Sunday, February 28, 2010

Outdoor Seating Available

Although we've had some days above freezing, the snow lingers. Lingers? Every shopping mall has large piles that have morphed into snow mesas claiming squatter's rights to seven or eight parking spots apiece. Long, dirty Jersey snow-barriers squeeze traffic into one and a half lanes. Incongruously detached walls of snow rise here and there, two or three feet wide and five feet high, between the road and a dug-out car. Each looks like the one remaining wall of a fallen-down house. The sight of these tables and chairs outside a restaurant made me chuckle. Hot chocolate, anyone?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Edge of the Rink

The Olympics are here. All work stops when the ice skaters are performing. Television gives us the miracle of seeing events happening a continent away, with super-slow-motion replays of triple axels and close-ups of the sequins on the ice dancers' costumes. But some things must be experienced in person. The cold rising from the ice, the sense of speed and movement from one end of the rink to the other, the shared excitement building into shared jubilation when a skater compels the entire audience to jump to its feet for a standing ovation. After the awards ceremony, the skaters take a victory lap and fans try to get one more photo. Here they are, in Cleveland, zooming in on Evan Lysacek and Brandon Mroz for one last shot.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What the Blizzard Left

Snowzilla, Snowmaggedon, Snowgantica. Two big snowstorms in one week have left us contemplating names. The first snowstorm lasted for two nights and a day. It softened outlines and made everything seem magical and romantic until we started to shovel it. The second storm was scary, with trees creaking and groaning from gusts blowing the snow horizontally. Oddly-shaped drifts collected against houses and fences, looking like sand dunes escaped from some far desert. In the morning, this is what greeted us, curved by the force of the winds as they grew overnight: Carrotsicles!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Frosty Windshield

The other morning, circular frost crystals speckled the side windows of the car. Frost ferns covered the front windshield. I sat in the passenger seat for a minute and enjoyed the view. Mundane buildings surrounding an ugly parking lot had been transformed into a shimmering composition. I wasn't sure if this photo would look like much of anything, but I took it anyway. It reminds me of looking closely at a small section of one of Monet's canvasses, of being too close to see the objects and instead enjoying the colors, shapes and brush marks. It's full of texture and ambiguity. I thought about how Monet painted his gigantic water lilies after he had started losing his sight. There are time when we may not see things clearly, but we can still have a beautiful view.