Chattanooga, February 2013

My husband and I went to Chattanooga (my hometown) to celebrate his birthday this year.

A view from the Art District, downtown Chattanooga.



A glorious sunset. Near the Hunter Art Gallery.




The glass bridge.

The horse made of driftwood.

Now on Missionary Ridge, crossing the South Crest bridge. This was part of my regular walking path when I lived here. chatt22

Seen on the way. They were digging up the sidewalk and putting in underground pipe.

A manhole on the way.


A survey marker.

The steps to a Civil War memorial park.

While there.

I’m a little freaked out by the apparent young age of the soldier.

A neat marker.

The neighbors of the park have a deck that is cantilevered.

And they have built a playhouse for their child. I’m a little envious of it.

A view from the park a little further on. There was a house here, and it started to slide down the side of the ridge. The city took down the house and put in a little park instead. It was my destination point, and a nice place to rest. I wanted to show it to my husband.

More moss!

Back at Bragg’s Reservation. I played here a lot as a child. I’m not happy about this new building.

There was a school here. It became a museum, and then it was abandoned. The building burned down one day. They removed all the debris over time. I played here – around and over all of this, in all the incarnations, for much of my life. This was essentially my back yard. I had heard that there was a clause in the deed to the land that said the land could only be used for educational purposes, so to see housing here is disturbing. At least the building is in keeping with the aesthetic of the place.

You really can’t ever go home again. It just isn’t the same.

Retreat photos (September 2013)

These were taken at the retreat I went to in September at the Sisters of Mercy convent in Nashville.

Here is the Sisters of Mercy cross that is the first thing you see when you go into your room.

Getting further into the room, there are large closets and a chest of drawers.

Panning further left
My room has my bear sitting on my bed. His name is Arthur. I think life is better with a bear.

Going all the way into the room, looking back towards the door.

Panning right. There is a nice little writing desk by the bed. Say Hello to Arthur!
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A sweet picture of Mary and Jesus is over the writing desk.

The bathroom is near the door. It is just big enough.
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Then, a few pictures from in the center itself.
The main chapel.

In the small chapel – our theme for the retreat. “Boat Time with Jesus” (See Luke 8:22-25)
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I love how the Sisters who live there treat the small chapel as if it is their home. (It is, actually.) Here are two sets of rosaries they have left behind after their prayers.

Midway through the retreat they added a new candle. A candle is lit when there is blessed sacrament on the altar. The candle lasts about a week. It burns continuously.

On a hanging in one of the hallways. A good reminder. The quote is from Mother McAuley, the founder of the order.

The glory of fall.

Some beauty for you. How amazing is it that trees are at their most beautiful right before they lose their leaves?

All but the last two were taken in the park by my job, on my lunchtime walk.

These were taken last week.


Unknown. This was more beautiful from far away.

From last year. A redbud. They have beautiful bones.

Bradford pear.
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American sycamore.
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Dramatic lighting.
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These are at a nearby hospital where I go for a doctor’s appointment. The “shadows” of the leaves in the fall on sidewalks is always beautiful to me.

Here are a few more.

Beauty in brokenness

There is beauty in brokenness, in damage, in destruction.
There is something to be said for taking a second look at the discarded, the ignored, the overlooked.

These first pictures are of a single trash bin that is behind an Indian buffet in downtown Nashville. There was apparently a fire in it at one time and the paint bubbled up and then everything rusted. I love the textures and the colors that have resulted.

I encourage you to take a second look at everything, and see beauty where it is least expected.

Here is a picture of the bin from further away.


And then closer up.
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One of my favorites.

This was a sign at an old abandoned water plant in my neighborhood. The structure has been torn down and a park put here instead. I love how the sign looks like a painting of the sky, yet says “NO”

Steps in Boone, NC, near a bead store and a pottery store. An art book I was reading suggested taking pictures of cracks and then drawing random figures from them.

A rusty recycle bin near my home. This is where I take my recycling.

