Previous month:
May 2008
Next month:
July 2008

Posts from June 2008

Draw back the better to leap


Discovering a new world that feels like part of me / Dubrovnik, Croatia / July 2001

“There are many reasons to have a holiday. Reculer pour mieux sauter, say the French: draw back the better to leap. We may want nothing but relaxation and rest. But as Sherlock Holmes knew, the best form of R&R is to do something different: a change is as good as a rest, if not better; and the best kind of change is to enter another world.”

~ Henry Shukman, To Walk a Landscape Is to Know It, Jan. 6, 2008, NYTimes

Rhythmic beach morphology


On Five Mile Beach there's lots of room for rhythmic beach morphing / Wildwood, NJ / June 2008

New Jersey's many barrier island beaches are covered with clean, white, soft, quartz sand that make for comfortable walking and lounging. The beach always feels so solid — able to survive the unceasing onslaught of the waves — and yet it may be imperceptibly shifting beneath us. The theory of Coastal Morphology says that over time barrier islands naturally move across themselves toward the mainland. The theory of Rhythmic Beach Morphology says that the beach is a good place to play music or tune into the rhythms of nature or that by spending time on the beach people can morph from stressed-out automatons into tanned, relaxed beach bums (I made that up; I'm not really sure what it is, but scientists study it and I like the sound of it). Expose yourself to the rhythm of the waves and the beach and maybe you'll morph a little, too.

Good land to fall in with


In the shadow of the Wildwoods sign on Rio Grande Ave. / Wildwood, NJ / June 2008

“A very good land to fall in with — and a pleasant land to see.”

~ The first recorded description of the Island of Five Mile Beach (the present-day Wildwoods); written by the English navigator Robert Juet in 1609

Even before the English arrived, the Lenni Lenape Indians (also called the Delawares) spent summers at Five Mile Beach. They cut two trails through the dense forest (the wild woods?). One was a continuation of the mainland King Nummy Trail that began at the north end of the island and stretched southward. In the middle of the island, it met another trail that entered where the Rio Grande Bridge was eventually built (via The Wildwoods Historical Society). King Nummy was the last chief of the Unalachtigo Tribe, a branch of the Lenni Lenapes (via New Jersey History's Mysteries). Unalachtigo means “people who live near the ocean.” 

New Caeserea


By the shores of New Caeserea / Wildwood, New Jersey / June 2008

On June 24, 1664 the Duke of York (in England) granted the land between the Delaware and Hudson River in a deed that specified that it “is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Caeserea or New Jersey.”

The boundaries were specified by the Duke as:
“...all that tract of land adjacent to New England, and lying and being to the westward of Long Island, and Manhitas Island and bounded on the east part by the main sea, and part by Hudson's river, and hath upon the west Delaware bay or river, and extendeth southward to the main ocean as far as Cape May at the mouth of the Delaware bay; and to the northward as far as the northermost branch of the said bay or river of Delaware, which is forty-one degrees and forty minutes of latitude, and crosseth over thence in a strait line to Hudson's river in forty-one degrees of latitude.”

What is, or is not, ephemeral


Design with food / Washington, DC / May 2007

“In an age in which permanence requires being uploaded, digitized and exiled to microfiche, things that are considered ephemeral take on added significance. Of course, the very question of what is, or is not, ephemeral is itself something of an oxymoron: technically speaking, if you save something, how can it be ephemeral? Clearly, an abbreviated life adds to an object's essential allure, and it is probable that this very fragility reminds us, in no small way, of our own mortality. Something meant to inhabit this world briefly — a ticket stub, a butterfly wing, a cookie — will inevitably decompose before we know it. Does an intervention to extend its life render us heroic, or just mildly delusional? Making design out of something ephemeral raises this proposition to an entirely new level: on the one hand, you could easily liken such behavior to, say, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. And on the other?

Welcome to the world of foodistry: design with food.”

~ Jessica Helfand (Reflections on the Ephemeral World, Part Two: Food)

Do beautiful things


We do have beautiful things to do (celebrating 15 years) / New Jersey / June 2007

Where am I going? The high rooks call:
“It's awful fun to be born at all.”
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
“We do have beautiful things to do.”

~ A.A. Milne from “Spring Morning” (thanks to CK)

Patterns of welcome


Entrance Court on Forsyth Park / Savannah, GA / August 2006

Many older buildings have beautiful and intricate tile work in their entrances or vestibules (derived from the Latin vestibulum, i.e., “entrance court”). Colors and patterns and tiles laid at angles. It always feels so welcoming — like they've been expecting you and prepared something wonderful. Entrances make me think of “beginnings” — new jobs, houses, babies — and how we celebrate them with parties, gifts, flowers, champagne. I like to think that being welcomed into a building by a beautiful entrance is a bit like being offered a glass of champagne.

Creative summers


Simplicity Pattern 2892 / June 2008

The onset of summer and warmer temperatures makes me think back to the days of having the entire summer free and the creative projects that often filled my days. Tie-dyed t-shirts. Beaded macramé necklaces. Candles made in milk cartons using crayons for color. All types of sewing projects including a hooded pull-over sweatshirt made from a bright green stretch terrycloth. To recapture that feeling I bought some colorful soft cotton and a pattern for a top with a ruffled neckline. I've been hand-sewing it which has been interesting. When you concentrate on something creative you barely feel the heat.