Sunday, February 23, 2020

Mirror In the Grass

What was that, glinting in a front yard near the sidewalk? There, in the winter grass, were the remains of a mirror, frameless and shattered into pieces. I bent down to look more closely, multiplying my own reflection for a moment. As cars rolled by, I looked at the blue sky and lacy tree branches overhead captured on the surface of each shard. 
The broken mirror offered up hundreds of slightly different versions of the world above and around me. This may be a metaphor for something about how we can or do see the world...

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Heart Shaped Chocolate Boxes

Ten days before Valentine's Day, there was no doubt that the family-run shop was ready. More than two dozen heart shaped boxes lined the candy counters, ready to be ordered and filled with a customized assortment for your sweetie. I wondered if there was any heart-patterned wrapping paper left in town. It all seemed to be neatly covering the rest of the chocolates, stacked behind the counter, ready for those who lacked the foresight to order the fancier boxes ahead of time. Hopefully they have all gone to new homes, spreading love and deliciousness along the way.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Snowdrops On a Cloudy Day

A stretch of very warm days had left me worried about the swelling buds on flowering trees all over the neighborhood. Now we are back to chillier, more normal weather and the snowdrops are flowering. Something about them seems closer to fauna than flora. They are a pack of little white floppy-eared dogs, heads bent, tracking something. Perhaps it is the approach of Spring. The snowdrops will disappear soon, but somehow they know that Spring is coming.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Graffiti and Winter Underbrush

During the summer, I caught glimpses of this graffiti-painted culvert through the greenery that obscured my view. Now the leaves are gone and the bare limbs of the underbrush form an ambiguous tangle of lines and colors. Surely this would be the setting for a punk version of Sleeping Beauty. A rock and roll skateboarding prince would appear, ready to release her from the colorfully tagged prison. I suspect she would thank him then go on her way, a few new cans of spray paint in hand.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Winter Trees

In the middle of winter, the sun hangs low, casting long shadows, transforming trees into silhouettes. I love winter trees. Stripped of their leaves, even the most unremarkable grove becomes a composition of strong verticals and lacy branches. I count last season's nests and enjoy the shafts of afternoon sun, a welcome gift after a week of flat, gray days.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Lalique Fern Brooch

Hovering in a case in the Walters Museum is a large brooch that once graced the bodice of a fortunate Belle Epoque woman. In 1903 this jewel was a cutting edge design. The magnificent iridescent glass leaves, underlaid by enameled ones, are as important as the opal and the diamond stems. Lalique was one of those responsible for the world realizing that the value of jewelry no longer depended solely on the size of diamonds or the amount of gold. A heart-stoppingly beautiful design and exquisite craftsmanship could be just as important.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Deadwood Arches

A woody installation curves along a walkway outside the Smithsonian American History Museum. With shapes reminiscent of gothic arches, they invite you to touch their irregular surfaces, smell their woodiness, peer inside and through them. This installation is all about deadwood: fallen branches and trees that no longer live but still stand. Signs describe how living things depend upon deadwood for shelter, protection and sustenance. Looking closely I see the holes bored by insects, patches of fungi and areas scratched or worn down by both animals and weather. It's a magical sight that will remain with me when I pick up fallen branches in my yard.