Feeds:
Posts
Comments

in copley square

Artwork in the square. Deceptively simple looking and especially quite elegant when a gentle breeze blows and there’s plenty of breeze in Copley Square.

learning from elders

If you only listen to the first 6 minutes, it’s illuminating. And if you pour yourself some tea and make a plate of snacks, listen to the full hour.

https://www.loc.gov/item/2015669138/

It is the Pete Seeger oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Beacon, New York, 2011 July 22. I also highly recommend: https://www.loc.gov/collections/civil-rights-history-project/articles-and-essays/music-in-the-civil-rights-movement/

the end of the beginning

Honestly, I have no words. I think Stephen Colbert captures it best for me. Check out his video in the following New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/07/arts/television/stephen-colbert-trump-capitol.html

p.s. the subject line … I worry that, as I did after Biden won the election that first night, I worry that, once more, now that the riots are (so far) done, I hear people saying,”well, this is the end.” It is not. During World War II, after many defeats, the British finally obtained a victory. Some may have thought, well, this is the end. The year was 1942. Winston Churchill’s reply? “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Joseph A. Horne, 1943

Joseph Anthony Horne will not be remembered as one of Roy Stryker’s greatest Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) photographers such as Dorethea Lange, Gordon Parks and Walker Evans but there is much to be gleaned from his photographs. With his camera, Horne primarily focused on the Washington, DC area where he lived with his wife and son. My understanding is that Stryker did not give specific direction on what to shoot but, once a region or event was selected, photographers had great leeway to shoot as they pleased and he would sort through the photos later. You can read more about the background and evolution of the photography project here. The photos of these photographers, including Horne, are available at the Library of Congress. What I find increasingly interesting about Horne’s photographs is seeing where his eyes gravitated.

He took these photos in the summer of 1943 in Franklin Park, Washington, DC. It appears to be a circular park with benches around the circle and from Horne’s photos it appears that white people settled on benches on one side of the circle and black people on the other side.

But when it came to listening to the presenters, like the Catholic Evidence Guild, all could stand together. Or at least the children could stand up front.

I’ve learned that Franklin Park, DC’s largest green space, will soon be transformed. It will become a destination point for residents and visitors. Horne’s photos reminds us that the park used to be quite the destination spot for a mix of peoples in the 1940s. Hopefully in 2021 that will be true once more in the park.

Franklin Park

the board is set

I’m always looking for inspiration. So when you’re more or less stuck in the house during a pandemic … and your eyes need a break from the screen … after awhile you start to look in old boxes that are just sitting around and that’s where I discovered Steve’s cache of chess pieces. I vaguely remember playing chess as a little kid but goodness knows I was never meant to be a Beth Harmon. I’m more into the zen of chess, as I am into the zen of fishing. The zen of fishing is tie a string on a stick, slip the string into the water, and then ponder the world about you. I’m not so into actually catching a fish just as I’m not so into demolishing my opponent across the board. But it’s nice to know how to do it. So … I had Steve set up the board. He picked these pieces up in Mexico years ago. I thought he’d simply tell me what I need to do … I know the basic moves. But he handed me a book! Starting Out: the Sicilian. Well, I moved my first pawn. We’ll see how this journey progresses.

I’m all about bringing nature indoors. That’s why its been such fun this winter to sip tea and to work with images in the public domain, as well as my own photography, to update my redbubble shop. I selected several artists whose works moved me personally and sorted through merchandise I would actually use. First up … William Morris.

I’m a fan of Morris’s bright, bold prints but I liked these for their unfinished quality and the softness of the colors. Very soothing to me. See what you think when you visit the shop.

And you can learn more about Morris via this Wikipedia page.

vestige of summer

three tomatoes on a windowsill

environmental perturbation

A person in Copley Square feeds the pigeons quite regularly and in great volume. He may have been doing it so routinely that the pigeons have become attuned to his hand gesture when he disburses his feed. So if anyone makes a similar gesture, their hand sweeping the air, the birds settle immediately en masse until a few quick pecks at empty ground reveal no food. Then away they fly. I’m not sure if the hawk gets them when they are flying in or flying away. But I know this hawk caught and consumed at least two pigeons while I was in the area. The man has been asked not to feed the birds. We’ll see …

remembrance of things past

While puttering around the kitchen this morning I suddenly yearned for a particular cup of tea. I could see it clearly, could almost smell it. But instead of Lipton tea with sugar and a long pour of Pet’s evaporated milk, I made myself some chai. I smiled at the memory though. Lipton’s was my mother’s tea. Really, the family’s tea. She never added anything except a bit of sugar but my brothers would empty the can of milk and the sugar bowl. Awhile back I noted my oldest brother’s grandson doing the same. I happened to be sitting by my brother at the time. I looked at him and with a raised eyebrow asked, “Well, I wonder where he learned that from?”

Yellow onions were a fixture in our home too. I’ve not cooked with them probably in 15 plus years having made a gustatory switch to red onions. But while walking through the grocery store earlier this month the yellow onions caught my attention. I was compelled to pick up one. Slicing through that first yellow onion brought tears to my eyes with its wonderfully pungent scent. A forgotten scent remembered. As I washed my hands before I accidentally rubbed my eyes I remembered how my father used to cry as he cut these same onions. It was a task that my mom often had him do. Now I know why. But I can’t help myself. Every time I cut one I now raise the half to my nose and inhale deep. I don’t feel compelled to eat them raw, as I must have as a child, and as I remember my father doing all the time. There is something simply serene in slow cooking with the onion, sauteing it in butter, or slicing it up for roasting vegetables. There is an upwelling of familiarity and home even in a different time and place and home.

There are other foods, flavors, scents from childhood that are “upwelling” this month. They come unbidden and they are welcome and so far they have always brought a smile.

grace emerging from the ice

Holy Family Sculpture by Steve Rose of Boston Ice Effects

It was cold in Copley Square yesterday but well worth the layering, hand warmers jammed into pockets, etc to watch the action as this depiction of the Holy Family emerged from blocks of ice. Weather permitting you should be able to view this life-sized outdoor sculpture between 4:30 and 7:30 daily into the New Year. Located on the Boylston Street side of Trinity Church near the statue of Phillips Brooks.