I’m lost and I wish I were found, in the arms of My Darlin’ Hometown…

Alan LeQuire’s bronze and limestone sculpture presides over the Music Row Roundabout in my hometown of Nashville, intended to convey “the importance of music to Nashville”.  If you know much about my beloved South, you will understand that those easily offended (they’re naked!) called for its removal at its installation in 2003.  We all calmed down eventually, or at least got tired of shouting about it, and these days it is a mostly beloved iconic figure representing music in all its forms (we have a wonderful symphony too).  I love music, and many of my posts feature lines from songs I particularly enjoy and/or find relevant.  A case in point would be My Darlin’ Hometown, a song by the great John Prine that speaks to those of us who live far away from home.  My hope is that anyone interested might dig a little deeper, check out the music in question, or even better buy a song or a CD and give it a listen…you waste more money than that driving driving around every day, and music is much more fun!  (30 March, 2010  Nashville, TN)

On the road again…

Today’s world is, for the most part, mapped-out and sign-posted to a fare-thee-well.  You can still get lost if you work at it, and I can recommend some woods in Norway if such is your desire, but the days of setting out literally into the great unknown are behind us here on Earth…and our current understanding of physics pretty well rules out human exploration of even our nearest other planets.  Thus, it’s hard to imagine the mindset of a handful of hearty Vikings who set out around 986 to establish a settlement in North America.  Yep, American schoolkids still sing songs about Columbus, but nearly five hundred years earlier a bunch of guys in furry nightgowns and funny hats beat his expedition to the New World.  Columbus at least had the magnetic compass and dead-reckoning to help him wander across the Atlantic.  No one knows for sure what tools the Vikings employed during their voyage to God-knows-what, but there is speculation that they took caged crows along with them…once released the crow would presumably fly towards the nearest land and Leif and the boys would toodle along after.  I don’t know whether to think they were immensely brave, or just lacked better options back home, but crows??? I get cranky when my GPS doesn’t know road names in Greece (the Greeks don’t seem to sure either)…guess I would probably have stayed on the porch while the Viking big dogs were out on the prowl!  The image below was shot on a hike with friends in western Norway, the trail being marked in the usual Norwegian fashion.  (15 August, 2011  Preikestolen, Rogaland, Norway)

Angel flying too close to the ground…

The Ponte Sant’Angelo, also called the Angel Bridge, spans the Tiber River in Rome.  It was originally constructed by the Emperor Hadrian in 134 AD to connect the city center with his new and enormous tomb on the far bank.  Recycling being a time-honored Roman tradition, a succession of popes converted Hadrian’s resting place into a castle.  And as we learned from Dan Brown the forward-thinking Pope Nicholas III built a covered passage linking St. Peter’s to Hadrian’s tomb, for those times when a pope might need to beat a hasty retreat.  It was Bernini’s vision (though not all statues are by his hand) that five angels holding symbols of The Passion would flank each side of the bridge leading from secular Rome to sacred Vatican ground.  The threatening clouds and calm reflections on the water this day called for a classic black & white treatment.  (18 September, 2006  Tiber River, Rome, Italy)