Saturday, August 27, 2011
There is one constant rule for street level architecture in the “modern” world. “If there is room enough for a door, and a cash register, it’s beautiful.” That’s what I thought as I looked out the window of the Saigon Café Restaurant at the building in the parking lot, which I eventually, after the garden rolls, took a photo of. “Parking lots A and B” appears to be the name of the business. These are places on, or near, Allied Street in Charlottesville. It’s is also a location of the largest (I think) concrete plant in Charlottesville, Allied Concrete. Saigon Café is in a large concrete structure (mere coincidence) that might have been a motel once upon a time. Fortunately, after we’ve lived somewhere for a while, the environment slinks into the background and is no longer noticed. After staring at the building I realize it’s actually the back of C’ville Coffee. I guess I’ve never looked at the backside, or for that matter, the outside, because I drive over in a trance and start noticing my surroundings only after the first latte. C'ville Coffee’s front is a nicely done, “art deco” restoration.
I’ve had some dreams of parking lots, and, in these dreams, the lots stretch forever, and I’m either lost, or maybe finally home. But, no lawn chairs in sight
Saturday, August 13, 2011
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As route 250 crosses over the mountain headed west towards Waynesboro, there is something like a commercial ghost town. At the crest of the mountain, where the southern end of the Shenandoah National Park (A.K.A. Skyline Drive) passes over route 250, there is an area in which every single business (even the gas station) has closed. In the midst of this is a closed Howard Johnson, shuttered, but otherwise untouched. It looks almost like a houseboat run aground on an overgrown river bank. It is in great shape compared to the other empty buildings there. Most of the buildings are heavily painted with “tagging.” The H.J. is untouched. The roof of the building is in perfect shape. Evidently they used a ceramic tile on the roofs. All the tiles are the trademark orange (not even faded) and none are broken.
My apologies to Douglas Adams for borrowing a concept (the restaurant at the end of the universe)
Monday, August 8, 2011
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This is a night (time exposure) of “Free Bridge” which is on route 250 as it enters Charlottesville from Pantops Mountain. This was taken with a rather old 4X5 camera with a Schneider “Angulon” lens equivalent to about a 28mm wide angle on 35 millimeter film. The time exposure was not very long, about 90 seconds on Tri-x Pan at F16 .
It is called Free Bridge because it was one of the bridges that didn’t have a toll during the early years of Charlottesville. Since traveler information was scarce, private tolls could be an unpredictable element when traveling. I have no idea what the original bridge looked like.
I’ve always thought that Free Bridge is a elegant, simply designed, bridge. You do not appreciate this in the least while driving over it. All you see is the railing zipping by. Only from the river can the arched sides be seen. The night view from the side, with river reflections, and well planned lighting, is the only way to appreciate how well it fits the River. It’s difficult to find this vantage point now; as the summer weeds aren’t cut currently (one can guess that money is involved). I made an effort to find the spot, in summer heat, just a few weeks ago, and came out frustrated, soaked with sweat, and pierced with thorns. The thicket is almost impenetrable, and you don’t know exactly when you’re going to take that last step all the way down the bank into the mud.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
“Arriving at the Present Moment”
This was many years ago, in one of the many iterations of a certain bar space, in Chestertown, Maryland. I lived there for some time. This is a picture of Ron, at a slow point of the evening. This space was so many different bars over time, I'm not sure what name it was operating under when the photo was taken. Just slightly past the dinosaurs, it was "Emma's Past Time Bar." I once saw the original sign for that in a welder's workshop in a nearby town.
I lived in a second story apartment for a time, and I could see the front of this building by hanging out the window a bit.
I think the reason I like this is the way you identify with Ron's momentary immersion. You can tell he's lost in thought. We tend to be that way, until we realize that we are. I've been told that describes "arriving in the present moment" by those who practice that very act. Its the waking up.
I have a tee shirt which says "Lost in Thought, Send Search Party" on the front. Friends laugh at this, they know its the truth far too often.
Technical: 35 mm Tri-X, Canon camera and lens, developed normally in D-76
Thursday, August 4, 2011
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After I had written the short piece about trail riding the Rivanna River Trail, I realized I had links to some historical writings about the Rivanna River that are quite interesting.
The first piece is called “Sett over ye River By Chance”. The link will take you to the exact page the article starts. It’s a fascinating story about the early and later history of the Rivanna River.
The second is “The Rivanna Navigation: Almost a Canal System” which talks about the entire history of the River by discussing the changes in transport methods. In short: first you needed to cross it to get where you were going, then you started to go up and down river with goods and the like. The latter required some River improvements, especially during periods of slim rainfall. Now we drive over that bridge so fast, you might not even notice passing a river.