this pair caught my eye. They look a bit like eyes shining brightly in the rainforest. Appropriate for Gauguin as well as Louis Sarno and the Bayaka people, I hope.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi Day

This morning my daughter Phoebe called and reminded me that today is Pi Day: 3.14. What a great excuse to stop spring cleaning! After I finished the chores I'd set myself (calling the electrician, vacuuming, greeting the electrician, and cleaning the car) I set about making my pi earrings and my cherry pie.

The cherries have been waiting in the freezer since last June, when Phoebe picked them and John pitted them. Sour cherries from our own tree. Yum.


A new taste sensation: cherry pie with half of a dark chocolate Klondike! (If only Klondikes were round, and I could have the excuse that pi was somehow involved!)

Happy Pi Day!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


This morning, listening to news of the many tragedies resulting from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I decided to shake off the pettiness that has been filling my mind, and focus on my multitude of joys instead.

I made these millefiori earrings a few weeks ago. Millefiori: a thousand flowers in Italian. I hope someday to visit Murano, where the original murrine glass tubes were cut to make such millefiori beads.

Often, during this first weekend of my spring break, flowers have begun to bloom on our mountain. Not this March. So today I decided to bring my own millefiori to the mountain.

の花 (Sen no hana). I hope that's how you say "thousand flowers" in Japanese, and that many thousands will soon bloom in Japan.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Camino Frances, part 2

My earrings are scallop shells. Yesterday's post was long enough for two, so today is a brief continuation. I put the scallop shells, symbol of the Camino Frances, on top of a family photo. There in the center is my mom, 4 year old Frances. She was the youngest of six children; to her left is my Uncle Nathan, child #5; to her right is my oldest first cousin, George, son of child #1. My grandmother, Mema, is holding this first grandchild. She is about 47 in this photo, although I've always thought she looked much older.

When my mother was 6 weeks old, in April of 1923, my grandmother took her brood on a healing pilgrimage to the family beach house at Neptune Beach, Florida. All 6 children were ill, my mother having contracted both whooping cough and measles from two sick siblings. They all recovered. I'm willing to bet that there were a few scallop shells about the house.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Camino Frances

I've been using this computer since September, eyeing its build-in webcam and thinking I should really try to Skype. When a parent offered that his friend in Spain could spend a few minutes answering my students' questions, I decided the time had come.

After several hours (mine and those of Lisa, our tech woman; the guys who coordinate our network; and Hunt, who loves all high-tech gizmos and knows where to find a plug-in microphone at the last minute) of downloading Smart board software and Skype software, running wiring and attaching cables, and mastering assorted other challenges step-by-step, by 10:15 this morning I was chatting with Enrique in Madrid, hoping that the speaker who was describing the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela would finish in time for the children to chat before another group arrived to use our classroom at 10:30. Success. Although the resolution was not quite what Ellen Page sees when she walks into that classroom that is on a "field trip" to China, the effect was just as good. Without lots of perseverance, though, it could have been a disaster!

Encountering and mastering obstacles step-by-step: I think that is my theme today. As Lee Sandstead, our speaker about the pilgrimage, described his walk on the Camino Frances, the main route to Santiago from France, I found myself longing to go on this pilgrimage. A walk of 600 miles, one foot in front of the other, on a well-trod route through gorgeous countryside. 
Those on the pilgrimage carry a scallop shell that symbolizes some of the miracles associated with Saint James, but also the convergence of the many routes all leading to his shrine in Santiago. (Note the yellow scallop-shell image in the upper left-hand corner of the map.)

A route that shares my mother's name, whose symbol comes from the ocean she loved, and which requires dedication and a willingness to progress, step-by-step, to reach a goal. She taught me to know scallops and clams, whelks and conchs, as we beachcombed, slowly, hand-in-hand.

According to Chaucer, it's a little early to be dreaming of a Canterbury pilgrimage:
 Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
 Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
 And smale foweles maken melodye,
 That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages.
But I am dreaming of a pilgrimage. With a passport and stamps at each stop. With hostels to stay in and towns along the way. It's almost April; the small birds are singing; and I long to go on a pilgrimage. I'm inspired!
I think this is another pair of earrings that my daughter Kathe made for me one summer as we sat at the picnic table under that white pine tree.

I lost one set of beads today, probably while dancing the flamenco one last time. But I came home, looked in our bead box, and found some more to replace them. One-by-one.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flamenco! Ole!

Today I wore my pink flamingo earrings. As part of our culture study, flamenco dancers performed, and I assisted as one of our young teachers taught Spanish dance.

Flamingo/flamenco. For fun.

I left my newer computer at school where tomorrow it will link to the internet to show U-tube videos of Sardana folk dance and to Skype with a man in Spain.

This poor old computer is struggling to handle this posting. And it's late. But I have posted a photo of today's earrings.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For many years on this last Wednesday before Spring Break, I have led my school in an Ecomystery, and all-school project in which we explore a country through some science conundrum.
 Today's topic was the Ancestry of the Spanish horse. One of my earrings shows an Andalusian horse, the perfect Spanish breed, the other shows tiny Eohippus whose 45 million year old fossils have been found right here in North America. Over time, Eophippus (also known as Hyracotherium) evolved until eventually (right here in North America) it became our modern horse. During the last ice age, horses became extinct in the Americas, but thrived in Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Today, we looked at horses, and how they connect Spain (the country we are studying this week) and America. When Columbus departed from Spain and sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred ninety two, he brought horses back to their native land.

I made my earrings one snow day. On Sunday I made my horses. I managed to take a photo of my modern PVC horse today, before it was dismantled. My three smaller horses (Eohippus, Mesohippus, and Merychippus) had already returned to PVC and paper. He's a bit worse for wear, having been carried across campus through the rain.
I've joked that this will be my next project: teaching with PVC pipe. (I also do a bit of simple plumbing!)

In the morning, my students and I will take this Equus complicatus apart, and store his pipe for another use.
But what will I ever do with those earrings?