Thursday, October 31, 2013

Traffic Cone Work Day

I've often wondered how traffic cones got to work, now I know -
they meet at the highway department then share a ride 
to the work site. This time they've been assigned to assist in the
grading and repaving of a stretch of 25th Street, 
just off High School Road.

About every twelve feet or so, each cone leaped off the truck
to take its station, creating a phalanx of orange designed to 
separate the work area from the cars and trucks traveling along
the street. The cones have their own guards; at each end of the project,
a woman was stationed with a STOP sign that she used to
control and guide the flow of traffic throughout the day.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Swimming: Mesmerizing Sparkle

I wish I could effectively describe the beauty of the scene. 
As I waited tonight to begin a practice session at the IUPUI Natatorium 
swimming pool, I watched members of local area high schools 
conduct their own; those schools that don't have facilities of their own
come to the Natatorium to practice. The place was a hive of activity.
The water sparkled like fireworks with the movement of 
teenagers swimming length upon length of the pool.
Their progress back and forth in the lanes resembled rows
of little ducks in a carnival gallery.
The colors and shapes were mesmerizing.

My own coach seems to always be admonishing me to not 
lift my head when I breathe, to instead just turn it to the side. 
I try, I try. Just when I feel I'm doing it correctly, I sometimes hear
a reminder from the deck to keep my head down.
Watching the kids swim Tuesday night, I saw an illustration of what I was doing;
 a girl was lifting her head on every stroke - and breathing like a carp.
"Oh, so that's what he means," I thought.
I spent my own practice time actively reminding myself
to shove my face into the water, to look at the bottom as I exhaled,
and at the lane markers when I breathed.
I wished a coach had been there to help the girl,
just as mine has been helping me.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Each in His Own Way ...

Moved by the spirit, each man has gone about expressing his belief, 
his image of Christ to suit his own reality.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wha ...? How Long Have You Been Here?

Honestly, I don't know how many times over the past gazillion years 
I've walked past a parking garage on Ohio Street, 
and even looked at the stairwell. 
But Saturday morning was the first time 
I was open to its austere balance, a beauty in grays 
that reminded me of some of the early 20th century paintings 
by Kasamir Malevich or Theo Van Doesburg.

Artist, Kasimir Malevich

Painting by Theo Van Doesburg,

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Warm Glow, Cold Breeze

It was really chilly this morning. 
I decided to stop at a coffee shop between buses 
on my way to my Saturday morning swimming session.
At the coffee shop, I had a lox and bagel sandwich
for breakfast, a treat I savor. 
The buses were all on detour due to a special event
and, needing time to find the stop for the diverted route,
I left the shop about fifteen minutes early.
I saw the buildings surrounding the Circle bathed
in warm, early morning sunlight that contrasted 
sharply with the cold gusts of wind 
swirling through the city streets. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Season of Contrasts

Based on anecdotal evidence -- my own experience, the seasons 
don't really seem to change in Indiana until about a month 
after the "official" date. We've had really mild, late summer weather
until the past week or so, when the rains came in, bringing
colder temperatures and gloomy days.
These pictures were taken last week at the bridge 
in the Oldfields Gardens, which form part of the grounds 
of the Indianapolis Museum of ArtThe gardens were designed 
in the 1920s by Percival Gallagher, of the renowned 
Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm.
The day was by turns rainy and sunny, light and dark,
creating shadows that echo the curves of the bridge's wrought
iron gates, then fading into a gray, rainy mist dripping 
from the surrounding trees.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Complementary Colors and Size

When I wander the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 
I am always pleased to see how the gardeners have arranged 
the plantings, not only for color but for contrast in size.
Here, the big jade green colored leaf is poised above a background
made up of dark red leaves, with an analogous 
bit of yellow green tossed in. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn? Gone. Waiting for the Solstice.

Somewhere, just beyond the bend in the road, the bus should 
be approaching that will take me towards home.
It had rained all night, bringing huge clouds that blocked the sun's rays,
leaving the day cold. Even the sunshine that sneaked through
the cracks in the overcast seemed pale from chill.
A few days ago, a big tree across the street was adorned
with golden yellow leaves, then it rained, leaving
the tree black with its nikkidness, its branches twisted
in supplication as it asks for the return of its leaves.
For now, though, we have to tolerate the dark, waiting for the
days when the sun begins to return to our hemisphere,
bathing us in warmth and light.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hidden Dangers

I saw this car parked downtown, it's bumper stickers unabashedly displayed
 in the open, for all to see. Yes, one could definitely tell 
where the car's owner stood; I'd say they are intelligent, open-minded, 
creative, and willing to discuss the state of their nation and its people in 
a heart-felt, sincere manner, one that would not out-of-hand 
dismiss another person's opinion because it is different from their own.
On the other hand ...

