Friday, February 28, 2014

Just Before the Night Comes

Early Thursday evening, as I left a meeting at the NCAA 
headquarters, I looked to the east and saw this - the sun, 
reflected by the entrance to the NCAA Hall of Champions, 
was just beginning to dip below the horizon, while 
the J.W. Marriott Hotel was doing its damnedest 
to blend into the night sky. A few yards farther on, the
walkway bridge over the Central Canal provided
a lighted path back towards the downtown.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dormant ... or Just Cold as Hell?

On my way Wednesday to visit with a nutritionist, 
I stopped to check out a bed of dormant plants.
I don't think it's too much of a coincidence then that
the matted white stalks made me think of spaghetti.
As a reminder that winter is not all tiresome
gray, I found bits of red leaves and green moss
lurking in the dried fluff of winter.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Work in Progress

When the new Eskenazi Hospital opened last December, 
the thing that stood out was the artistic use of color 
on the main buildings' surfaces. However, that creative use 
of material did not extend to the multi-level 
parking garage, which has had a very bare-bones
appearance to it. That is, it did until this past week, when
workers began installation of a series of dark blue,
yellow, and ocher metal panels on the south side
of the building. 

Facing Michigan Street, the segments are set at
varying angles, designed to change their appearance as the
sun moves across the sky. The photos were taken
Tuesday afternoon and show the project to be about 
one half to two-thirds complete.
When done, the installation will be stunning,
especially when the sunlight gives viewers the impression 
of constant movement of the yellow wall.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Arrangements in Yellow and Black, with Some Red

There's something about the arrangement of the colors 
in these two settings that always catches my eye.
I especially like them at night. The fluorescent light affects
the yellow differently then, giving it more
snap than it has during the day.
Is there something wrong with me because 
I'm attracted to a garage door and 
an arrangement of water pipes?
It just pleases me for some odd reason to look at them 
whenever I pass by the garage entrance.

Monday, February 24, 2014

An Amber Wave of Decorative Grass

With the Daytona 500 under a red flag rain delay, 
I took the opportunity to walk to the store 
for some groceries. Quite a bit of the snow has melted,
revealing trash and muddy ground all around. 
Other than the bare trees, just about the only graceful 
thing standing is the decorative grass planted
in various spots. Here, backed by plowed mounds 
of dirty snow, the afternoon sun shown through
the fluffy plumes near the supermarket.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Downtown Saturday @ 7 A.M.

It was all love Saturday morning as I waited downtown 
for the bus that would take me to swim practice 
on the far east side of town. The sun was rising in 
a clear blue sky, the air seemed clean and fresh,
and traffic was sparse. I had a few extra minutes so
I walked over to the Circle, where the lighted trees
curved around a giant heart on the side of 
the Indianapolis Power & Light building.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stars in the Detritus

Storms last night brought us another sunny day. 
The trees' bare branches reached upward,
towards puffy clouds scudding across a bright blue sky. 
Melting snow packs on the streets and sidewalks 
revealed the blackened leaves from fall. 
I tried to get a shot of gleaming of drops of water, 
but only got the starry points of sunlight -
one, two, three, four, dancing above the leaves.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Blue on Blue - and Blown

Amid the melting snow, the statues of nubile girls and boys 
on a fountain danced in the bright sun. 
The centerpiece of the fountain, a young woman
led the group with her cymbals, her green
figure set off perfectly against the blue sky.
Just over a day later, rain storms swept into the area,
making the bare trees dance in the night
 as the rain beat against the windows, 
adding their own rhythms to greet 
the approaching spring.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Woo Hoo! We're Thawing Out!

On a walk through a downtown park on Wednesday 
afternoon, I saw these leaves, newly, finally,
fallen on melting snow.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Icy Pterodactyl

Another storm swept through the area this evening, 
coating everything with a mixture of snow, 
sleet, and ice. The ice frozen on a neighborhood 
shrub looks like some weird version of a pterodactyl. 
Rising from the snow to soar in the winter sky,
the long-gone dinosaur might also be the mythical 
phoenix, this time reborn from winter 
to bring us spring.

Monday, February 17, 2014


This is my cat, Taylor, grooming herself 
in the morning sun. (Bleh!) She came to me three years
ago last December, filthy, abused, and frightened.
I'd gotten my previous cats when they were kittens. 
This is the first that came to me grown,
with a history that was unknown, one that would
need to be sort of torn down to rebuild her confidence.
It was several months before she would not run 
to hide under the bed for what seemed 
like days, every time someone stomped 
their feet on the stairs in the hall.

