Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Bedford: Whaling & Sustainable Resources

Maybe I am more of a geek than I imagined, since I was totally engaged by the 90-year-old New Bedford Whaling Museum...or maybe my "inner child" was out playing with the supposed grown-up who obsessively snaps photos. I believe part of the museum's success lies in the different ways different people of different ages can engage with a variety of exhibits. Plus, you can interact physically, climbing stairs & ships or listening to whale sounds.

The massive skeletons of the Sperm Whale were mesmerizing, if not only for their scale, for their ritualized totemic effect. Artful too. Perhaps this is even more true of the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park's affiliated site, the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska?

Perhaps I forgot, but more likely I never knew that as the whales were hunted past sustainability off our Eastern shores, that commerce moved to Alaska. Until the same thing happened there. Then, around the time of the Civil War, kerosene & gas replaced Whale-oil. It got me thinking about sustainable technology. And how probably no one thing is sustainable for the long-term. And how, though change is almost always disrupting, better usually to be moving forward in the search for new technology or resources or methods.

Whale tail tip.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Starved Rock's Incredible Landscape

Starved Rock State Park, a 2 1/2-hour drive SW of Evanston was a new delight to me. Imagine: canyons & waterfalls in Illinois!

Trees. Above: Nature. Below: Nature mimicked. Both have their charms...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Bedford: Landscape of Color

In light of how our current presidential campaign has brought up covert & overt racism, it was interesting to visit New Bedford, MA and learn of its historically racially mixed communities. From the little I gleaned, this was in part due to whaling, in another part due to the Quakers. It was news to me that part of the town is a National Park and since I have never gotten all the way through Moby Dick, it had not registered that the town figures in Melville's Masterpiece.

Nor did I remember that it was in New Bedford that Frederick Douglass started to come into his own. This combination of escaped & freed slaves; people from the Portuguese colony of Cape Verde and from the Azores; and the nearby native people from Martha's Vineyard, the Wampanoag, made for a community quite unlike any other of its time. Given the importance of whaling in providing the energy for people to see by and the danger of the pursuit, I was impressed by this part of our history.
 There was a tiny audiovisual exhibit on the Paul Cuffe Kitchen, as well as some great drawings by school kids honoring his legacy.

Monday, December 19, 2011

More Luminaries: Boston & Environs

I was lucky enough to spend some time around Boston last week. We traveled to New Bedford, Brookline & Boston. Gardens, museums and the Olmsted Historic Home & Office comprised our itinerary. I'll try to post details and pix soon.  For now, since we are on the verge of the shortest day of the year, thought I'd show some more permutations of light. These from the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, MA.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Holiday Landscape: all lit up!

I love this season because I confess: you can't have too many lights at night!

Above: the view down the block as I walked out of my office last night. AND: the Santa yard was accompanied by audio of "Frosty the Snowman."

Below: the Holiday gift from our local Chinese take-out restaurant. More "Lights at Night" (I have a big category of this in my postcard collection) captured on this 2012 Calendar from the 2010 Shanghai Expo. The cartoonish animal depictions below the blue Gumby-like fellow are Zodiac references to our birth years.  I always felt a bit disappointed to be a Sheep....although this calendar types me as creative & passionate, so I will take that.