Sunday, August 21, 2016

Eggs In a Bowl

We often buy eggs at the local farmers market. This week, I opened the carton to discover that the eggs nestled inside varied from peachy-beige to tan to the color of a latte---with one pale blue egg for an extra surprise. This subtle rainbow looked like wall color suggestions for a very tasteful home renovation. Although consumers no longer insist on white eggs (except at Easter) we have a long way to go in order to break out of our near-monoculture of certain foods, such as bananas and avocados. At the farmers market we can see and try purple tomatoes or white eggplants. I hope everyone has the opportunity to experience the delight of a striped tomato or a rainbow's worth of eggs.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

One Tree, Two Squirrels

On a very hot afternoon, the squirrels were busy. I watched one shimmy up the trunk of a tree with a crab apple bigger than his head clenched between his teeth. Then, in the nearest tree, two squirrels stopped at the same moment, rearranging the parcels in their little paws. The angle of the sun transformed the tree into a silhouette. Suddenly I was seeing the scene as if it was a scherenschnitte, an elaborate cut paper design most commonly associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch. Whether it's 1836 or 2016, sometimes inspiration sits and waits for us in trees

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Flags At Rockefeller Center

Flags of all kinds are still on my mind. In the summer, an outdoor restaurant replaces the skating rink at Rockefeller Center. Flags representing the countries belonging to the United Nations surround the restaurant. The rows of plain white umbrellas allow the flags to be the stars of the scene. They catch the breeze and glow like stained glass in the sun. Whether they are outdoors or carried into a stadium at the beginning of another Olympics, flags are colorful, iconic and enduring symbols.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Row of Flags

It seems like I am seeing more flags these days, waving from porches and from newly installed flagpoles in front yards. After Independence Day, the flags and the patriotic bunting decorating shops and other businesses usually gets packed away, but not this time. My favorite flag sighting so far is this row on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. It reminds me of Childe Hassam's World War I era flag paintings. Any iconic image gains visual power in repetition. And if you can arrange for a nice sunny day when the light is angled perfectly, that helps too.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cutting Garden

In the terraced gardens at Dumbarton Oaks, the roses are flagging in the heat and the bunnies are busy sampling kale and cabbages. A tall stand of yarrow complements the graceful lines of what is really too grand to be called a garden shed. It is set into a retaining wall of the Cutting Garden allowing it to step down a level. It's easy to get caught up in the idea of flowers in pretty colors, but the structure and architecture of a garden must come first. Even a pre-fab shed from the hardware store, painted in a pleasing color, can improve a garden. But don't expect to find a roof like this one.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bus Shelter Shadows

The sun came out while I was waiting for the bus. Suddenly a network of interlocking lines appeared on the pavement at my feet. The glass and metal structure over my head has a utilitarian purpose, offering shelter from the rain or snow. But the architect also tried to make it a pleasing pattern. Did that person anticipate these shadows? There is bit of magic in the way they appear and disappear with the sun and clouds. They are an ephemeral reminder that interesting designs can be found all around us.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Italian Door Buzzers

Wandering down a street in Florence, something about one apartment's set of door buzzers caught my eye. The rhythm of circles and rectangles was interrupted by one whiter, brighter statement. I took it as a sign, meant just for me. Yes, any day I am lucky enough to be strolling down a quiet street in the Oltrarno, the world IS mine.