Monday, July 29, 2013

Horses and Ponies

If you were to have asked me, when I was a little girl, what my favorite animal was, my response would have been the horse. Never mind that I was rarely around horses or that I had ridden maybe once. But I loved them. What is that about?

As for the character of the horse, their combination of strength and beauty is appealing. Their loyalty to people and sense of work ethic is amazing. The air of majesty that they carry with them is humbling.

And as for the lines, the graceful curves of the back and the legs and the carefree flow of the tail and mane are in juxtaposition to the bold outlines of the musculature. It’s a dichotomy found in much of nature, but one in the horse that strikes me in particular.

What of these ponies, these Shetlands? They are boisterous, playful, and pretty sassy! They have the same gorgeous lines, just smaller. But their character, as with most smaller creatures, seems to scream, “I am bigger than life! See?!” And they promptly try to eat your camera bag. At least, that was my experience.

Here are some Texas beauties I’ve found along the way. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Crepe Myrtle, Crape Myrtle, Crapemyrtle

Spell it how you like! To the chagrin of many an editor, I’m sure, there is no hard and fast rule about how to spell the name of this most unusual and prolific tree of the South. I am going to choose the “crepe” option myself, because its colorful blossoms resemble that of “crepe” paper.

Originally from China and other Asian countries, the crepe myrtle thrives in the heat. It was brought to South Carolina by Andre Michaux, French/royal botanist to King Louis the XVI. (And if you’re interested in the topic, look up Andre Michaux’s biography; he led quite an interesting life at an interesting time in American history.)

For me, coming to Texas from the canopy of New England trees was shocking because there are no trees to speak of here, at least not in the part of Texas I live. But this particular breed has struck a note with me and I can’t tear my eyes away from them. Though the vibrant colors of the blossoms are wonderful, the parts of this tree which engage me are the trunk and limbs.

There is something very human about the body of this tree. It is muscled and smooth like flesh. It dimples and wrinkles and folds. It has elbows and joints, sinews and varied tones. Some trees appear as though they are sculpted in clay. Others, at the base, look like melted candle wax.

And then, like snakes, they shed their skin. And they drop their colors on the ground, making us to walk through leftover party favors.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Life of the City

If people make a community, buildings make the city. People rarely change, but societies grow, and with it, technology and the things we build.

Architecture matters.

What do you look for in a community? Work, sure. You have to make a living; it would be great to work in a cool building (literally and figuratively – I’m writing this from Texas, HOT capital of the world). Restaurants. Bars. Churches. Entertainment. Arts. Culture. All of these needs and wants are built around the communities humans create, and voila! Architecture.

It’s fun to look at cities, to see how the old mixes with the new. How banners and flags go up on main streets giving them a circus-like feel. How lines, trees, curves and air all play together to create an “essence”. Some feel inspired, some feel playful, some are majestic and others are downright dirty.

Cities show the outward expression of humanity. They show us who we are.