Time revealed in a Taihu Rock

The San Antonio Museum of Art welcomed a stunning new 6.5 ton installation, a gift from Chinese sister city, Wuxi. Taihu limestone rocks are formed over millennia by water, wind, heat and cold. Scholars meditated on the twisted, porous forms as early as the 6th Century, where they remain a presiding presence in gardens today. Its placement by the Riverwalk highlights the connection of San Antonians to Nature and strengthens their bond to the city of Wuxi.

I was fascinated by the labyrinthian convolutions in the limestone, worn and grooved over thousands of years. It immediately struck me as a three dimensional embodiment of time. In one object, we can see the movement of eons and imagine the lives thousands of people who reflected on the Taihu. I’m looking forward to having a chance to mediate with fewer distractions the next time I see it.

SAMA’s Elegant Pursuits: the Arts of China’s Educated Elites 1400 – 1900 is offered in conjunction with the installation of the Taihu rock, reflecting the creative aesthetic of artists and literati, who often collected archeological objects and mediated on their deep connection to Nature.

SAMA has several great exhibits up through the end of the year, including Victorian Radicals: from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Craft Movement, which I’ll be seeing soon. On a very different note, I can’t resist ending this post with a splash of dazzling, Chihuly color, new to SAMA. 

Harvesting Gratitude

Autumn in Central Texas can be fickle, flirting with summer and unexpectedly plunging into Winter. But there is no escaping the beauty of Fall. (open for full effect)

October blows into Austin in fire and waves.

Monarchs float through Central Texas, sipping on nectar with many bees and butterflies enjoying their own harvest.

The Austin Pow Wow is always something to look forward to in early November, though I preferred the South location to the Expo Center.

Autumn is here and I am grateful. We share an amazing, beautiful world with all the creatures of the earth. No better time to take good care of our home and one another.

Fortlandia 2019 – reflections in a sauntering eye

The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center extends last year’s inspired run of fort submissions for another season, much to the delight of many children freewheeling through the Arbor trails. It’s fun for children of all ages, as you can see in the gallery below, with all new forts to explore.

This is a small sample of the 13 uniquely designed forts, so enjoy a hands (and feet) on visit while the fall weather beckons. The exhibit will be up through January 26, 2020.

Icons of Style – HMFA

Fashion expresses an era’s Zeitgeist in a very personal and universal language. While this exhibit could have been entitled 100 years of Vogue, iconic images keep the imagination contextualizing the culture of the times, weaving together influences from advertising, art, music, literature and science.

Women were emancipated from their corsets and yards of hair in the 1920’s with the advent of flappers, who listened to jazz and broke as many feminine stereotypes as they could. Natural, almost boyish body types vied with more bodacious curvy styles over the next decades. Androgyny and gender fluidity are on the rise in the 21st Century, but have always been an important element of culture and style in every era. Psychology suggests there are both masculine and feminine elements in each of us. Sometimes they blend.

I was struck by repeating stylistic themes over 20, 30 and 40 year periods, as well as our evolving gender freedom of expression. Akwafina’s portrait was the last image in the show. Today’s It girl, she uses a sliding scale of feminine to masculine traits, depending on her character and audience. Transgender creatives are becoming increasingly influential in mainstream culture, prioritizing and refining what it means to be human. It’s really about time.

Honoring Akwasi Evans, remembering old Austin

Akwasi Evans was an East Austin activist, publisher, warrior of the beloved community and an original voice for KAZI’s Breakfast Club. He launched a community newspaper, NOKOA, in 1987 to shine a light on progressive political action in Central Texas. Known for speaking truth to power, he advocated for people of color in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods of East Austin. I attended his tribute yesterday and found a heartwarming vestige of Austin’s Beloved Community at Kenny Dorham’s Back Yard, a venue for DiverseArts productions. While the condos are creeping, music is flowing and food trucks are circling this small fortress of cool on East 11th.

For those of us who remember Austin in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, seeing an alley or a field that hasn’t been destroyed or a venue that has stood the test of time brings a rush of nostalgia. Yearning for the freedom of youth, good old days of cheap rents and eats is a way of life. Those were the daze my friends, we thought they’d never end. Glad to see a little left.

Blossoms, Bunnies and Butterflies

Very nice to be welcomed back to the Wildflower Center by this chill cottontail, who also said goodbye when I left.

June in Texas brings waves of yellow and purple wildflowers, a followup to the blues and reds of April and May. Pink is always in season.

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.