Thinking of ‘How It Is’

In March last year I went to the Tate Modern, while staying in London en route to returning to Bristol after two months or so of travelling. There was a big box in the Turbine Hall at the time, an installation called How It Is by the Polish artist Miroslaw Balka. Visitors to the art work walked up a ramp and into the darkness within the box. It was unsettling, not being able to see where you were going, walking into a potential void, but at the same time it was kind of exciting. You had to really feel your way in the dark…not just step along without thinking about exactly what your steps felt like.

The box could of course be experienced in many different ways. Thinking of the clear allusions to Polish history underlying the piece would seem to demand a sombre turn of mind to match the darkness within the box. But even if one just treated it as a large, dark expanse of unknown depth, this felt to me still very much worth a moment of quiet contemplation.

And then some of the people around me started shining the lights from their mobile phones so they could see better. This annoyed me. I thought, can we not wonder, can we not risk falling? Can we not just feel our way?

Views of cities from above, within and in reflection

Well, I went to Cincinnati and I walked around the block and I walked right in…

to my friend’s house.

And then we walked around the block again (or, uh, had a wild car ride to 4th and Race), hopped on the Megabus and went to Chicago. Took over the whole back row of the top deck with our food, crochet projects and feminist pop culture mags.

The American road looks something like this from the back row of the top deck of the Megabus.

Six hours later, Chicago looks a bit like this. (If it’s dark, you’re on a bus and don’t hold your camera still.)

It looks like a lot of other things too. In January, it can also look very snowy and be a sea of down coats. It can look like this from 96 floors up, at sunset

and like this when reflected in a Bean.

There are many more stories to tell of Chicago.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati, the Queen City, can be seen from above as well, if one wends one’s way through the maze of the Carew Tower to the observation deck. Wear your hat, gloves and scarf, children, it’s still January and we’re still in the Midwest. This is one view from above (49 stories up this time).

And this is one view in reflection.

There are many more stories of Cincinnati, too.

But what I will say for now is

Thanks for the donuts!

(And the ice cream.) See you again one day, and many more stories to come…


Blog-a-week

So I thought it might be an interesting challenge to try to publish at least one blog post a week. I got the idea when I received an email from WordPress inviting bloggers to take up a ‘new year’ challenge of blogging every day. Me, I know my limits. Once a week is good.

I was thinking, for me, 2009 was a bit like a river, which emptied into the sea of 2010. I’m pretty sure I know what I mean by that, but I’m not sure what that makes 2011. Doesn’t matter.

What I want from 2011 is adventure, confidence and connection. Again, I think I know what I mean by that. While I ponder the year ahead, have a look at some pretty pictures from a hike I did today with my sister. We hiked the Bear Canyon trail in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

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We were in t-shirts, soaking up the desert sunshine. Really, really lovely to find myself exactly where I was (am!).

Next I’m off on a mini tour of the Midwest, where I will reacquaint myself with the concept of cold. Especially on the Chicago leg of my tour.  Gives me something to blog about, no? (Later in the month I may well blog about Unemployment Strikes Again, Top Ideas for Getting Out of the House, and 101 Ways to Doctor your CV. But for now, adventure, where I find it.)

If anyone’s reading, what are you hoping for in the year ahead? Please comment if the whim strikes…