The bed of a neighborhood pick-up truck was, and probably still is, 
as covered in these virulent, hate-filled, racist images as is the bumper 
of the car above. Not one example of these sentiments was to be found on
the exterior of the vehicle, and the images shown here were the least offensive.
 While both owners may be equally misinformed, at least one 
was willing to make their stand openly, while the other 
kept his hatred concealed behind a benign exterior,
the bright red enamel and chrome bearing poison within.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tangled Pink

While wandering the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 
I found these pale pink flowers, their long stems 
tangled and entwining as they wound 
themselves sinuously towards the sunlight.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Friday night, during the intermission of an Indianapolis Symphony 
Orchestra concert, I looked up from my task as a volunteer 
to see the concert-goers enjoying the time to talk with friends 
over drinks and treats. The orchestra's venue, the 
Hilbert Circle Theatre, is a restored performance hall that was built on
Monument Circle in 1916 to replace a livery stable. It hosted movies 
and live acts for many years, until falling into disrepair in the 1970s.
When the ISO decided to move back downtown from
Clowes Hall, the Circle Theatre was restored to its original
Neo-Classical Revival style, re-opening in 1984.

The orchestra is world class, has world class conductors, 
and hosts some of the finest musical artists in the world 
in its intimate hall - its stage area specially configured to suit
the needs of the orchestra. Oddly enough, the lobby area
shown in these photos was actually part of the original
performance hall - a wood and glass wall has been constructed
to separate the auditorium from the lobby and mezzanine areas.   

Saturday, October 19, 2013

IMA Art Park: Eden II

Stranded in the middle of the lake, Eden II is monitored 
from the bank by a security system that watches the on-board 
activities of an imaginary group of refugees
displaced from their own country by climate change 
and rising sea levels. The security cameras are located
in a guard shack that can be used by visitors
to both view interior of the ship and of the shack.
The creator of Eden II, Finnish artist, Tia Makipaa, is known
for her multi-media projects using photo landscapes,
video documentation, and built objects to record
"human habits and habituations."

Friday, October 18, 2013

IMA: Stratum Pier

Among the pieces inhabiting the IMA's Art Park, I believe Kendall Buster's 
Stratum Pier is my favorite. Its undulating layers and shapes, 
jutting from the bank of the lake, is a three-dimensional representation 
of a topographical map. Fitting in nicely with the landscape,
the fiberglass and steel structure provides a pleasant place to quietly
view the surrounding landscape in quiet privacy.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Small Discovery

I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art this afternoon to wander the galleries 
and the museum's beautiful grounds.There's a fountain near 
the Lilly mansion, Oldfields, where I caught sight of some fallen leaves. 
They had clotted together on the surface of the pond 
to create a colorful composition of their own.
Afterwards, I crossed the Central Canal to visit the 100-Acre Wood. 
The picture below is a view of the canal taken from the west side 
of the foot bridge, looking south towards 38th Street.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Early Autumn Tapestry

The trees and plants are beginning to show their autumn colors. 
The weather has been mild, without the chill one associates
with the sudden appearance of the reds and golds,
but they're here just the same. These flower bushes were
planted along the nearby highway last fall and,
much like the tapestries of old, serve to hide the visual
confusion of myriad fast-food restaurants, as well
as to provide insulation from the incessant traffic noise
for people on the other side of the landscaping. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Textured Tuesday: A Study in Gray

As I left the Natatorium Monday night, I looked up to see 
the bell tower of the IUPUI Student Union building.
Illuminated by lights against the fading daylight, it made 
a study in gray with the clouded sky.
Downtown, as I waited for the bus home, the moon
kept company with workers in the offices
across the street from the bus stop.
No, it wasn't a full moon, but the sliver
was very bright.

Monday, October 14, 2013


During the early fall, when the sun rises on the State Capitol 
rotunda, it turns the limestone and copper the most brilliant shades 
of orange. I rarely get to see those moments and count myself
fortunate the sun appeared from between the taller
buildings just a block or two away.
Those buildings house banks and insurance companies,
all of which would block reason as surely as they would block 
the sun to gain financial advantage for themselves.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Basic Color Theory @ 8 AM

This morning, on my way to a swimming practice, 
as I waited for the bus near the State Capitol Building,
I looked up to see the sunrise reflected off a building across
the street. The pink gradating into gray on the south side
contrasted nicely with the blue windows.
Meanwhile, the limestone exterior of the One America
building took on yellow hues to balance the red and blue
of the building on the right.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Different Drummers

On my way over to the Circle Theatre, where I occasionally volunteer 
as an usher for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra,
I found myself in the middle of a pep rally on Monument Circle. 
Just outside the theatre door, the marching band from 
Grambling State University was playing.
 Saturday, they will perform in the Circle City Classic parade, 
as well as at the half-time show for their school's football game
against Alcorn State University. While people will
talk about the football game, I've always thought of 
it as just an excuse to have some of the best marching bands
in the country appear; this year, Grambling's Tigers
will take on the Alcorn Braves in a marching, horn playing
and drumline extravaganza that will leave every one happy.

