juxtaposition

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ocean snow

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 sunbathing, anyone?

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 black & white

Juxtaposition. Two things seen or placed together with a contrasting effect. The snow this week provided a perfect backdrop for contrast, for unexpected pairings.

Also, I love when little bits of life converge all at once, like this poem and our current weather…

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“A Hymn To Childhood” by Li-Young Lee

I’ve recently been reading more Li-Young Lee, one of my favorite poets. I found two of his collections–Behind My Eyes (which the above poem is from) and The City in Which I Love You–at the library last week.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that he’s a Chinese male, like my son, and that his lyrics feel like some sort of link to my son’s culture, which we long to preserve in some way, or the fact that he has this elegant and sensual way with words. Probably both. He is one of those poets that feel very special to me in some indescribable way.

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In any case, this poem felt like the perfect one to share today, as we are holed up in the house, the city shut down from snow…

Still talking to God and thinking the snow
falling is the sound of God listening…

What juxtapositions do you see or experience in your life lately?
What unexpected pairings?
What convergences?

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Window

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Window to San Lorenzo
watercolor on paper, 16×20

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a painting and a photograph,
a window to a world much bigger than us.

This was the view from our apartment window in Florence, Italy during the summer of 2001. I ended up painting this for our final project during our summer semester. The memory now lives in watercolor and hangs on the wall of my living room, thirteen years later. I am thankful for the way that art and photographs help us preserve the people and places that hold significance in our stories, in our small windows of the world.

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GRAND

GRAND

The summer of 2001. 5am. The front steps of the Duomo in Florence, Italy. Our bodies are merely specks amongst the magnificence.

Though this photo was taken over ten years ago, I still look at it in awe. I know there’s a poem hidden in this picture–I suppose I’m still trying to find it.

We had been out all night, my friend Molly and I, along with a few other Americans we had met that summer. We were walking back to our apartment close to sunrise, so we decided to head towards the Arno and watch the colors from there. From the Arno, we circled back to the long corridor of the Uffizi, abandoned by tourists at this early hour, only the pigeons and cigarette butts remaining, the stoic statue faces of artists and philosophers watching us.

The Duomo was on our way home. We had never seen it so deserted. It felt scandalous to be alone with this masterpiece of art and architecture. While the city was still asleep, we frolicked on its front steps.

That summer, we began to find our place in the world. A few twenty-somethings, so small in the grand scheme of things.