Posted on May 10, 2013
I’ll admit it, the doorway to the old Sarasota High School doesn’t always look like this. But maybe it did just for moment as the afternoon light glanced off the stones — even though the doors are locked, the students elsewhere and the old building sits empty awaiting its destiny. That flash of light invites the question of how it looked to the generations of young students who walked under that graceful arch on their way to learning about life and becoming adults.
Sometimes the light is everything. In the late afternoon, low dark clouds began lifting off the horizon at Coquina Beach on the south end of Anna Maria Island. As the bright light from the sun first began to illuminate the Gulf, the green water shone like an emerald chasing away the dark.
Posted on April 18, 2013
Tucked away in a semi-abandoned storage and industrial area on the edge of downtown Sarasota is Bob’s Train, a restaurant in an old train car run by a passionate circus enthusiast. In addition to getting a reasonable lunch, one can tour three train cars loaded with the owner’s collection of pictures and other memorabilia from the long history of the Ringling circus. For anyone interested in trains or circus history, a visit to Bob’s Train is a must-do experience.
John Ringling and his brothers built an empire out of the circus business, and John and Mable Ringling began wintering in Sarasota Florida in 1907. They ultimately helped shape the community and gave it some of the cultural landmarks that Sarasota is famous for today. A bit of this history is attached to Bob’s Train, in the form of the “JOMAR – The Private Railroad Car of John and Mable Ringling.” It is the newer of two private cars owned by the Ringlings, and in need of restoration.
Posted on March 25, 2013
The Ringling College of Art and Design is raising money for its planned Sarasota Museum of Art, an adaptive reuse of the historic Sarasota High School. As part of the fundraising, sculptor Patrick Dougherty was invited to construct one of his stick sculptures on the front lawn in full view of the busiest road in town.
The sculpture is magnificent, but in these two photos the partially and colorfully boarded up windows on the old school steal the show. The old building stands there as a symbol of history — and also of change, aspiration, and imagination.
Posted on March 4, 2013
We’ve applied geology, engineering, chemistry, physics, biology and other sciences to the study of our earth. But there is so much more to this ball of rock and water we live on.
This map of the world gives a sense of interconnectedness and beauty, while the image below suggests the intensity of processes that take place within. While science and engineering have taught us a lot about Mother Earth, remembering that at her heart she is not so unlike ourselves might teach us even more.
Posted on February 7, 2013
Along Tamiami Trail on Florida’s Gulf Coast there is a deep parking lot with old derelict boats scattered around between the parking spaces. Some are on stumps, others stuck in the ground pointing skyward. Perhaps they have been put there as decoration, or perhaps to help you find your car after a long day (or night). The sign out front says “Bob’s Boathouse,” and indeed there is an establishment set way back from the road, near the water’s edge.
Some checking revealed that this is a relocated restaurant that has been wanting to reopen for a long time, but has been stalled due to county requirements. On the day I was there, a bulldozer was at work in one corner, so perhaps things are moving again.
Much of Florida has been taken over by the new, the sleek, and the homogenized. In the midst of all this ordinariness, the originality of Bob’s Boathouse parking lot stands out. I, for one, hope it will stay.
Posted on January 15, 2013
People often do not have any larger message in mind when they do some of the “little things” we see each day — just as nature is not trying to make a point as the sun sets over the ocean. Yet most of us claim a right to attach meaning to the setting sun. So should it be different for the simple actions by our fellow man?
At one of the “white tent” craft shows held in the park downtown, there was a booth with dozens of small furry stuffed creatures hung on rods in in long straight rows. Some had darker fur, others lighter fur, some with long ears, some with short. But they all wore the same dress, each with a different girl’s name stitched onto it. Each by itself was cute in a way, but the effect of the group display was disquieting.
Elsewhere, a jumble of translucent plastic life-size bodies, some red, some orange, some un-colored, and all in various expressive poses was heaped in a corner of a parking lot next to a stack of plastic chairs. Perhaps they were waiting their chance to dance and shout in the spotlight, or perhaps they were done. In any case, they were still speaking to anyone who would listen.
Posted on December 10, 2012
While visiting Georgia, I met Picasso the dog. He was out enjoying the fall afternoon. Old and wise, from a distance he almost looked like a lion. So his portrait was a must, and happily, he agreed.
The second image, below, is not from Georgia — nor is it a dog. It may be a bubble, an idea, a possibility floating, waiting to burst or become something more. What is it for you?