Goodbye Havana

Our trip to Cuba ended much as it began. We were overwhelmed by the beauty and the poverty of this tiny island nation.  But now, after months of preparations, days filled with visual images we will never forget, and photographs that will end up in posts far into the future, it was finally time for us to pack our bags for the journey home.

As we were preparing our bags Saturday night for an early morning departure, I watched the hustle and bustle of Havana.  Neither the city’s great beauty, nor its decay, were visible in this nighttime shot.  Left to admire is just the vibrancy of the city.

It was a memorable experience.  While our visit only touched the edges of this wonderful country, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience its rich culture, wonderful people and incredible beauty.

If you haven’t experienced Cuba, put it on your bucket list!

Summer Fun and Rose Beauty

It is a gorgeous day.  The temperature is well within the range of comfort.  Terry, Casey and I are ready to start our Sunday morning drive.  Casey is anxious.  He unfailingly knows that it is Sunday and rushes us as much as he can, barking and running around at our feet.

For such a beautiful day, I thought I would share with you an image of a rose in full, incredible bloom.

Have a great day!

Send me dead flowers

In their 1971 album, Sticky Fingers, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones encouraged their audience to “Send me dead flowers”.  Other artists also have written about dead flowers.  There are even bands named Dead Flowers–Joe Getty & The Dead Flowers, David Yellen Band & The Dead Flowers and a fun rock band simply named “Dead Flowers”.

They obviously weren’t talking about this particular flower.  But they could have been!

So dead head your flowers if its time, but don’t forget to stop and appreciate the beauty of a dead flower.

Closer to Heaven or Hope Interrupted

As I was driving through East Kansas City I came upon this beautiful, but broken, church.  While the glass is gone from the window, even empty it is elegant and powerful.  The gothic architecture is in some ways reminiscent of the finest cathedrals in Europe.  The church spire still points to the sky.

I do not know what caused its destruction, whether it was simply a result of neglect, vandalism or fire.  Even in ruins it symbolizes for me hope, loss and the potential for renewal.  For a moment in time, it suggests a portal between the heavens and earth.  But I know in my heart that this lovely building is lost forever.

Night views of the Country Club Plaza

The Country Club Plaza is always beautiful.  The seasons of the year and the time of day significantly impact the images that we see.  These photographs were taken late in the evening, just after the sun set, but before it was completely dark.  (These scenes are best viewed with your brightness setting on high.)

From the Fountain of Bacchus Sculpture, located at the Chandler Court at 47th & Wyandotte, is made of 10,000 pounds of cast lead.

The architecture throughout the Plaza is inspired by the architecture of Seville, Spain.

Night view of Broadway Bridge and Brush Creek, on the Country Club Plaza

The Statute of Ruth, representing the Biblical Ruth, is located at 48th & Wyandotte.  It is formed from white Carrara marble.

Unexpected Beauty While Strolling “Somewhere Else”

I love Italy.  Our trip to Northern Italy was filled with wonderful sights and smells and sounds.  In the presence of the massive buildings dating back hundreds of years, it was easy to be oblivious to the beauty of simple things.  On my return home, I realized that many of my favorite photographs are along the streets and neighborhoods we passed through on our way “somewhere else”.

The towns through which we travelled are ancient.  Civita di Banoregio, for example, was founded by Etruscans over twenty-five hundred years ago.  There are Etruscan and Roman ruins everywhere.  But for this post, just look at the construction of this wall.  You can see the seemingly primitive, but obviously durable, methods of erecting these walls and this archway.  Raw, enduring, but beautiful, nonetheless.

Houses and streets are built primarily of stone, concrete, stucco nd mortar.  There is evidence of generations of foot traffic. We walked by this hallway in an area of private residences. Like many neighborhoods in Northern Italy, heavy exterior doors open into hallways and common courtyards with plants, bicycles–a favorite method of transportation–and concrete benches.  I love the muted colors leading up to the splash of red.

The path on which Terry is standing goes nowhere.  Throughout the area, towns stand atop hills that plunge almost straight down to the valleys below.  Here the stone wall and wrought iron fence protect travelers from the edge of one of Umbria’s many cliffs.

I love the flags and banners that line this street.  They add just enough color to be fun to the stone and stucco buildings. The banners are important to the culture of many communities, are important in celebration and festivals.  There is even a sport/art requiring the tossing of the banners high into the air and–hopefully–catching them before they fall.

The red and green flowers follow the road from the first door on the right through to the turn in the road.  The massive walls dwarf the red door and the color simply disappears in a vee running through the middle of the photograph encourages the explorer to follow the bend in the road to the next adventure.  It is evident these streets are used primarily by pedestrians, bicycles and motor scooters rather than automobiles and trucks.

Many of the towns through which we walked were older than we could ever find in the States.  It is often difficult to assess whether the residents lived affluent or simple lives, the exteriors of the buildings were uniquely appealing, made more so by the profusion of geraniums of every hue.

Locals described to us that some families lived in homes that had been in their families for generations.  This home appeared to be quite luxurious with elegant touches in the arches, doors, crest on the wall and what appears to be a private garden through the stairway and door in the left corner of the wall.  The ivy softens the harsh stone and balances the shades of muted reds, yellows and greens that harmonize with the lavender on the doors and windows.

For me these photographs bring back memories of a great trip.  I hope they convey some sense of the simple beauty of the hill country.

Today is a Beautiful Day

It is a beautiful day.  Well, it is rainy and cool, but beautiful, nonetheless.  KU’s defeat is in the past.  We rejoice that Ku made it to the finals, although I am sad that MU did not.  Terry and I are Planning a great 4+ days with Meg, Jake and the greyhounds.

To all of our friends and followers we hope you have a day as beautiful as this picture.