Sauntering into resilience


Sauntering integrates resonance, rhythm and rejuvenation – a walking meditation connecting us to our environment. As Lady Bird Johnson said, “My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth.”

When we flow in rhythm with the trail, awakening our senses to the life around us, we are rejuvenating. In gratitude, we share healing energy with the earth. Spring flowers become dewberries in the fall, reflecting the organic process of unfolding and ripening that also applies to projects and resolving problems.

wild onion

This wild onion springs forth from a hole in the rock – undaunted, zesty, pink, flourishing – resilient.

I felt resilient, resonating with the color and fragrance of so many, gorgeous wildflowers.

These tough cacti pushing bright green shoots from their dry, winter skin speak to the power of regeneration. Resonating with the vibrant energy of Spring brings joy in the transformation of browns and grays into rainbows of red, green, blue, pink, white, yellow, purple and orange flowers.

As temperatures rise, our dormant friends come out to play. Athena the owl returns to her nest at the Wildflower Center to raise her owlets. To everything, there is a season.

Luminations at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

If it’s holiday enchantment you’re seeking, look no further than Luminations. Beginning with an ethereal performance by the Blue Lapis Dancers, thousands of luminarias and colorful mood lights illuminate the garden paths at the Wildflower Center. Dancers performing Oneness of Being.

Festive food and drinks are available for children of all ages at stations sprinkled throughout the gardens, including build your own s’mores. It was misty when I went, but that only added to the magic, evoking memories of snowy street scenes and hearth fires to warm the cockles of anyone’s heart.

One more chance to see this Winter Wonderland tonight and to support the good work of the Wildflower Center.

Art for the People lights up SoFi

The People have Spoken
As the season of giving draws near, a lunch stop and shop at SOCO’s quirky cousin, South First Street offers a refreshing alternative to the swarms of scooters on Congress and the usual suspects at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.  Next to Fresa’s and a block down from Sway, Art for the People offers something for everyone. Gallery owner, Deanna Serra has succeeded in her mission to create a welcoming space for artists to thrive in the heart of South Austin. Lynnie Goodman,  gallery director and artisan market mavin, magically weaves a vibrant array of art and designer crafts. Hats off to the fine flow of the exhibit and celebration of local talent. Do yourself a favor and saunter over to SOFI for a shop and stop during the holidays. The welcome pugs highly recommend it and saunteringarts photo cards are available for a very modest sum. All the more reason to support this woman run, locally sourced enterprise!

Fortlandia at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Sauntering the new Fortlandia exhibit at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center brought back memories of all the trees I spent  my childhood in. Take your inner child out for a play date, the exhibit will be up through February. Opening Saturday, September 29th through February, 2019.

Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art at the Blanton

Walking into the Blanton, walls alive with Australian Aboriginal art,  one enters into a multidimensional conscious, dreaming and ancestral energy landscape. The images compel the body to enter into the dreamtime.  It’s one of the most vibrant collections I’ve seen, showing through September 9th.  If you go to one art exhibit this year, see this one!

From the Blanton

“The word landscape, derived from the Dutch landschap (region or tract of land) and first recorded in 1598, describes a way of depicting the natural world developed by European artists. Australian Aboriginal artists offer an entirely different vision, in which they forgo Western conventions of horizon lines and figure-ground distinctions. Instead, they give form to their mental maps of sites. The new version of landscape painting was most famously practiced by artists in Papunya, a government settle for displaced Aboriginal groups. In 1971, artists there began painting walls boards, and canvases to educate outsiders about their land and the obligation of “caring for country.” This defiance of government policies that forced people into artificial communities and taught children to ignore their ancestors sent shock waves through Australia.

Papunya artists painted swiftly and retained a commitment to secrets embedded in their system of learning. Their innovation helped spawn a modern art movement in Austraila. The resulting paintings “represent” the desert in ways that maintain the artists’ control over what is seen and what can never be revealed. While many of the sacred symbols and stories in the paintings may be explained to audiences outside the community, some remain accessible only to the individual, kinship groups, or peoples who share a particular Dreaming, an ancestral realm comprising spiritual beings, governing laws, and their narratives.”

