Sunday, September 24, 2017

Guarding the Fra Angelicos

People come from all over the world to see the frescos in the monks' cells at the Cloister of San Marco in Florence. While the frescos are serene and subtle, the connecting light-filled gallery of paintings is full of gloriously bright colors and golden halos. I stood in front of this retable and marveled at the individual faces of the mourners and the clear vermilions and blues, all painted almost 600 years ago. The guard watched everyone's comings and goings. Does he ever get tired of these magnificent paintings? Surely over the months and years he has scrutinized them, absorbed something of their essence. I hope he still can see and feel their magic.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pokeweed and Brambles

Rain and a stretch of unusually cool days have invigorated both people and plants. My nose caught the sweet scent of blooming vines before I saw them. Forty yards of fence had been completely enrobed in flowers, buzzing with happy bees. The afternoon sun came out for a moment, highlighting the pokeweed berries, bright as jewels. Mother Nature is busy sharing her end-of-summer work in an abundance of beauty.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Red Kayak

This image jumped out at me while I was looking for something else. Oh yes, I remember that day, standing on one of Ghent's small bridges. Down the River Leie came the man in the kayak, sliding so quietly through the water. I was admiring the way the reflections of the boats shimmered as he passed. Then I noticed the dog, so intent on the water just beyond the prow of the kayak. Perhaps this one should be titled "Dog Is My Co-Pilot."

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Succulents In the Ripley Garden

Of all the gardens scattered around the Mall, the Smithsonian's Mary Livingston Ripley Garden is my favorite. Red brick paths punctuated by a cast iron fountain curve through a sliver of space between the Hirshhorn and the Arts & Industries building. What was originally slated to become a parking lot is now a quiet haven for birds, butterflies and people. A new feature this year has been the wall of succulents. This living collage of textures and colors has grown and filled in as the summer progressed. It's an idea that could be replicated in a space as small as a balcony or a tiny townhouse garden.