Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gubbio Arches

In the Umbrian hill town of Gubbio, the view from the Palazzo dei Consoli is spectacular. But what is that line running across the arch, "ruining" the picture? That is a steel rod, a reinforcement for the 14th century architecture. You see such reinforcements all over Italy, sometimes spanning a charmingly  narrow street. Italy is susceptible to earthquakes. We've had deadly proof of that again this week. Precariously perched villages with ancient walls and buildings are picturesque, but preserving the dream of Italy can be a tragic gamble.

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.