Grandfather Mountain – the beauty of the near and the far away

I don’t take normal pictures when I travel. I don’t take pictures of tourist spots or of myself or relatives standing in front of those tourist spots. I take pictures of things that are really tiny and hard to see unless you get right up on them, or of things that are really far away.

These first few pictures are taken on Grandfather Mountain, NC, near where we stay. I love the idea of finding beauty just outside your door.




OK. So I like lichen and moss. I like to think of it as a beautiful tiny world unto itself.




Slightly less close up, and with bluets.


A burl on a tree. It is an infection that causes unusual growth. Some woodcarvers create bowls out of burls. In this way, the tree does most of the work.


A rock that I like, even though it doesn’t have a lot of moss or lichens on it.

Then we went up to the top of the mountain. There are some wonderful far away views of the rippling waves of mountains.

Turning left.

Further left.


There is a conference center on Monteagle Mountain, in Tennessee. I am familiar with it because of the Episcopal church. I have been there numerous times over my life for retreats when I was in college and later as an adult. I love the Spanish-style courtyard. I remembered how much I loved it when I returned to it in November of 2012 for Cursillo. I regret that I didn’t take pictures then, because when I returned in April for a different retreat they had dug up my favorite tree in the center of the courtyard and also hacked away at two others. It was rather sad looking. The only advantage was that it made it easier to see the beautiful buildings.

I know that the conference center is open to groups other than those affiliated with the Episcopal church. This gives me hope, because I would like to go there again. The rooms aren’t great, but the ambiance is pretty amazing. The food is very comforting and filling, with a very kind and pleasant kitchen staff.

This is the first view I normally have of the courtyard. This is just off the foyer from the main entrance.


Panning right.


A little further right.

A view of the same area at a different time of day, standing out and further to the right.

Turning from that area to the left.

This is taken a little further to the side and back, and shows the corner that I was standing in to take the first pictures. I love this view, and saw it every morning on the way to breakfast, as the meal hall is in the building to the far left.


Now I’m standing where the arches are, so I’m at the end of the walkway away from the entrance to the courtyard. The dining hall is straight ahead. At the far left is the area I was standing to take the last picture.

Panning right.


Turning around, looking at the arches.


Turning further right. I love these angles.

Stepping back, and looking further right.

Now, let’s step into the arches, and turn with our left shoulder facing the entrance to the courtyard. In the fall, the maple tree at the end of this area is glorious.

Then, turning around, the entrance to the main chapel and a classroom that is above it, called “The Upper Room”.

There are a lot of little foyers on the way to the classroom and the chapel, and outside, to the left of one is this interesting sculpture. Sadly, I’ve forgotten who he is. I don’t think he is Dubose.

Here he is straight on.

If you go further left you’ll see the covered walkway to one of the dorms. They are exactly like 1950’s Holiday Inn hotel rooms.

Standing on that walkway, with my back to the dorm rooms.

I hope you have enjoyed our little tour, and that you get a chance to go.

Evolution of a sinkhole

We have a sinkhole on the land that the library is on. The prevalence of sinkholes is possibly why the family that owned the land donated it to the city rather than selling it. There is a really cool area just past the parking lot that serves as a sort of drain for the area. Heavy rains pour into it, and then sink down. There is a lot of limestone in this section, and trees grow up around it and protect it from (some) erosion.

But then there are other areas away from it that are developing subsidence. There are small sinkholes developing. I’ve taken pictures of one area over time, and just now thought to put a few of them here. I’ll try to keep an eye on it and add more to this story as it develops.

The first time I noticed the extra sinkhole, they had put a barricade around it. They roped it off to prevent people from accidentally falling into it while they got an engineer to figure out what to do.

This is what was decided.

They put a huge tarp in it, and drop boulders into it. The idea was not only to plug up the hole but to prevent more dirt from washing away. They had at least twenty boulders to put in it. It was an all-day event. I’m glad saw this going on because it was pretty cool.

This lasted about a year. Then they had to add more rocks on top of the area, as it had sunk down. They are smaller than the first batch. Here’s the “after” shot.

That was about six months ago. That too has started to subside.