Posted on February 6, 2014
I’ve often wondered what it is about Southwest Florida’s tropical landscape, its swamps and tropical foliage that gives its natural areas a feeling of mystery. Is it simply that the landscape is unfamiliar to those of us from other places? Or is it the density and lushness of so much life packed together — along with a sense of the things that lie hidden just beneath the surface.
Whatever the source of the mystery, it is a landscape worth saving.
Posted on December 28, 2013
It was Veterans Day, and in the park where the speeches were given, stood the Salvation Army truck — symbol of the only real help many veterans will receive.
The parades and other patriotic events offer little for many who they supposedly honor. Instead, the parades seem to glorify wars past, promote the jingoism of war, and praise the children destined to become the veterans of the future.
Meanwhile, politicians cut veterans’ pensions and other benefits for those who have suffered disabling injuries — even though many find it impossible to successfully return to jobs, family, and a functional life. So despite the parades and the speeches, there is no help or honor for some — only a desire for the vets in trouble to disappear from sight.
Is this any way to honor and thank those who served? Wouldn’t justice for them, and the promise of peace be better?
Posted on December 4, 2013
There is so much to be learned from a garden — just by looking and listening. The swelling flower bud is ready to burst with life and color, the orchid invites us in, while the bamboo sends some symbolic message for us to take home to decipher. Each plant has it’s own voice and the messages change with the seasons.
Posted on November 16, 2013
Mostly empty, its parking lot free of cars, this suburban mall is in foreclosure. But do not worry. Plenty of money was made, and the risks and debt shifted off onto others.
And for the shoppers, the good news is that an even larger new mall will soon be built nearby, where another chunk of woods and wetlands will slip beneath the rising asphalt sea.
Posted on October 29, 2013
As kids most of us were told, “eat your vegetables.” But was it ever suggested that we honor them, too? Offering respect and honoring the animal is not that unusual for hunters who personally kill what they plan to eat. Honoring our fruits and vegetables, not so much.
So try taking a moment to be mindful of your fruits and vegetables — their colors, textures, shapes, and their beauty — and thank them for being what they are before chopping them up and gobbling them down. Being mindful of what we eat may help connect us to the earth and even each other. In any case, it can’t hurt.
Posted on October 10, 2013
This Pride parade was a true celebration — a celebration of pride, of diversity, and of the joy of being able to live life on your own terms.
Yes, these people are proud of who they are. See the smiles? It’s what freedom can look like.
Posted on September 23, 2013
The urban environment can be noisy, dirty, artless and unfriendly. But these images from Seattle suggest that there can also be whimsy and artfulness if you look for it.
Sometimes these qualities happen by accident and are fully in the eye of the beholder, as with the “Building Blocks” and “Waterfront Whimsy” below. In other cases creative people add whimsy on purpose, such as with the “Artful Fence” which stands in for chain link and barbed wire to make perimeter defense something more fanciful. And the installation of hanging laundry adds lightness to what might otherwise be a dull and confining alley.
Posted on August 27, 2013
Thousands of people travel to Southeast Alaska every year to experience the grandeur and wildness of its natural wonders. But getting to those wild places is itself a business of industrial scale — an industrial counterpoint to the experience of nature that is the goal of so much travel.
There is tension between the experience of nature and the means to achieve it. It is important to acknowledge that tension, while recognizing that the man-made and the natural environments each have their own rhythms, needs and contributions to make. Each can make room for the other.
Posted on July 31, 2013
These images are from Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Southeast Alaska. Although accessible only by air and sea, a chance to visit the 3.3 million acre preserve should not be missed.
[See more in the Glacier Bay gallery.]
The day these were taken began with heavy fog and mist that lifted, shifted and settled back in again several times during the day. The mountains and even the sea would be fully shrouded for a while, and then the fog would gradually lift revealing perhaps just the ice scattered on the sea, or perhaps a mountainside and glacier before closing in again.
250 years ago, glaciers covered the entire bay, but now one must travel as much as 65 miles up to the head of the inlets to see the face of tidewater glaciers that barely touch the sea. The experience reset my sense of scale, of awe — and of loss.
[See more in the Glacier Bay gallery.]
Posted on July 5, 2013
A recent proposal to bring a second war-themed statue to Sarasota’s Bayfront stimulated heated discussion about public art and the types of sculptures that are desirable and appropriate there. But throughout the discussion no one mentioned one of the biggest sculptures of them all — the tall blue glass monument to finance and commerce located just across the street. Whether or not you believe buildings can be art, this building’s scale, prominent location, and impenetrable reflectivity say something about the activities that take place within.
At a more human scale, the object below was “just lying there” in the sand along the breakwater. You can make of it what you will. Regardless of what you see, its presence and the light were a reminder that sometimes meaning can be found just lying at our feet, needing no monument to be raised into the sky.