Niagara: Refraction

Wind blows the mist halfway up Murray Street, and I’m wet with the falls before I see them. People line the railing to see the fast water crash continuously, loudly, mist flying into the bent light. Colors hover over the scene. Colors rush from the water dropping through the sunlight. A boat drives plastic-covered tourists…

ROM: VARIATIONS

ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM, TORONTO Five intersecting crystals crash into Bloor Street, and people walk by as if nothing has happened. The chaos of angles and grids, the canted planes, the force with which the perfect shapes enter the earth . . . these are not from our world. I stand and look at the impossibility…

Blaze

“Get the furniture!” Chris says. The bonfire is wide and tall. Two guys head over to the side of the carriage house and grab the two-seated rocker, rustic, mountain made. It starts to twist apart as they carry it. “You sure?” “Don’t ask her!” The two swing the rocker back and then over the fire,…

Chandelier

Tourists head through the dark ballroom for the terrace. I check the grain in the wooden walls, vertical, pointing to the tall, coffered ceiling and the grid of chandeliers—a dozen of them, with hundreds of faceted crystals beaming light. I turn myself around in the center of the space and think of dancers, chins up,…

Rock and Roll

The plaza, the pyramid, the escalators—the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wants to be important. Inside, visitors pass each other awkwardly, riding up and down. The view from the café across the tubular trusses to the gift shop below is dramatic. The costumes of living and dead inductees hang next to each other on…

Rain

The storm cloud moves in so fast that the sun is still bright to the west. When the rain starts, I head out to the deck and stand under the eave. The drops are huge, flashing light against the heavy leaves of the black walnuts. The big cloud is dramatic. Then the rainbow, faint at…

Gardens at Casa Loma: Toronto

The September gardens are lusty with oranges and reds, the burning bush, the amur maple. There—the brilliant yellow of the Katsura tree. Hydrangea tall as a man—blue, purple, white. Behind me, swaths of boltonia floating like a veil on deep green foliage. Asters, berries, mums. Great grasses everywhere—striped and spotted. I am lost on the…

Room/ View/ Delphi

“The Sea of Olives,” Bettina says as we drive through a forest of olive trees that spreads from the water right and left across the flat land and up the mountains to their tops. We ascend precariously to Delphi, and I understand what a mountain town is. My room overlooks the deep valley, the infinity…

Harbor Lights: Rafina

At dusk the hillsides that surround the harbor fade into background. I walk along the water as lights come on down the long piers and around the crescent of shops and stands. The reflections go deep into the sea, maybe deeper than the water, dissipating, finally, in some darkness. Up here, though, light everywhere, playing…

Just in Time

It’s not easy to tell how cloudy it is fifteen minutes before sunrise. “Let’s give it a shot,” I say to Gina, and we’re off in her Element to catch the sun coming up over the pastures at Graham’s, where she keeps Maddie. I watch the sky the whole drive. Even before the top edge…

Anecdote of the Arch

We’re driving I-64 for 320 miles when we get to East St. Louis and notice how this part of it, anyway, looks like any place with a Lowes and a Wal-Mart and fast food ghettos. Then suddenly in front of us the arch glows in the white sun, rising above the bridges and underpasses, taking…

Seascapes

Sit me on a beach, and I can get lost at sea for hours. The water’s ceaselessness is breathtaking. The movement reveals everything, water reflecting itself and the sky, light striking a thousand angles at once. On the deck of a small boat, I can look back at the hills rising up and the water…

Ferry to Mykonos

The steep islands move by fast, right and left. The sun is intense, pushing down on my forehead, on the deck, through the sea. The thick breeze is cool on my skin. Have I ever seen blue before? The little island off to the right . . . a perfect pyramid. Behind me, other voyagers…

Street Walk

“We’re going for a walk,” I call to John as I clip Hector to the leash. Hector is the new dog. He’s figuring the street out—analyzing smells at posts, cocking his head at distant barks, growling at squirrels and rabbits he can’t chase. My street is wide with no sidewalks, few cars. The curve past…

The Aegean at Nafplio, Greece

The walk to the public beach is up a good hill past a little market and a café, the steps to Palamidi fortress on the left. I round the top and the music drifts up with the first sight of the sea, a fast dance beat and a blue embrace. Light rain as I jog…

Treescapes

From my place down here, the big trees meet the sky in curved and zigzagged lines that mark their reach. A breeze, and the treetops trace themselves in the sky’s light, the light pouring through between leaves and branches. Some days, when the wind is feisty and the clouds are puffed up, the place where…

Cityscape: Lexington, Kentucky (#1)

Modest, downtown mostly hugs the ground, the few tall exceptions sources of pride and embarrassment. I’m easily drawn to Triangle Park, near the center, with its long curved fountain. The water is loud and colorful, a miracle framed by busy streets. It makes me happy. I try to see what color the water is, exactly,…

Honeysuckle

We’re careful to confine the twining vines to the corner of the side deck. “Better go cut back that honeysuckle,” John will say one day in the fall when he’s looking for a little something to do. Come spring, the cascade of blossoms spilling over the railing is a wonder, sweet and generous in spite…

la petite forêt

I had missed the dogs all day, so we ran across the field together as fast as we could. “Hector!” I called as he chased a squirrel into the trees, the two of them hiding in the light. I ran after him happily, losing myself in pursuit. Sometimes the light at the horizon is so white…

Old Roses

I wondered what was in the box on the porch. John had ordered yellow roses for his grandmother’s grave for her birthday. He set them on the dining table in our turquoise vase until it was time. When he got back, I told him I missed them. Next day I found yellow roses on the…

Falls at Yuko En on the Elkhorn

I’m surprised at the graffiti above me in the underpass leading to the sunken park. The long, small falls is out of place. I get down close, reach into the fast water, and it splashes on me, light everywhere. I can’t take my eyes off it. I cup my hand and rock the water back…