Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Little Fish, Big Fish, Swimming in the Water

Sunday I found it exceedingly difficult to snap a good fish foto. Were the fishes shy? Or just being koi?

The rest of Shaw's Garden was perfect for a weekend stroll. Overcast and chilly, like mid-November should be, but the blazing fall colors were still mostly in tact. The chance of rain kept some of the crowd away, leaving many pathways deserted. Makes you feel like you own the place. The Missouri Botanical Garden became my vast estate, left to me by my good friend Henry Shaw. Mine to paint, mine to roam, mine to photograph, mine to drink in until I burst with sensory overload. Someday I would like to spend a whole week at The Garden. Go there every day and take time to experience it fully. Sit on the soft carpet of needles underneath the white pines by the fountain and slowly drift off. Or write down every plant along the dry river bed planting, deciding which to try at home. Or wade through the tall prairie grass that's as high as an elephant's eye. Or sit and read in the Linnean House soaking in that hyper-oxygenated air that all those camillias give off. Or maybe just plunk down my quarter for a handful of fish chow and feed those shy fish.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Autumn Pool is Cool

This bench, strewn with the color of autumn, was irresistible on a warm Saturday at Laurmier Sculpture Park. Secluded, sun-dappled and smack in the middle of my favorite piece in the park: Mary Miss's Pool Complex - Orchard Valley. It's easy to spend an entire afternoon at the Pool, daydreaming about the fancy folks who went to the pool when it opened back in the early 30's. The Hedenkamp family owned an estate there and in 1934 converted an old pond into the "delightful pool" as reported by the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. The pool was huge. Is huge. Freeform shape, shallow and deep, shaded by trees, a fabulous crumbling relic of time past. Mary Miss saw all this and more in the dry concrete basin with rock walls and pillars. Her installation sprawls gracefully over the entire area with trellises, walkways, benches, platforms and decks. It makes the imagination run wild. And the ghosts are happy. I'm happy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Falling Leaves

Finally the leaves are turning. Pretty odd for the best fall color to arrive in St. Louis the first week of November, but I guess we'll have to get used to it. Earlier this week my friends and I were waxing nostalgic over autumns past. I remember riding in a homecoming parade in high school, early October, full sun of the afternoon, freezing in a black leather jacket. At the football game that night we bundled up in blankets and could see our breath. These past few years I've been in shorts and a tank top picking a tomatoes and basil the first week of October. This year the basil, the most tender of herbs, lasted outside until November 5th. Unheard of here. As much as the shorter days depress me, a short warm day is just disconcerting. I don't know how folks who live South and West do it. How can you feel like baking cookies or Christmas shopping when it's 70 degrees outside. Guess it's just what you grow up with.