She's not a lap cat, really, but is sitting on my lap
as I type, watching the letters for this post
appear on the screen. I think she started
this because the floors have been so cold this winter.
Generally, she will lie a few feet away, curled up 
in the window or on the floor by a bookcase.
But the winter has broken down one of
her defenses, and she is now a lap cat,
warming her toes on her human's lap. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Winter of Our Pissed-Offedness

As snowy and cold as it was Friday night,
Monument Circle was almost vibrant with activity. 
When I left the Circle Theatre after the ISO Valentine's Day 
concert, I saw carriages lined up to take customers on 
horse-drawn tours of the downtown area. Young people who
had been at the movies and clubs were playing
in the snow, shouting happily as they tossed snowballs.
Cars were driving around the Circle to take in the
bright lights on the snow-draped buildings and statues.
Despite the weather, the carriage drivers did not seem
to lack for business. During the time I spent waiting 
for the bus home, I think I saw this group
of carriages at least three times.

Despite all that, Hoosiers are thoroughly tired 
of the snow. As I scanned their tickets, one man told 
me that he and his wife had driven for four hours 
to come to the concert - a trip that generally 
takes about ninety minutes. A man from
Noblesville - about twenty miles away, 
called his drive "a trip from Hell."
We are eagerly anticipating the warm-up
forecast for the coming week.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

One Slog Forward, Two Slips Back

Thursday afternoon, I walked to the store
to get a few provisions before another snowstorm
arrived. I saw these icicles hanging from a tree 
in a nearby churchyard. I didn't know
that icicles could be, of all things, windblown,
but I can't otherwise account for the 
unusual angles of this tree's icy foliage.

A fine snow has been falling steadily 
for the past four hours. Right now, it looks
to be about an additional four inches of snowfall,
on top of the snows from the past weeks.
Damn. I expect to go to hear the Indianapolis
Symphony Orchestra later Friday evening.

Friday, February 14, 2014

I'm Looking for New Words

I just want to call you Baby.
Is there any other word 
to tell you how I feel?
I say your name and it
brings to life a million gentle dreams.
Just to speak it aloud is a betrayal 
of my feelings, so I call you Sir.
The smile in your blue eyes
is a gleaming star in a galaxy,
the only one I see in a sky deep and blue.
Like the water where I swim,
I want to sink into your embrace,
Twine, entwine you with my love
As I search for new words to call you -
But I'll always just want to call you Baby.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Steamy @ 10 Degrees F

Looking south on Pennsylvania Street 
the other night, I noticed a cloud of steam 
rising just above the parked cars. 
Picking up the color of the street lights,
the steam cast an eerie yellow glow over 
the neighborhood as it pushed upward 
from the pipes below the street.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Bit of Color

The seasons each have their own beauties, 
described by colors that provide appropriate 
views of the landscape and weather.
Safe to say, there are no bright tropical schemes
to be seen anywhere in Indiana, other than in magazines
and on billboards. The dilapidated rose hips shown
above were the most vivid accents amid the tans, grays, 
and mauves of the surrounding vegetation.

The unaccustomed amount of snowfall and 
frigid air has made people more than a little peevish
and grumpy, eager for a break in the weather.
The temperatures have improved, making it seem as 
though the worst of winter's onslaught has passed. 
It should be that way because we're now two-thirds 
of the way through the season. As the planet tips more and 
more towards the sun, people lean a little southward 
to assist with the tilt.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Stark Reality in Limestone

I looked up at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument 
last Saturday morning and caught a glimpse of 
the State Capitol building a couple blocks to the west.
The landmark is ever-present in the daily lives
of Indy residents, often used as a way to help others
find their way around town. "It's just off the Circle
on Market Street, about a half block east of the Monument," 
would be the easiest way to describe the location 
of the little shop where I had breakfast.

Completed in 1901, the monument was erected to 
commemorate the sacrifices made by Hoosier veterans
of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, 
the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the
Spanish-American War. 

One tends to take the presence of the figures 
for granted. The massed figures twisting and contorted
can be easily glossed over in passing, but I find them 
to be very graphic, especially during the winters.
It's then that the stark horrors of humans in combat
becomes as real to me as cold stone can depict.
I can almost hear the beating hearts of the snow-draped 
figures as they react to the screams, the weapons fire,
the pain of watching their friends die under their feet.
As a reminder of why wars are terrible, this
is not a pretty monument, easy to look at.
As an anti-war monument, it is beautiful. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dead Twice

On my way to swimming practice Saturday morning, 
I stopped for breakfast near the Circle. 
On my way back to the bus stop, I saw giant pots 
topped by mounds of snow that reminded me 
of white froth on top of coffee. Beneath the froth,
remains of flowers had emerged. Long dead, they 
appeared, only to die all over again
in the winter air.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sky Feathers and Lace

Walking home from the store, I looked up to see
feathery contrails drifting in the crisp blue sky.
The barren trees provided embroidery of sorts to accent both. 
Made up from the ten-foot high mountains of snow 
piled on both sides of our streets, a shallow fjord has developed 
in the driveway near my home.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Pool Full of Tears

Thursday night I swam just under a mile in one hour 
without the aid of fins. It surprised me. I didn't think my legs 
were strong enough to last that long. I'd started
using the fins last summer to help improve my stroke
and became dependent on them to help me keep up
the other, stronger swimmers. I know that to achieve my
goals, I need to be shed of them; I lose about
5-7 seconds per length without them and the only
solution is to, well, start over.

