Tag Archives: Urban Life

Artful Attraction

One of several nice things about sculpture is the option of the viewer to see all sides of a piece. However, this also leads to one of the problems with sculpture. Some works need a large display space.

Some bright person devised the idea of a sculpture park (or garden) to facilitate the positive and minimize the negative.

At the St. Louis facility the displayed pieces run from a traditional bust of a historic figure to the largest deer you’re likely to ever see. Some you can walk right up to and touch. But be nice, and obey the signs on others. The materials vary from metal, to stone, to fiberglass — or a mix.

A sculpture that hugs YOU!

 

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Charming Attraction

They flutter. They fly. They sip. They light for a second or few on you hat. Or shoulder.

Within the confines of the topical climate Butterfly House all of the above can happen within a minute or two.

It’s enchanting from the moment you step on the path between lush plants.

Some are excellent in the art of camouflage. Clinging to a tree trunk, the dull, brown side of their wings exposed, they appear as a leaf at first glance. A nice trick in the wild where hungry predators lurk.

Others remind a person of flying flowers. They skim through the air in flashes of blue, or orange, or yellow. Speed and agility are in their favor to live long enough to mate and find a proper place to lay eggs.

Does your city or community have a Butterfly House or Dome?

In St. Louis it is located in a suburban park and charges an admission fee.

All in a Row

Reflective material can be a life saver. I recommend it for any walker or bike rider out after dark.

It can also make for a spooky photo.

This is not a line of aliens waiting to attack.

No, these lockers contain a much kinder, occupational necessity.

This is the turn out gear – ready for the next emergency — spotted during a recent fire house tour.

The men assigned to this gear are: human, intelligent, well-trained, polite, and patient. They were generous with their time while a group of female authors plied them with questions about the equipment, procedures, frequent complaints, and fire station life.

Thank you. Whether you are extinguishing a fire, completing a medical call, or any of the other dozens of things which prompt a citizen to call 911.

Founding Father

He signed neither the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution.  It is very likely he never lived within the authority of the United States of America.

So why the title? He, and his young step-son, selected the site and founded what was to become one of the larger cities in the American Midwest. St. Louis on the western bank of the Mississippi River.

Trade. Business. Fortune. These were the forces which drove a lot of exploration in North America. So traveling the great river north to establish a fur trading post would have been a natural thing.

They chose the site for the trading post, village, city well. Moving south from the marshy, low lying land of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, they established it on a bluff, with access to the best transportation system available without the hazard of frequent floods.

Pierre Laclede stands tall and proud beside the city hall in downtown St. Louis.

 

Carefully collected

Autumn. Fall. Harvest. A time to gather together the bounty of the earth and store it for the bleak winter to come.

Growing up on a farm, this was one of the busiest times of the year. The oats were threshed (later combined), a final crop of hay gathered, and then the corn. These days there’s a soybean harvest also. Long, busy days full of dust and noise and satisfaction.

The final vegetables from the garden were picked. Or dug. Some ended up preserved in jars. Some, like potatoes or squash, in a wooden box to story in a cool, dry, dark place. Onions were  pulled, the long tops braided together and hung on a nail in a cool, dry place.

It’s different when living in the city. Items we considered useful but messy are used for decoration. Cornstalks at the grocery store? One straw bale set out where the weather could attack from all sides?

An elegant, colorful, seasonal display.

Urban Entertainer

Do you enjoy watching acrobats?

Then you’ll love today’s featured animal.

He’s plentiful in St. Louis. I’m not sure, but they may outnumber the humans. Very difficult to get accurate census figures for the critters.

Without humans, they would do very well in trees. Trees provide them with home building materials, home sites, and food. However, when humans are added to the mix they have no qualms about stealing fruits and vegetables from the branch or vine to supplement their diet. Like wise if you put up a bird feeder. Most of them see this as a challenge — a problem to be solved. It makes for good entertainment but a messy patch of ground under an empty bird feeder.

I’ll admit it. The times my father had a successful hunt, I ate the meat with the rest of the family. Prepare more than one per person. Not much meat per squirrel.

Neighbor’s Favorite

It’s the sort of thing her friends check for each spring.

Did she plant them again? Did last year’s crop reseed?

Either way, we all get an opportunity to enjoy. They begin, like most flowers, as tiny green things testing the spring temperatures. And then, if the spring rains cooperate, enjoy a burst of growth and stretch up, up, up.

Ah, they’ve reached it. Tendrils reach out and wrap around the wrought iron. Leaves expand.  And to the spectators, it appears that overnight the porch railing becomes a living, joyous statement.

Glory not limited to the morning.

 

After Totality

In case you’ve been hibernating — we had a solar eclipse yesterday.

From Oregon to South Carolina, the media this last week or more has been filled with information and advice for viewing. (Wear the special glasses!) Since I happen to live in one of the areas in the direct path of the eclipse, my plans were simple.

From my front door I needed to walk a matter of yards to find a spot on the lawn with a good view. Joined by other residents of my condo, we chatted and traded memories of other, partial, eclipses. The tricky part for me was photographs. Rather than risk the sensor on the camera, I turned around and got images of the shadows.

I have never seen this pattern on my sidewalk near the oak tree before.

This was taken ten minutes or less after totality.

 

Ready for Dipping

St. Louis has a weather reputation which it shares with large portions of the American Midwest.

Four seasons. Some years it feels like five or six. They’ve been known to crowd three into a single day. An allotment of three (maybe four) perfect weather days per year.

It’s currently summer. Early sunrise. Late sunset. Hot and sunny in daylight. Warm and humid in the dark. Residents learn to cope. Fans. Air conditioning. Shade. Water.

The quiet time between sunrise and opening.

Summer Seating

Walking is good for your health.

Standing can make a person tired.

So have a seat. My summer seating on the patio is simple, utilitarian.

It’s very weather dependent. On the warmer days I’ll only be out here early in the morning. Evening would be nice — but lighting gets to be a problem if I wait too late.

Chair and table are the basics. If I’m working add a laptop, pen and notebook. If it’s more leisure time, add a book. And always — a beverage on the table. Mornings are for coffee. On the three perfect days St. Louis is allowed per year – the afternoon brings out the ice water. And later, you’ll find an adult beverage in my glass.

Ready for work or leisure.                                                                                    Distractions include dashing chipmunks and acrobatic squirrels.