Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ars Brevis

Bright colors haven't been the norm on this scraggle-spit of ground, where Foothill splits from Walnut to begin its eastern trek. I like this area, especially along Walnut: it's where small industries and artist studios set up shop, and you can find old train tracks along the north side of the road.

Now you can also find art. This work is called Planting a Garden. It's by Margaret Lazzari and Lauren Evans, and it's part of Pasadena's Rotating Public Art program. Medians and scraggle-spits like this one are just the spots for works such as this one. Watch for them at your favorite (or least favorite) median around town. Each piece is displayed for 18 months before it's rotated out and replaced with a new one.

This piece looked to be in fine condition when I stopped so I'm not sure what the caution tape was for. But this brings me to the fact that I stopped--stopped the car, got out, and looked up close. I recommend it. I like the piece as a whole, but I like the details even more. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
Plus, when you look closely, you can see the materials. I like knowing how this piece was put together and with what.
I also liked seeing how the location interacted, however tentatively, with the piece.
One of my favorite things about art is its subjectivity. No single work will please everyone. That's one of the many appealing things about this rotating program. Don't like the art? Don't worry. Just give it a little time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Best Things

One of those warm Saturday evenings a week or two ago:

Boz and I are having our walk. He sniffs his usual spots, as dogs do. We turn the corner and dusk has ditched us. Dark moseys down the sidewalk. A mom calls her kid to come in. End of day, end of day.

A gaggle of children still plays in a yard. One of them spots us when the street lights come on. "A customer!" she shouts. "Hi! Do you want to buy a free flower ring? Free flower rings for sale!"

"Just one more," calls a mom to whatever kids in the batch are hers, "then you're coming inside." She stands in the doorway, warm light spilling out from behind her onto the porch. I wave to her. She says "hi." She can't wave back because she's holding a baby in her arms.

Five or six children, of varying sizes but all smaller than I am, gather to meet me, discuss Boz and hawk their free flower rings. I ask to see the merchandise.

The children have a tiny table set on the lawn. (It might actually be a footstool.) On it are displayed in orderly fashion about twenty of the loveliest, most aromatic flowers. The kids have coiled the stems into rings.

"Take this one. And this--this is a good one. One for each hand."

"No, two for each hand."

"Do you think Boz wants one?"

"If the lady gets four then Boz gets four."

"Wait," I say, "how much?"

"They're free!" the children squeal. They are so pleased with themselves.

"Free?" I say. "But they're so beautiful." They truly are.

The kids could not be more thrilled that I'm thrilled. I lavish praise on their works and thank them profusely. Mom calls again. "That was the last one," she says, and calls "have a good evening" to me.

Boz and I walk on. I have a dog leash and a full bag of poo in one hand, and eight pretty flowers in the other. I can't believe my good fortune.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


The last bit of sunlight bleeds off the treetops even as the moon rises. Opposites uniting in the natural world to make a thing of beauty.

You can find online lists of oxymora (nice word, that). "Military intelligence" is a popular one but it's sarcastic, which means it's only an oxymoron if you believe the military is not intelligent. A better example is the ever popular "jumbo shrimp," or my new favorite, "butt head." These are oxymora in fact, not opinion. (I also like "Congressional action," but there we go again with the sarcasm.)

Let's hear yours today, sarcastic or not. Oxymorons unite!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Whole Staircase

Of yesterday's photo Dive asked, "So what was around that corner, Petrea? Did you sneak a look?"

I did. Speedway was prescient when she quoted Dr. King, "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

I took both photos a couple of years ago. I was pretty mad at myself when I forgot to use yesterday's picture for Martin Luther King Day last year.

I did climb the stairs. They led to private property, which I did not invade.

But I remember where they are.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Zen Monday: #179

Even holiday Mondays are Zen Mondays. That's the day you tell me what the photo's about instead of the other way around.

The man whose life we celebrate today wasn't famous for his sense of humor, but he's said to have had one.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tree Story House

We complained about losing thousands of trees when hurricane-force winds hit Pasadena November 30th, but we didn't lose every tree in town. In fact, most of them are still here. It's not that we exaggerated the loss. It's just that Pasadena had so many trees to begin with that although losing so many was painful, we still live in a blessed urban forest.

Boz and I passed this giant on our dog walk yesterday evening. The tree dwarfs its yard partner, making it look like a tiny tree house.

Sometimes when I'm walking--okay, always when I'm walking--I glance through gates into back yards and, if the curtains are open, I peer into windows. It's part nosiness, absolutely. But mostly it's like looking at the pictures while reading a fanciful storybook. I peek at a world I don't know. I imagine what it's like to live inside that story.

Boz doesn't fantasize. He's strictly a non-fiction dog. But I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this.

I couldn't see into this house. Like a treehouse, it's raised over the sidewalk on a yard of ferns, heightened above the everyday like fiction itself. But the golden light from the windows was enough.