I did that Thursday night when I took part in the
Entrants swim for one hour in a pool at least
25 yards or longer, then submit their recorded times
via e-mail or snail mail to determine the winner.
The event was organized locally by IAM as a fund raiser
to benefit local clubs. They wanted as close to
one hundred percent participation as possible,
otherwise I would not have entered, nor would I have
found out that, yes, I could swim without the damn fins.
Also, I came within a time range that I think will 
allow me to reach my goal for the first open water
swim I want to do later this summer.

But it was all meaningless to me because I was rude
to someone I love. I'd allowed myself to be manipulated
by a younger woman and took my hurt feelings out on him.
He did not deserve it. He's a good man who has been
nothing but kind to me. He makes me want to do well,
to work hard, and to be better than I am.
He is my muse, inspiring artwork and writing.
I was rude to him and only hurt myself in the process.
While I was swimming, I did it with a heavy heart;
even as I tried to do well, each time I breathed
I felt like crying. Walking into the cold,
cutting air afterwards was as if I'd cut out 
a piece of my own heart, with no way to heal it.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

When A Wookie Breeds With A Bluestone Crab ...

...This is what results.
Very cleverly disguised as dried thistles,
they remain hidden in fields and gardens while their
parents go about their respective businesses -
crawling up on beaches to be eaten or, more sadly,
signing autographs at Star Wars conventions.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Little Carping

My walk Monday ended where the Central Canal 
empties into the White River. I stood for a long time,
watching a school of carp as they idled in a pool 
of sunlight at the river's bank. The fishes' slender, 
blue-gray bodies stood out against the yellow clay. 
The surface water sank to the bottom, carrying with it 
particles of soil, decomposed leaves, and other 
matter, pushing the clearer water to the top.

It's a good thing I took the opportunity to
get outside when I did because another front
bringing a heavy snowfall is working its way 
across the mid-western and eastern states.
Much of the population is suffering from an 
epidemic of seasonal affective disorder;
barely one month into the season, people are already 
thoroughly sick of the cold. You could charter
a fleet of Boeing C-130's to airlift everyone 
who wanted to go South for warmer weather.
It would be a mercy flight.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Walk in the Winter Sun

The break in the weather gave me the opportunity 
to walk along the Central Canal, both to enjoy the sun 
and to take some pictures. At the end of the
canal, where the water enters the White River, I found
these grasses caught in a splendidly simple
arrangement on the wall, a russet leaf trapped
just so to balance the composition.
And below, at the edge of the river, a school
of carp swam in the current, fighting against it
to reach a quiet pool of water where
a meal could be had.
I could have watched those fish for hours,
their blue-gray bodies accented perfectly against 
the yellow clay mud beneath them.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Yellow Against Gold

Last fall, the ginko tree on the lawn 
of the Federal Court Building glimmered
pale yellow in the sun. 
Flashing its color against a backdrop 
of gold, the tree danced in 
the breeze, adding life to a street lined with 
corporate gray granite and limestone.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Looking for Color

The all day rain and temperatures in the forty's were
 a relief from the miserable cold of the past
few weeks, but the colors were wet and gray.
I went into the archives, such as they are, and found
this image from just a few weeks ago.
I was sitting in Starbucks when I happened to
notice the buildings reflected in a cab
parked just outside the window.
The carefully designed seams where the body
parts joined each other balanced beautifully
with the robin's egg blue and red.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Other than my home or the buses, the warmest place 
I spend any of my time is at the Natatorium.
I sit on a bench sketching or taking pictures of the 
swimmers as I wait for my toes to warm.
Pennants are hanging over the pools marking the 
last few feet before the walls. Reflected off the surface 
of the water, they create a sort of checkered pattern, 
reminding me of flags at the finish of the Indy 500,
appropriate to this auto racing city.  

I've been having trouble with my swimming lately, 
and don't feel I've been making much improvement.
This is probably due to losing so much practice 
time because of weather related cancellations.
Another reason is my use of small fins intended to
help improve one's kick. I decided to put them aside
the other night, something I knew I would 
have to do anyway, and lost about seven seconds
per length of the pool. Yes, the fins have been that much
of a crutch. I will need to work harder to regain 
the lost time and to get into the range where I was earlier.
It will probably help to get my weight loss
program back on schedule, as well.