SOBRO – keeping it real in South Austin The Barn and Sam’s Town Point

SOBRO (South Brodie) is sprouting some legit “old Austin” venues. For those who have seen the decades transform our fair town, I take pleasure in reporting  two of these  Austintatious spots. Evangeline’s deserves a shout out as well, but that’s a story for another day. I’ve been watching The Barn develop into an intriguing music and food trailer haven. Last Sunday they offered a Bluegrass Scramble and Garage Sale with some tantalizing new food trucks.

Soul of a Hick, serving fresh fried chicken and fish accompanied by flavorful side dishes, has been garnering rave reviews for a year. The latest additions, Parisian Crepes and Chico Jr.  BBQ are right at home among the rustic picnic tables. I was torn between the sweet and savory crepes, made with wholesome, fresh ingredients. I opted for the Pesty Chicken, which was scrumptious and satisfying.  Our chefs, Sigi and Roger tempted me with dessert, another time.

With several outdoor seating areas, a bar, barn and food trucks, it’s a South Austin must see and taste.

Sam’s Town Point is another recommended sound and taste experience. I’ve enjoyed the music and the classic dive bar ambiance and am looking forward to sampling the retro supper club menu, courtesy of Cucina Serafina. The food is not offered every day, so check their FB page. Sam’s bookings are diverse and parking is good. The trip down Riddle Road alone is a tribute to keeping it weird in South Austin. Here are two favorites from my recent visits. Snaps for the Charlie Christians who got Bruce and Tanya from Colorado dancing. I asked them how they found out about the band and they said they just asked people on the street where a good place to dance was and here they were.

Speedy Sparks and the Koolerators play weekly, featuring the venerable Speedy Sparks, Larry Lange, Steve Wheeless, Grady Pinkerton and guest artist Eve Monsees in this Bo Diddley tribute.

SOBRO, it’s Austintatious.

Vaudeville @ the Harry Ransom Center

Vaudeville: novelty, naughtiness, noir at the HRC

Vaudeville broke sexual, gender, racial and cultural taboos and continues its evolution today in performances by Colbert, on Saturday Night Live and in many live venues worldwide. I was also struck by it as an early prototype of the internet – browsing  an oddball collection of incidental entertainment.

Comedian George Gordon Fuller created the Vaudeville Managers Association, or White Rats Union, originally open only to white impresarios.  As the demand grew and the shows evolved, women and black entertainers started circuits and shows of their own. Both white and black actors used black face and minstrel formats, some black artists ironically.  You can see some of the musicians and stars who progressed into the movie and TV era with much more power than their Vaudeville predecessors.

Drag shows are nothing new. Few performers had careers that were as vaunted and long lasting as drag sensation Vander Clyde/Dora Kallmus from Austria, known internationally as Barbette.

Sex, music, magic, comedy and drama still exert their fascination.  The exhibit is up until July 15th. Go see the show!

Sauntering the Austin Central Library

I’ve been looking forward to seeing the new Central Library, an evolutionary leap into the future of community reading and reflection.  To get the most from my visit, I walked from the hike and bike trail, a luxury I truly enjoy.

There is always construction in downtown Austin, an eager beaver metropolis bent on eliminating the very things that made it so delightful.  The new Central Library, however, is an investment in our collective soul.  It’s shiny and new, but mindful of our need to find a shared sanctuary.  This is  a cathedral of libraries, a stadium among warehouses. The reading rooms are varied, the design flows aesthetically and there are good reading nooks everywhere.

Art and music spaces and rooms to write and collaborate are sprinkled throughout. The Lance Letscher and the Armadillo Art Squad exhibits were authentically weird and brought back fond memories of great Austin eras in music and art.

With so many nooks and crannies to explore, the Austin Central Library is a perfect place to rediscover your joy in reading.  For many screen junkies, this will be a great way to fall in love with a good book and get off the endless cycle of bad news.  Saunter over, it’s a beautiful day.