Art is for everyone – St. Augustine Beach, Fla.

I cringe every time I see a sign at a museum that indicates the price of admission. Even if I can afford the entrance fee, I don’t think there should be a hinderance to those who can’t. Keeping beauty from people who can’t scrape together a few dollars to see it is offensive.

imageOf course, it costs money to maintain the building, to aquire the art, to hire the staff, but that’s just an excuse in some cases.

If you can’t afford the building, put the art in public places. Sculpture or other media that can withstand the elements can be displayed outside. Photos and paintings can be hung in public buildings.

Art is an expression of the world around us. It calls attention to our community, the sense of our time, the problems and the beauty of the world around us. Continue reading

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From the marsh to the ocean – St. Augustine Beach, Fla.

Between the restaurant and shopping area,  some upscale housing and the touristy area near the St. Augustine Beach Pier, there is a rarely noticed boardwalk that gives a quiet tour of the Florida that was before the Europeans and developers arrived nearly five centuries ago.

imageTwice, I missed the blue sign tangled amongst the trees and vines along A1A Beach Boulevard, heading east from the over-developed A1A. Continue reading

In every grain of sand – St. Augustine Beach, Fla.

The wind blows pretty hard some days here on the beach. Gusts rush in from the north and rearrange the sand on the beach in willy-nilly patterns with little regard for the man-made objects in its path.

imageA recent windy day, pushed away dunes – or parts of dunes – that had been my landmarks on some of my walks. New dunes pushed up against piers, retaining walls and furniture. Walls of sand stood where nothing had been before when the swirling grains settled down.

When another wind whistles wildly along our shore, the process will begin anew to re-configure the landscape and paint a new picture of the beach.

Signs under the pier that were over my head are now at toe-level, warning me not to loiter in a spot where I can not even stand.

The stairs are easier to climb when three-quarters of them are under the beach. A picnic seems less inviting when the table is partially submerged in the ever-changing landscape.

We shouldn’t fear the changes that fill the old spaces and bury the familiar. The things that were comfortably there yesterday have taken on new forms. Impassable passageways have been revealed with the covering of the old way. A new perspective on our world brings new understanding.

Look for the beauty in your life with new eyes.

Where the gulls are – Butler Beach, Fla.

It seems that the fewer people there are on the beach, the more seagulls flock to the ocean shore.

At this time of year, the snowbirds are just settling into their condos and rented beach houses. The last wave of them will be down in a few weeks after celebrating the holidays with family and friends back home. Early in the morning, a few can be seen hustling along the shore, getting in a hearty walk before retiring indoors for the rest of the day. Continue reading

Numbers everywhere – Lake Mary, Fla.

In honor of all the friggatriskaidekaphobics out there, I was pondering numbers this morning as I walked along.

The fear of the number 13, has plagued people for millenia. Some people believe that there are references to the evil associated with the number 13 as far back as the Code of Hammurabi, but I can’t find any scholarly references to that and I have not personally read through the full text of that Code. There are people who hold that Judas was the 13th person to sit down to dinner at the Last Supper, but there are no references to the seating order in the Bible, which I have read.bbc_image (4)

I’ve read that the ancient Persians believed that each of the 12 signs of the Zodiac would rule the world for a 1000 years and that when the 13th cycle came to rule, the world would collapse into chaos. I don’t know where we are in that cycle, but I think Congress may be a window into what that chaos might be.

I read a piece in the Mirror this morning that reports that one third of all Britons admit they change their plans which fall on Friday the 13th. They are not willing to take the chance of plans being ruined by the date.

Personally, I have never had anything bad happen on Friday the 13th. I have never changed my plans and never avoided the day.

One of my best friends was born on Friday the 13th and has led quite a charmed and successful life.

Numbers are just a way of ordering our lives. We use numbers to put time into perspective. We use them to keep track of how much money we have, of how hot or cold it feels, of how much taller we are than so-and-so, of how far away we are from our destination. But do they really mean anything? If there were no clocks, would it matter what specific time it was or would we just look to the sky to figure if we were closer to the start of light or the start of dark. If there were no numbers representing the date would it make a difference in how long we lived?

The lack of numbers might make a difference only in how well we lived.

Numerologists claim each date is representative of a different number and that number will help predict the kind of day to expect or the sort of activities one should pursue. (Sounds a lot like astrology, no?) One numerology site I peeked at hinted that today should be a good one for making plans for the future. No mention of the evil 13…

“Friday, December 13, 2013 — number 4
(12+13+2013 = 2038 = 13 = 4)
This is a day of work toward building a good foundation for the future. Details are important.”

Numbers are everywhere. They drive and define us. People practically deify numbers in their quest to understand the world. Perhaps, if we let go of our need to control our surroundings by assigning numbers to categorize everything , we could find a simpler life, a happier life. But there is no escaping the numbers. They are everywhere and they drive everything we do.

Don’t be afraid of Friday the 13th or 13 or any other number. They are just categories. Being afraid of the 13th number is like being afraid of the 13th letter. Have you ever heard of anyone who is afraid of M?

Solo journey – St. Augustine Beach, Fla.

As we here in Florida have to make the difficult decisions about whether or not to put a tank top over our bathing suits when we go for a walk or whether SPF 50 is sufficient protection when the UV level is a moderate 4, I’m reading about the blowing ice, freezing rain and accumulating snow around the country.
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