Living in a city offers opportunities to see things that one would rarely spot in a small town or village. As I ventured to the store to pick up some fresh milk, the exotic sounds of belly-dance beats bounced off the Zeil and lured me into its trance. As I followed the rhythms to the heart of the street, I noticed a well-endowed “woman” with belly-dance bells over her flirty skirt entertaining the crowd with her dramatic hip actions. All the shoppers, also lured by the sounds and scene, broke from their consumer frenzy to enjoy the surprising scene.
The first thought that sprang to my mind was, “Wow! She’s got balls! I could never belly dance in front of a growing group of strangers, let alone in front of my friends.” Apparently, I was not the only one piqued. A squat man in a red-striped shirt that stretched over his rotund stomach focused his eyes only on her. He sprang into action, twirling, teasingly strutting his stuff, and sashaying his body to her. The crowd cheered in excitement by clapping and hooting, encouraging them both. We all stood rooted to our places, enjoying the performance, until the band eventually ended their gig and the two dancers went their separate ways.
Still mesmerized, with bewildering thoughts going through my head, I started my journey home only to realize, when I was climbing back up the stairs to the flat, that I had forgotten to buy the milk. Doh! But then I realized “Who needs milk or substances when street performers provide nourishment and remind us of what it means to be alive and free to be who we are.” Would you ever see a performance like that in a small little town? I didn’t think so.
I remember my rucksack trips through Europe, back in the smoke-filled days of the ’90s, when it seemed as if EVERYBODY smoked EVERYWHERE. Now most buildings, restaurants and even bars ban smoking in many of the European countries. Much of Asia, however, reeks of smoke, as U.S. tobacco companies have shifted their aggressive marketing campaigns from here to there.
I can’t remember exactly where I took this photo (my memory must be affected from all that second-hand smoke I inhaled from too many rock concerts in my youth), but its hefty fine – 1,000SGD- identifies it easily: Singapore. Smokers beware: Lighting up in Singapore can be very expensive.
In light of the recent smoke-related news, the legalization of marijuana in several U.S. states, it will be interesting to see what the next generations decide about the decisions made today. Will marijuana smoking also become a fading fad as future generations discover something we do not yet know or understand, or will it gain more substance and last longer than the Mona Lisa’s smile?
Is it your petite, bite-sized sweetness, your unexpected appearance before my hungry lips, or the gentle way you prep my eager palette for what is yet to come – more scintillating surprises and morsels of enticing deliciousness just around the corner -that keeps me addicted to you and coming back for more? I am a willing slave to your demands.
And, to keep our affair fresh and enlivened, a suitably aged bottle or two of wine from the cellar? Is there a better threesome than this?
Walking across the stone bridge over the Neckar River, I shot this view of the Heidelberg Castle, one of many medieval buildings, fortresses, and ruins that enrich Germany.
Reflecting on my youth I wonder if history, one of my least favorite subjects in school, could have been one of my favorites, had I been born and raised in Heidelberg or in any of the ancient cities of Europe, where history is not relegated to the pages of a thick and boring textbook, but evident everywhere you look. Could this be the reason why most Europeans are knowledgeable about history, politics, and geography while most Americans can barely pinpoint Germany on a map?
“Drawing a line”, oft used as an ultimatum between feuding sides, reminded me, instead, of this strange, natural art work I stumbled upon on an island in Borneo. Instead of lines drawn on the sand, these clearly deducible images would make Monsieur Seurat smile with pride. And then one has to wonder, did the creators of these wonders come first or did George-Pierre Seurat really invent pointillism without any other influences from nature?
Is there a sense of order, logic and purposeful intent in these abstract images. I see a bird in flight, a maple leaf, etc. What do you see?
The individual spheres of sand, no more than a few millimeters in diameter, are the artistic equivalent to the dots created by Monsieur Seurat’s small paint brush. However, to the creators of these drawings, the minuscule crabs, their elemental dots are as big as their entire bodies. And with these tiny balls of sand, the crabs create complex compositions that fascinate me with wonder and curiosity.
Because I am energized by learning new things, I was immediately fascinated when I stumbled upon the Moebius knitting cast on developed by Cat Bordhi. Instead of the traditional cast on, her technique follows the Moebius principle, where you start from one point on a circle that has only one side and return to the same point by running along twice the circumstance of the circle. “What?” you may wonder quizzically, as I did when I first read the instructions from her book.
It’s really quite simple in practice. Take a long strip of paper, twist one end before you tape the ends together, and you will have a twisted circle. This is the Moebius concept. Then, if you take a pair of scissors and cut along the middle length of the ring, you will end up with a ring that is twice the length of the first ring and half the thickness. If you keep repeating this exercise, the circle gets bigger and bigger until you end up with a very very large circle.
I remember knitting this scarf many years ago from the middle out, something I had never done before, and I was fascinated as it developed into a Moebius scarf, without a seam, and with only one edge. Pretty darn cool, I thought. Admittedly I am a science nerd.
When I contemplated the daily prompt focusing on circles, I immediately thought of the moebius as the circle of life. With each experience and encounter, we have the opportunity to enlarge our circle of life and influence, by expanding and growing, with intent and surrender. Although there are days when it isn’t so easy to achieve, the long journey along this circle only requires one step at a time.
Reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, I quickly learned that 10,000 hours of practice is the necessary requirement to achieve excellence and mastery in any endeavor. However, the hours of practice are not relegated to iterations of the same routine over and over again. In fact, to become good at anything, it requires thousands of hours spent making mistakes, learning from the mistakes and then having the ability to change and redirect. I often think of this when I am trying to perfect my hand at pottery, a losing battle thus far. Often the clay wins, but in the mistakes I see the potential for future perfection and excellence.