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Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Cultivated Enriched Heart

A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart.
Frank Lloyd Wright

I have been a docent at Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House here in Los Angeles for a year now.   It's a great gig because I get to meet people from all over the globe.  I always ask the tour guests how far they've traveled just to find out who is from where.  The list of countries is long now but it is always a thrill to hear accents and chat about weather, air flights, food--you name it.   Oftentimes, I meet architects.  I love having them because there is the chance to learn more than I teach.

Say what you will about Frank and yes, I've read the books and know the details about his life nonetheless I am still blown away by his creative ideas.  This particular house displays the idea of compression and expansion in architecture. Compression and expansion, in addition to playing with space, creates drama. Built for Aline Barnsdall who was involved in theatre, drama no doubt had a particular appeal.

The front entryway narrows down to a cozy protective space.  It is designed to frame views of the city below.  For me, this functions like constantly changing paintings.

The two cast concrete front doors open to a foyer with a low ceiling.  They each weigh 250 lbs but open easily because they are on pivots.  Aline Barnsdall joked that she needed three boys and two men just to open her front door.  Or was it three men and two boys?  Either way, every time I open the doors and people step inside, I hear gasps of surprise at the beauty that presents itself.  Even after my year of dedication and love for this house, I have no photos of the interior because photography is forbidden.  I do, however,  have beautiful images in my mind's eye because I have walked these spaces so often.  It enriches my heart to walk these rooms.

            "The space within becomes the reality of the building." 
                                                Frank Lloyd Wright

There is so much more to tell about the house, about the architect and about the woman who hired him.  But I will leave that for another post.  I will leave you with  this: The fireplace alone is an astonishing work of art in and of itself that looks as fresh and intriguing today as it did 91 years ago when it was created.
                               Even the planters are beautiful!

Monday, March 14, 2011

For Today, Monday, March 14, 2011

Outside my window...The oak trees are offering up tiny delicate new leaves to Lady Spring.
I am thinking...that I have so very much to do but that I love my day so far.
I am thankful for...the people in my life who continue to love me.  I am thankful  for their safety and well being when others are so distressed.
From the kitchen...came three perfectly poached eggs with the most vibrant yellow yolks.
I am standard uniform of black shorts and a black shirt with my nifty new workout shoes.
I am creating...intention for myself with my new blog.
I am take all the time I need to get things done.
I am reading...Still Life With Chickens by Catherine Goldhammer 
            and Stieg Larsson:Our Days In Stockholm by Kurdo Baksi
I am hoping...that things begin to take a turn for the better for my family and for the world.
I am hearing...some tiny baby sparrows under mder the eaves of my house.  They started begging for food two days ago and their poor mama and papa must be exhasued by now.
Around the is very still and sweet as the day stretches toward the late afternoon.
One of my favorite my little dog curled up here beside me as I type.
A few plans for the rest of the week:  deepen my commitment to making my body stronger and more capable by going to the gym.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...This photo is from the south of England.  I found it on the wall of a tithe barn last October.  A tithe barn is where the landlords stored the tithes from those who farmed his land.  Oftentimes the tithes were produce because the farmers had no money.  I visited several of these tithe barns throughout the region and for me, they were magical places.  I especially love the intersecting circles that represent intersecting lives as people came and went from the barn.  

The idea for today's post comes from The Simple Woman's Daybook website.  I do not yet know how to include all the pertinent info and link for them but I will work on figuring it out.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bird. Egg. Feather. Nest.

I grew up in a family that loved birds.  Loved them.  Bird. Feather. Egg. Nest.  All of it still fascinates me. The most birds I've ever kept totaled about 65.  I used to breed small colorful finches with the goal of mutating their colors.  It was heady stuff I tell you.  Never knew exactly what was going to come out of an egg.  I particularly liked a soft powdery blue mutation.  It was like a sigh made tangible in tiny feathers.

And then one day, it all just went cold on me.  I stood in my yard and looked at the birds in my aviary and then I looked at the birds in the oak tree over the aviary and I realized that I was caging the most free of all animals.  My birds could fly over the mountain range just north of my home if I'd only give them the chance.  Sure, they were well fed and might have lived a longer life than if they'd been in the wild.  But it made me sad to realize that I was limiting their lives to some wire and perches when the whole of the sky could and should belong to them.   I am now down to three birds.  One, Zane,  is an African Grey who sadly can never be introduced to the open skies.  The other two have injuries that limit them to a cage.  Together.  Two old gals who cuddle each night.

This blog is named for a little blue bird who stole my heart.  She loved me and would fly from where ever I placed her to land on my shoulder.  She had to be near me.  Endearing as that might be, it wasn't natural avian behavior.  She lived a long life and is now buried under the calla lilies out front.

I don't breed or purchase birds any longer.  I love to see them in nature.  Where they happily belong.

Image from Chalk It Up Pasadena
Post title taken from book by Maryjo Koch Collins Publishers San Francisco 1994