Tree, Sky, And Shadow

The fine Georgia O’Keeffe museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, teaches that beauty can be found just about anywhere — in skyscrapers, in flowers, in barns, in the rugged landscape of New Mexico . . . and in trees. So when I left the museum and saw this tree framed against the adobe walls of the museum, with the sunshine etching an intricate shadow on the wall, I had to let my inner O’Keeffe snap this photo.

The Wonder Of Beethoven

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Last night Kish and I got our Beethoven fix.  The Columbus Symphony Orchestra was putting on a Beethoven Marathon, and we caught the three principal performances — of the Second Symphony, the Triple Concerto in C major (shown in the photo above), and finally the fabulous Seventh Symphony.  (The Symphony also offered a pre-concert performance of the Quintet for Piano and Winds and a post-concert String Quartet in C-sharp minor, but we missed those two additions due to dinner on the front end and increasing age on the back end.)

The program was wonderful.  I’m always fascinated by the live performance of a symphony orchestra — to see so many diverse instruments working together to produce a coherent sound, rather than cacophony — and by the creative impulses that moved a genius like Beethoven to create such magical music in the first place.  I think the second movement of the Seventh Symphony, for example, is simply one of the most deeply moving pieces of music ever composed, full of tension, straining and stirring and soaring and humble all at the same time.  How did it come to him?  Someone who has no musical talent (like me) cannot begin to guess what it must be like to hear such melodies in your head.  That Beethoven was able to create such music while his hearing was failing just makes the whole creative process more brilliant and astonishing.

Interesting, isn’t it, that long after the leaders and issues of his day have been consigned to the dustbin of history and then forgotten, Beethoven’s music — and Mozart’s, and Bach’s, and Wagner’s, and Haydn’s — lives on, to be performed anew and enjoyed and loved by new generation?.  The same is true of artists, and authors, and playwrights, of course.  We don’t remember the Popes, minor nobility, doges, kings, queens, and wealthy patrons who supported Michelangelo, da Vinci, Shakespeare, and Beethoven, but we know the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the Mona Lisa, the St. Crispin’s Day speech, and the stirring first chords of the Fifth Symphony.

Politics is ephemeral; art, music, and beauty are eternal. When you have the opportunity to listen to a performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, that is really what you are hearing.

Hand Signal

I was walking down Parsons Avenue this morning, heading toward the Ace Hardware store, when I noticed this sign. It is a memorable one, with a seriously creepy element to it, too.  No one wants to look at a disembodied hand, really — but It harkens back to the ’60s, when many  signs featured folk art elements that sought to make the business memorable.  In those days it wasn’t unusual to see fiberglass cowboys, spinning globes, and neon martini glasses as you drove down Main Street.

Of course, the sign reminded me of Thing from The Addams Family.  As I took the picture I half expected Lurch to show up and intone, in that impossibly deep bass voice:  “You rang?”

Tiny Door (IV)

img_2899The elf and sprite population of German Village apparently has been busy.  We’ve found yet another tiny door on the streets of the Village — this one located next to a drainpipe and complete with a brook, a bridge, a clothesline, and a ladder so that our elfin friends can climb up to the front door.

As the fairy tale of the cobbler teaches, our vertically challenged buddies are very industrious fellows.  What’s next — an elfin high-rise?

Tiny Door

Tiny Door (II)

Tiny Door (III)

The Tiled Stairways Of The River Walk


To get down to the San Antonio River Walk, you take stairways and ramps from bridges and overpasses.  Many of the stairways and ramps are of the bland, concrete variety, but some are special — gracefully curved, with wide steps and overhead greenery and delicate tiled facings that reflect a southwestern flair.

It’s amazing how a few colorful squares of tile can turn a generic stairway into an eye-catching addition to an already festive area.  If I had my say, every concrete municipal staircase would have bright tile facings with bold colors and geometric designs.  It’s a way to inject some much-needed art into our everyday surroundings.

Stone Story

IMG_2520We were walking around Vermilion Saturday morning.  When we got down to the Main Street beach and were looking for a place to sit, I noticed a bunch of brightly painted stones with inspirational messages on one of the benches.  I groaned and thought that some vendor had decided to use a public seating area as a display table.  Pretty bogus!

But I was wrong.  In fact, the stones weren’t for sale.  They were free to whoever wanted to take one.  There was a laminated sign that explained the back story, and a battered notebook where people who took a stone could leave a note of their own.

The sign, signed “Me” with a heart symbol, said:

“Been thinking of someone lately??  of course you have!  and don’t forget #1

YOU!!

please take a rock (or two . . . or three) they are free!!

use them to brighten your day or someone else’s!

Please Remember:

Be Kind

Love Freely

Pay It Forward”

A number of people who had taken stones and appreciated the gesture had written messages in the battered notebook; I assume that “Me” came by at night to gather the notebook and the stones and came back early in the morning to set them out again.

I didn’t take a stone because I didn’t think I needed one.  Why not leave them for people who really need a boost in their lives, and need an affirmation that a complete stranger is willing to take the time to find and paint rocks that just might brighten their day?  For all of the negativity in the world right now, there is still some simple goodness out there, too.  It’s nice to see tangible evidence of it now and then.