In the top photo a horn player watches the conductor,
while the cheerleaders perform their carefully coordinated stunts.

See those huge men behind the small woman?

Here is the reason for their presence -

Below is a video of the Grambling Tigers' participation
in the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Parade.

I was able to watch nearly all of the performance 
before I had to go to the theatre a few feet away.
Here's Dies Irae, from Verdi's Requiem
the piece I went to hear Friday night. 
It is two different worlds, but the same because
both have music in their souls. Each performance was
beautiful and heart-filling. There is no way the video
can duplicate the warmth of the sounds, the way the chords
reached inside me and made me cry.
It's music. I am happy to have experienced both.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lawn Sequins

Sometimes I leave the house early to go to work 
or just to get coffee made by someone other than myself.
There's no telling what the morning will present -
a beautiful sunrise, fog lying low in the soccer fields,
or this, a lawn covered in dewy sequins.
It's as though I caught Mother Nature in her glorious 
gown just as she returned from a ball.

Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a way for me to capture 
the effect of the light on the droplets, to show you the sunlight
on the glorious green expanse of velvet lit by myriad 
sequins of light. Changing the angle or getting closer meant
reducing the twinkle that caught my eye in the first place.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Embossed on the Memory

When I was little, each New Year brought new calendars to the house. 
Usually provided by our neighborhood grocer, 
the pictures were attached to a pasteboard backing with
a little calendar below the grocer's name and address.
The pictures were brightly colored stock photos, 
and often had embossed surfaces to accent the trees, flowers,
or whatever. If you had told me that skies could be so blue,
trees so green, or fruit so red I would have said,
"Maybe, but only in Vermont" -- or wherever the photo
had been taken. Nothing where I lived was ever
as pretty as the scenes on the calendars.

Sometimes, however, I look up to see the sky
on a clear day is as blue, the leaves so green, and the
fruit so red as any other place I ever imagined.
This time, a jet contrail marked the path of a plane
as it wove a path among others similar to it,
all to places where, it is hoped, the sky is as beautiful
for them as it sometimes is for me.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Swimming: Yadda-Yadda-Yadda

Some evenings, the hardest thing to do is just jumping 
into the pool, trusting that the cool water 
will support me and return me to the surface.
I began this little enterprise in earnest last July, as an aid
to help me lose weight, but it has become 
an end in itself. I am surrounded by tri-athletes, long and short course
competitive swimmers, and open water swimmers and every 
damn one of them is a better swimmer than I; to date, 
there has not been one person I have shared a lane with
who has not been a stronger, faster swimmer.

My coach, a nice man (even though I think of him as a dick),
knows I'm frustrated, tells me I've improved but that it 
takes a long time to be any good. But just how long is
"a long time"? I've seen enormous changes in my body as the fat
burns away and my muscles become toned. 
Things are changing for the better, but when 
will I be strong and fast? 
Will I ever get to be attractive again so I can wear
a nice swimsuit made from a pretty print?
When will it be my turn?



Tuesday, October 8, 2013


As I entered the Natatorium late Monday afternoon, 
I was caught up in fantasies; some people chatter on their phones 
as they walk along, I make up
stories, trying to visualize what sort of reception 
my little photo exhibit will have 
when it goes up a couple months from now,
or whether a man I like will ever get around 
to acknowledging my presence. 

Then magic happens as I walk through 
the parking garage entrance to the pool.
The late afternoon sun peeks through the slats 
of the garage, casting a pattern of stripes 
on the pavement that are, in turn, reflected back 
onto the concrete by the glass entry-way. 
Fantasies are forgotten while I try to record 
the magic of light. My world is small but, 
from time to time, it offers 
joyful treats such as these.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Other than the sounds of cold rain dropping against the asphalt 
and splashing into puddles, the day was rather quiet, 
with colors just as muted, providing a bit of visual background
to the shimmering rhythms of the rain.

And the range of colors and sounds 
to be found in Nina Simone's work just 
hits me in all the right places.
I wish I could paint the way she sang.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


We had our share of showers this summer, but no really sodden days.
The rain last night and today brought with it the fallen leaves and breezes
that let you know that autumn is, indeed, here to push out
the warm comfort and lush beauty of summer.

I went for a walk this morning and found the weather to be humid and warm.
I thought I could go enjoy a latte and make it back before it began to rain, but no,
I was caught in a downpour. When I returned home, I changed out of my soaking clothes
then spent the day inside, listening to music, reading, and drawing. 
My music was all of the hip-swaying danceable variety. Below is a video 
of Vince Gill, Albert Lee, and James Burton playing "Tear It Up."
They do. Indeed they do.