Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Morning beachcombing

At the Del Mar beach, shells which tell stories...
Most of them were in fragments... until this one

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

Early Spring

My father and I counted twenty-three kinds of plants already in bloom
as we strolled along the Guy Fleming Trail in Torrey Pines State
Nature Reserve this afternoon - not including the ferns!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Jet Blue

Looking for all the world like the landscape in the background of a Netherlandish Madonna, an early morning aerial view of the winding Hudson River and the shining city where it meets the sea.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018


This is the Church of the Holy Apostles. Like many an older New York church, its spire used to be the tallest thing in the neighborhood... no longer! The new Hudson Yards district is rising just to its northwest.
Times a'changing! What I really want to tell you that is that Holy Apostles has a bright future because its Vestry (of which I'm a member) has unanimously chosen a brilliant new rector... but that's all I can say.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Landscape stroll

Went on a bit of an art binge this morning. It started in the Met's China galleries with students from "Religion & Ecology." Hard to imagine a better way of communicating the "liquid ecology" we'd read about than a scroll painting like "Remote Buddhist temples among autumn mountains" above (14th-15th C., unidentified artist). Since I had time I stayed on at the Met, encountering further landscapes in an exhibit of mountain paintings from Korea, and a lovely exhibition about Thomas Cole, one of the US's most famous landscape painters. This show,
which feels a little like the scene in the tiny work above (from the Ashmolean), lets us see paintings (Turner! Constable!) which Cole saw when traveling in Europe, and then experience anew his imaginings of the Hudson river landscape, and the famous "Course of Empire" (from the New-York Historical Society). Enough never being enough, I popped into the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, where I found a 15th century Iskander (Alexander) lecturing the seven great philosophers of Greece, with two onlookers tittering behind the hill. Delights!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


In "Religion and Ecology," we're making our way through James Miller's China's Green Religion.

To help the students understand the profoundly different cosmology of Daoism, where "liquid vitality" streams and flows, pervades and condenses, sometimes into solids (like human bones or mountains), sometimes into liquids (like organs or spittle or waterfalls), sometimes into liquids that then congeal (like ink), and always in specific locales, I'm taking the class to the Met to spend time with Chinese ink landscape paintings.

But at MoMA today (a friend is visiting from Japan, so I had an excuse to go again) I found a lovely evocation of the "porous" selves Miller recommends we accept we are: Louise Bourgeois's "Articulated Lair" (1986), a circular enclosure of folding screens (with two small doorways for passing through), with mysterious pendants swaying almost imperceptibly as air is pushed by the bodies of passing viewers. Wow!

Monday, March 12, 2018

The view down over the Lang courtyard, south from the president's office's small conference room. Even from five stories up you can see that the trees are budding!