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. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Spider Web After the Rain

A spider had spent the day crafting a web that started on the tips of the grass and stretched up into the leafy stems of the flowers. Then the clouds brought a summer shower. In the sunshine that followed, I admired the sparkling web, haphazardly beaded with crystal droplets. This was no geometrically picture-perfect web, like the kind children draw. This web was untidy but serviceable, strong enough to bear the weight of those randomly suspended droplets. Things do not always look the way we have been trained to think they should look. There is an extra frisson of surprise in such unexpected beauty.