July 2018 – 5 months ago this photo was taken in the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It prompted me to conjure some memories of my visit to this village. Stockbridge is an upscale community, and former residence of Norman Rockwell. Nearby, one can go and see this famous artist/illustrator’s home, studio and the museum featuring his art work. Stockbridge is also a convenient place to stay if you are coming from out of town and want to go to a concert at Tanglewood, an expansive park where artists of many genres go to perform. Concertgoers bring their blankets, chairs, and picnics to enjoy the musical sounds, under the evening sky. At Tanglewood, there is a small museum into which I ventured inside, and learned some interesting historical trivia. For one, there was a small red house on this property owned by a wealthy New England family, whose name slips my mind, however, inside this house lived the writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne was a native of Salem, Massachusetts, and author of “The Scarlet Letter”, “House of Seven Gables”, and numerous short stories. He is an author that interests me for his stories and his links to Puritan thought and heritage. It is no wonder one of his books is entitled “Tanglewood Tales”, a collection of stories based on Greek mythology, composed for children. And so goes the memory – a single photograph that produced a few bits of essential information stored in the confines of my brain. Call it an exercise, a jungle gym of mind play, or what you will. Had I not pushed myself to write, all of this would have been left to dissipate into thin air, like used up space crafts orbiting in the hemisphere.
A memorable moment, in Rome, a few months ago. This wonderful group of musicians performed for the public a block down from St. Peter’s Square, right beside the Castel San Angelo, which houses the Mausoleo di Adriano. It was April 21, 2018, and the Romans were celebrating the birthday of Rome. Romulus is said to have founded the city on this day in 753 BC. Everyone loves Rome, but no one loves Rome, more than the Romans do.
Time has a way of playing tricks on the mind. It was only three weeks ago that I passed through the City of Brotherly Love on a frigid day in January. It seems like ages.
Inspired by the solid steel and concrete, of the urban landscape, I took the photo quickly, from moving traffic. I was on my way to visit the new Museum of the American Revolution.
The image sits in contrast, with the idea of fleeting time. It is symbolic of the ongoing Revolution, in the U.S.A.
…the moon is the guiding light. The air is crisp, birds are none to be found. Autumn hangs on, like the last leaves to fall. Muted green of olive bushes, alone reflect golden beams. The clock has spent its time. Alas! the days are longer, the light is stronger, and winter won’t be far. Sleep deeply under the evening stars.
People gather together – Friends, family and maybe strangers, too, like autumn leaves, on the ground. Behind each visage, within each beating heart, lie dreams, fears in life and death – and loss. Loved ones are reminisced, and tears fall, while the void of loneliness is filled. Time stands still, like it does, for fallen leaves, and each person, surrounded by love, forgets, for a moment, who they are, or want to be.
Being away from home can be disconcerting at times. Especially when it is frequent. I love to travel, but I also like to be home. I guess I’m kind of a homebody at heart. When the opportunity presents itself, however, to go somewhere else, I generally seize the moment. I always think, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained,’ and no matter what, after going away, I more and more realize that if I don’t do something when I can, I would undoubtedly regret and wonder what I had missed out on. I don’t want to miss out on anything!
With all that said, it’s always good to come back, to sleep in my own bed and to be in familiar surroundings. After 35+ years in New England I would say I have become somewhat of a Yankee, though you can’t take the Midwestern soul out of my core.
A visit to this Raspberry Farm put my mind in motion about how good it is to explore the places in my own back yard. I stopped in on the way back from errands. I’ve passed it frequently and always wanted to pay a visit. That I did!
I went into the shop with the big ‘Welcome’ sign up. Generally, this is a place where you can pick your own, but on account of the rains the night before, the patch was closed, so instead, I bought a small box of raspberries and some vegetables, tomatoes, raspberry jam made on the place, and some local honey. I even grabbed a few recipes they had hanging on the door.
On my way out I thought to ask the saleslady if I could take some pictures of the farm. It is impressively well run, and obvious the owners put their everything into keeping it nice for the public. The pictures show how well run it is. Curiously the varieties are given French names, as you can see in the photos. Prelude is the only raspberry bush still producing. It gives two crops of fruit, one in the early summer, and again in August/September. I presume in October, they die out.
I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful blue sky and white fluffy clouds to bring out the late summer cheer of the the day. Bittersweetly the Autumn’s tune was playing in the air. Must enjoy the days, as short as they may be getting to be, and take in the transitions of a new season to come. They all have some beauty to share.
Taking pictures helps me get in touch with feelings. Thoughts generally rush through my mind, and a mix of emotions, negative and positive can be all tangled up. When I go out with my camera, and interpret my surroundings, the scenarios I play back are put on hold.
