Monday, March 28, 2011

identity


At some point over the weekend I was walking along Bellevue and passed that big, thoughtful-looking man who sits in his chair at the corner of Narragansett, at the traffic light, outside what is now Preservation Society Headquarters. And it occurred to me — as I stood there waiting for the "walk" signal — that I had no idea who he was. Is.

That happens a lot, actually; there are so many all-too-familiar statues and structures (and people!) around & about town whose history is a mystery. To me, anyway.

The big man's identity was easy enough to determine, as a name appears handsomely/prominently below his big boot. Except that's not who he is. I should have known better. I should have looked harder. I should have thought harder about the two initials that appear after the name — J.Q.A. Ward, SC — indicating John Quincy Adams Ward was the sculptor, not the subject. A significant sculptor, as I learned (thanks to Wikipedia) after I got home from my walk. That's probably why his is the name set in stone so visibly at such a visible corner, i.e., the artist is a real somebody ...

So the question remains: Who is the man??

I headed out to the intersection again this morning for an answer. It had to be there, right?? But only after cutting through the bushes onto the Preservation Society's front lawn (which made me feel like a bit of a trespasser) could I find it. There on a tiny plaque, in the back, at the base of the big man's chair, below the bronze fringe, is the name August Belmont. He was/is a very big deal in his own right, in his own day, as I learned (thanks to Wikipedia again) after I got home with statue-on-the-brain for the second time in as many days.

And along the way, I passed another big man I've passed more times than I can count: Commodore Matthew Perry, standing tall in Touro Park. His sculptor, as evidenced by the name below his sword, was .... guess who??







Wednesday, March 23, 2011

snow?



I knew when I was riding my bike around Ocean Drive at some point last week (without mittens!) that spring wasn't really here. It always teases. Stops and starts. Comes and goes. The days seem to be on some sort of on/off switch: blue, gray, blue, gray. Temps, too: warm, cold, warm, cold.

But snow?? That's a serious step backward. That's going a bit too far ...

So, as I sit here on a cold gray late-afternoon in late-March looking out at snowflakes (just a few, but still) drifting down, I can't help pondering that erstwhile ride. The warmth. The sights: boats, geese (they're everywhere), assorted visitors on seaside benches looking out toward familiar profiles such as Horsehead, Clingstone and a few other things that define the landscape/seascape as time and tide sweep past. There are sounds, too — most notably wind in my ears. That's pretty much all one hears when riding a bike. Then there was that other rider headed in the opposite direction somewhere around Hazard's Beach who said to me, as he passed, "I like your outfit."

I almost said "thank you" before realizing it was a joke. He was wearing exactly the same thing as I: black wind pants, day-glo green jacket ...

Which brings to mind another bike ride a few days earlier and another rider who passed me closer to town — where Coggeshall becomes Spring. I said to him, though I'm pretty sure he passed too fast to hear it, "I like your optimism."

He was in shorts ....










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Monday, March 14, 2011

salvation


I pass by the Salvation Army on Memorial with some frequency, and I try to garner inspiration from what's posted there. Really, I do. But sometimes I have trouble, especially when real-life occurrences seem so far beyond comprehension. Beyond benevolence. Beyond meaning, even. Sad to say, I relate somewhat better to the other Salvation: Salvation CafĂ©, on Broadway. But that didn't help much when last I visited — no salvation, however fleeting, to be found in teriyaki salmon and crispy spinach — as the place was closed. Chairs upside down on tables; nothing but reflections in the windows. Salvation had its last night (last supper?) not long ago, not sure when, though signs do indicate it'll be back. Sure hope so. Meanwhile, what to make of everything that's happened and keeps happening?? Where to go with it?? Where to go ...




Saturday, March 12, 2011

today


Hmmm, what to say??
Today is/was St. Patrick's Day,
in terms of the parade anyway ...



















OK, so the sight of a guy in a kilt made me tilt ... or, um, sway??
Compared to last year (click here), it was a pleasant day by the bay.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

yesterday


In the time it took me to grab a cup of coffee this morning — at "A" Market (as opposed to "B" Market?) on Bellevue — it turned into a nice day. Which reminded me that yesterday was a nice day ....

I'd been feeling a little lonely, especially as Mr. Betty was out-of-town on business all week, thus felt the need to get out and do something. Something that meant something. Something (other than grabbing a cup of coffee) that might inject energy into my existence. Something like taking a walk.

So I headed to the Norman Bird Sanctuary, just 'cause I hadn't been there in a while. Wait, come to think of it, I was there a week or two ago, but my walking partner & I were so engrossed in conversation that I barely noticed my surroundings, which when we're talking Hanging Rock are decidedly worth noticing. Anyway, back to yesterday, just as I was heading out behind the NBS barn toward the trails — seeking a do-over, I suppose, of my less-than-conscious visit a few weeks prior — I ran into a friend whose son went to school way back when with Darling Daughter. This friend, who works at the sanctuary, was with a dog — unleashed! This surprised me, as dogs are not allowed at the sanctuary. They'd scare off the birds, right? But this dog lives at the sanctuary, my friend explained. Furthermore, this was a sweet dog (to the extent that excuses bending the rules) who came right over and gave me a few licks. Which makes everything OK as far as I'm concerned. He/she was mid-to-big in size, yellow-orange in color, orange collar to match, nice white stripe down its forehead and nose, the only issue being mismatched eyes. One of them was entirely white or too-light blue or something slightly disarming to look at, though — judging from this dog's alacrity and acuity (with licks, among other things) — it seemed to function just fine.

I finally set off down the trail. Thing is: the sweet dog/doggie followed me. My friend called out in confirmation of what was apparent, "He may follow you!" Must say, the company was welcome ...

So we walked to the pond (still frozen but with plenty of soft spots), hooked a left for The Ridges, hiked along planked boardwalks and muddy pathways generally leftward and upward onto the puddingstone, worked our way over increasingly tricky footing to the end. Doggie didn't follow me so much as accompany me. Escort me, maybe? He'd run way ahead, lag way behind, stray significantly into the woods in either direction then come racing/chasing back at breakneck (seriously!) speed threatening to take my knees/legs out from under me. At one point, he totally wiped out in the crags — was it his eyesight? At another point, he leaped off the rocks after spying some sort of animal who had let out a surprised screech (this was not a small animal) before crashing off through the woods with Doggie in hot pursuit. On repeated occasions, he stood with paws at the utmost edge of the rocks looking out over the road, the beach, the empty parking lots, the sea, the reservoir with its retreating ice, the yellow-orange fields of waving grass/reeds/whatever and seemed to consider his prospects ...

For my part, I just watched. Walked. Yelled "No, Doggie!" and "Be careful, Doggie!" a few times — to which, of course, he paid no attention. I'll admit to feeling some measure of relief upon delivering him (or did he deliver me?) safely back to Sanctuary headquarters, where I ventured inside to ask my new friend's name, which I guess I really should have asked in the first place: Mango.
















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