Sunday, September 29, 2013

Doves At the Window

Two plaster doves watched the world go by. They were part of a tableau near the side door of an antiques shop. There are a lot of whites and almost-white in this photo. I've always been drawn to this pale, near-neutral palette. It is calming, but its emotional tone is optimistic. Minimal color shifts the focus onto the textures: stone, weathered brick and shiny glass. The birds sit silently and watch, part of a small, calm world.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

a Nice Front Porch

Front porches inevitably stir up a fantasy in which I visit with a friend or sit with a glass of iced tea and a book. Walking along the main road of a small town, I took in the details of the carefully maintained houses. Each one has a lovely old porch. But the reality is that large trucks rumble along the road, day and night, a few feet from where I stood. In the days when people traveled by horse and carriage, the wealthiest citizens built their homes to face the road. They did not have to dash out between 18-wheelers to visit a neighbor across the street. I'm sad that my small town fantasy is only a fantasy, but I'm also grateful to those who restore, live in or work in these architectural gems.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Danger: Monument Ahead

At the Washington Monument, flags still circle the base, flapping in the breeze, but a fence emblazoned with Danger signs surrounds the monument. Danger? Will the obelisk fall over any minute? Do people get on the elevators and then disappear into another dimension? Is there a moat of quicksand or a field of angry gerbils? No, it was the 2011 earthquake that closed the Washington Monument. Philanthropist David Rubenstein stepped forward to pay for the repairs. It is now wearing a familiar scaffolding, designed by architect Michael Graves and used in 1999 and 2000 for a long-scheduled renovation. There is a utilitarian beauty in the scaffolding's stone-like grid. It casts shadows and seems to change color as the day progresses. We can enjoy this until the Danger signs come down.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fountain Girls

Puddles, streams, swimming pools, fountains, sprinklers---kids love water. They see the sensory and creative possibilities of it. They rarely pass up an opportunity to feel a spray of water drops on their skin or dip fingers and toes in a pool. I watched these little girls flop onto the rim of the fountain in the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden. They ran their fingers through the water and watched it ripple. They splashed and giggled. At what age do we lose this ability to enjoy and experience water? It's not too late. Dip your toes in the nearest fountain. Create a rainbow with the garden hose. Aim that hose at your brother---and then run.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013


The butterflies and the butterfly bushes are not quite in sync with each other. The shrubs flower and flower, too early for the party guests they want to attract.  At least that is true of the monarch butterflies. I wait for their first appearance, a late summer fluttering of  wings edged in polka dots. Such a range of colors: pale peach, orange or the yellow of an old Italian villa. They settle onto the half-bloomed-out branches and enjoy the nectar from the remaining blossoms while I enjoy their flashy, fashionable wings.