Energy re-emerges in the waves beating against the shore. Anticipation and lethargy lie dormant within the rocks, which sit like dinosaurs on the beach. I imagine them stirring in slow motion. A golden sun, peaking out of gray clouds over still ocean water, signals optimism and hope. Self-expression comes in many shapes and forms, taking the place of words.
Photos were taken on the beach, in Carlsbad, California. Click on the images, for a full view, and titles.
Once upon a time, there was a young Asian girl, who wore her long hair pulled back in a pony tail. She had bangs. One summer day, she was feeding the birds at a city square. Leaning over slightly, her left hand held a bag with food; with the right, she gently tossed the seeds to the grey doves. They eagerly gathered at her tiny feet.
On this day, her jersey waisted turquoise coat clashed with the bright green grass, growing where dry parched soil allowed. It was in the afternoon. She donned a pretty white crinoline skirt trimmed with a pink ribbon along the edge, which fell at her knees. Her tennis shoes, matched the trim on her skirt. The fine spectacles sitting on her olive-toned skin, glistened with sparkles.
She was happy and beautiful!
A short distance away across the drive, there was a barely perceptible figure of a man, supinely stretched out along the grass. His head lie northeast, and his feet together, southwest. Completely still, he went unnoticed, until… the soon to be lost image, appeared on my screen.
The girl, disappeared!
During a recent stay, in Padua, Italy, I marveled at a seemingly enchanting light hovering over this very old city, going back before Roman times, a place where many layers of culture and history are available to feast the mind. In particular are the lives of two famous artists, who made their stay in Padua. Giotto lived there in the 14th century, and Donatello, in the 15th. Another artist named Mantegna must not be forgotten, when speaking of Padua. He was a prominent painter, who lived in this city dedicated to St. Anthony, the hermit.
So surprised at the amazing light of Padua and the similarity I found in the tones and colors in the frescoes of Giotto, I made mention of this to acquaintances along the way. I’m not sure if they understood what I was trying to say. While there may be a scientific explanation for this phenomena, real or imagined, I sought out information on Google and was pleasantly surprised that a French writer in his book Wanderings in Italy also spoke of the quality of light in Padua. Although he was there in the fall and I in the early summer, more than 100 years apart, it was quite a revelation that we both were struck by the relationship of the light and the effect this had on its artists, particularly its painters. Gabriel Fauré, nonetheless had a differing perception of the nature of Paduan light. He said, “Forms stand out in strong relief. The lines of the Euganean Hills, so soft and blurred as seen from Venice, are so precise and definite here that they almost hurt the eyes.” He then mentioned the art of Giotto and Mantegna as being influenced by this surrounding atmosphere. Contrarily, I found the light to be soft and pastel like and conjured more closely the images of Giotto’s palette. Mantegna is quite different in style and true enough his palette is more saturated and his forms have a more outlined and definite quality than those of Giotto. Perhaps Giotto painted in the early summer, and Mantegna in the fall. Whatever may be the case, I’m not certain scientific explanation can prove either case, but it could try. It may also depend on the season, in which one resides. What is true is that human perception of nature’s affect on artistic renditions, open to interpretation, cannot be denied.
In the beginning of the article, I have included photos I took of the frescoes by Giotto from the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. Below, is also the script of Faure taken from his travel journal in Italy. It is worth a reading to understand what his experience was like and its parallel with my own experience. Click on Scrovegni Chapel for an excellent tour of the inside of the chapel, and explanation by the Khan Academy.
The environs of Padua are delightful. ‘If we did not know,’ said the Emperor Constantine Palæologus, ‘that the earthly Paradise was in Asia, I should have believed that it must have been in the territory of Padua.’ I am struck more especially by the change in the aspect of everything only a few leagues from Venice. Climate, landscape, sky and inhabitants are all quite different. The light, above all, is of another quality. It is not full of colour and vapour as on the lagoon, but vivid and piercing. Forms stand out in strong relief. The lines of the Euganean Hills, so soft and blurred as seen from Venice, are so precise and definite here that they almost hurt the eyes. And merely walking along this road enables me to realize why the vision of the Paduan painters differs so essentially from that of the Venetians with whom they were long classed. The School of Padua is far more akin to that of Florence, whence, indeed, came the two great masters of the 14th and 15th centuries whose influence was to be so decisive here. Giotto and Donatello did not feel themselves strangers on the banks of the Bacchiglione, and they were at once understood and imitated. Nothing could be more alien to the art of Titian than the somewhat hard dry manner of Squarcione and Mantegna.
 “Wanderings in Italy” by Gabriel Faure. Houghton Mifflin, 1919.