Sunday, September 16, 2018

Birdbath In the Ripley Garden

This week, the skies are gray, the news is all about hurricanes and the ground is sodden from weeks of rain. As an antidote, I share a sunny moment in my favorite of the Smithsonian gardens. Each curve of the walkway leads to a different little scene. Season to season, year to year, the flowers come and go as do the accouterments. There could be glass gazing balls, birdhouses or, in this case, a bird bath. Imagine yourself sitting on a bench in the dappled sunlight. Enjoy the leafy calmness.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Unfriendly Fence

Fences always get my attention. My eyes are drawn to the regimented repetition of pickets, boards or chain links. There are textures to explore; paint fresh or worn, perhaps rust. Sometimes a fence casts interesting shadows or tantalizes with broken glimpses of what lies beyond. Sometimes whatever is inside the fence (barking dogs, riotous blooms) tries to escape. The neglected paint and random holes of this fence are enough to establish an aura of sadness and defeat, but the sign's determined red letters and scolding words make this fence downright unfriendly.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Burning Man At the Renwick

Meet "Deep Thought," which sits, glowing from within, casting color-changing light and geometric shadows around the second floor of the Renwick Gallery. The soft chimes and deep metallic bongs of gamelan music transform the space into a calm retreat, a welcome respite from the vibes of anger and chaos emanating from the White House across the street. Yelena Filipchuck and Serge Beaulieu's laser-cut steel sculptures are part of a show that celebrates the ephemeral art that appears then disappears in the Nevada desert each August at the Burning Man festival. Although the first floor exhibits will come down this month, giant origami mushrooms, a ceiling-mounted light show, an elaborate temple and of course "Deep Thought" all await your visit until December.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Cleome Against A Fence

Taller flowers must surely welcome a spot along a fence. On windy days, or during rainstorms, a fence offers some protection. August is the month when the cleome open their complicated, airy blooms. Each year, my friend’s fence achieves a bit more of a weathered, silvery patina. It reminds me of an old photographer's backdrop, mottled in shades of grays and taupes. The cleome are ready to pose for their portraits.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Crosley Field Scoreboard

From 1912 to 1970, the Cincinnati Reds played in a stadium that started out as Redland Field then was renamed Crosley Field. The Reds played their last game there on June 24, 1970. For about thirty years, a a re-creation of the Crosley Field ballfield has stood in the suburb of Blue Ash. It includes one of the original ticket booths and a replica of the scoreboard. The scores for all the final day’s baseball games remain permanently posted. I remember the scoreboard as the backdrop for the Beatles' second visit to Cincinnati on August 21, 1966. The concert had been delayed one day because of rain and no, you could not hear the music over the screaming fans.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Pizza King

If you are a neon afficionado, it's worth going out of your way to visit the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. Housed in an old factory, the roof was elevated and rebuilt in order to accommodate the tallest signs. Walk through the galleries and witness the changing styles and materials: printed cardstock, wood, glass, metal and plastic. The signs encapsulate the history of graphic design in the U.S. At the moment, this one is my favorite. Who knows whether Mr Cassano truly deserved the title of Pizza King, but he sure knew how to come up with a fabulous neon sign.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Botanica Window

Our local botanica is a neighborhood fixture.The front window is an ecumenical tableau of nativity scenes, Buddhas, the Virgin of Guadeloupe, Jesus as a child, Saint Michael, Saint Francis and more. The shop's shelves are crowded with terra cotta pots, herbs, rosaries, candles and special oils. There are candles in glass cylinders devoted to every saint you may or may not know. Lately there has been an increase in the sales of those candles, as people look for a way to take some small action that will give them some hope or keep them and their loved ones safe. When you are feeling alone or helpless, you can at least light a candle and offer up a prayer of hope.