A heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to our wonderful conversation on Zorba and the philosophy of his creator, Nikos Kazantzakis. May the spirit of Zorba always find a place to dance in your souls.
It's an impossibly beautiful day here on the Chesapeake Bay, a day that summons me to take a walk around the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, which is only about sixty miles from where I live. I want to just amble around the docks and back streets to discover whatever can be discovered, and then celebrate my discoveries with a late lunch at a good Lebanese restaurant. Join me! It's a great place to be when the the constant changes of shapes, shadows, lines, and colors make one part and parcel of a giant, magical kaleidoscope.
Since you are not here with me physically, you will have to walk with your eyes and see what I see, which, as readers will know, is sometimes representational and sometimes abstract. So, here we go, beginning with the photo above, which is a view of the modern structures of the National Aquarium against the background or older, traditional architecture. I love the way the angles and intensity of the modern relieve the vertical and horizontal designs of the older buildings.
Below is one of the reflections I am finding on the rippled waters that catch the slanted light of the early morning sun. The creations of nature leave me in awe. I just have to remember to always look for beauty in unexpected places.
The Inner Harbor was once a pocket of urban blight. Thanks to visionaries like the late developer and urban planner, James W. Rouse, however, the Inner Harbor is now a beautiful, eclectic mix of restaurants, museums, bookstores, shops, and historical sites. Mixing the modern with the traditional is always a risky business, but it seems to work in Baltimore's Inner Harbor — at least for me.
In the photo below, the National Aquarium is on the right; the old lighthouse ship, "Chesapeake," is on the bottom; and the building above the ship's rear mast is an old power generation plant that was transformed into magnificent offices, a Barnes and Noble Bookstore, and a Hard Rock Cafe. The developer's effort to integrate the new with the old is appealing to my wabi-sabi spirit.
One of the strangest discoveries of this day is the reflection below. Everything in this photo is just a reflection — no debris, no paper — yet I cannot help but think that I have discovered the fragments of some ancient map, or perhaps the tattered remains of some wisdom written in hieroglyphics.
This is the stern of the US Frigate Constellation (1797 - 1853), which was used extensively during the War of 1812.
Anchored in a canal behind the old power plant, currently a Barnes and Noble Bookstore, is the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter "Taney." More fascinating to me, however, are the surreal reflections in the windows of the building to the right of the vessel:
As I continue my little walk, I discover many other abstract designs that please me, including an interesting convergence of geometrical shapes behind the National Aquarium (photo immediately below) and more colorful reflections in the water.
This old "tall ship" is now one of the historic vessels of the U.S. Coast Guard. Below is the facade of a new office building that I see in the distance. I like the abstract design and appreciate the fact that someone has just opened a single window to provide the focal point I was searching for.
Sorry, folks, but I just can't get enough of these reflections. Is Monet up there somewhere, dabbling small splotches of rich color on the harbor waters?
Two other photos and then we're off to lunch. The first is a view of the Baltimore landscape as it appears from the south side of the Inner Harbor. The second is a bit of whimsy — a whirligig at the American Visionary Art Museum, a fascinating place that is also on the south side of the harbor.
The wildlife must eat and so must I . . .
May I recommend the Lebanese Taverna and suggest the Taverna Mezza (above) with a glass of chilled pinot grigio. Now, that's a great day.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!