Towering pines are covered in fresh snow on the road through Badger Pass and into Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, December 2010.
Tag: United States
Interpreter, Grand Portage National Monument, Minnesota
This historic interpreter at the Grand Portage National Monument (the site where traders met to send furs, especially beaver, from all over the West back to Montreal) makes and paddles his own traditionally-made birchbark canoes (and has even canoed/portaged for 1000 miles in one). If you are in the neighborhood of Grand Portage, he gives and excellent presentation, and is very interesting to talk to (he seems very committed to the era, and even lives in the bush).
Falls, Cascade River State Park, Minnesota, 2010
“Our Lady” in Broken Glass, St. John’s University, 2010
There are a variety of rather kitschy pieces of art amongst the modernist pieces at St. John’s, and this sculpture, entitled “Our Lady” and constructed by Oblate Catherine Smith in 1960, really stood out for me. I am not even sure what the religious message is–“Mary will cut you, so stay away!”? Broken glass of the kind you put atop a wall to cut the hands of thieves seems like an inappropriate medium for showing Marian devotion.
A close-up of the broken glass making up the sculpture of “Our Lady” by Oblate Catherine Smith, showing the sharp edges.
War Memorial, St. John’s University, Minnesota, 2010
Storm over Abbey Church, St. John’s University, Minnesota, 2010
A summer electrical storm lights up the night over the modernist abbey church on the campus of St. John’s University, in Collegeville, Minnesota. The impressive storm raged for many hours, but I was unable to stay even an hour, as the driving rain was rendering all my photos blurry, and could not be kept off the lens, and rising winds threatened the stability of my tripod. Not to mention that standing in an open field in an electrical storm is somewhat disconcerting. . .
20 seconds at f/5.6 iso 400.
Abbey Church, St. John’s University, Minnesota, 2010
An arch holding up the bell tower (if tower is the right word) hangs over a set of concrete seats, next to the entrance to the abbey church, St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.
The modernist foyer and baptismal font in the Abbey Church. The statue is St. John the Baptist by Doris Caesar.
An overview of the interior, showing the altar, and behind it the futuristic throne of the abbot. The pews, angular and concrete, are extremely uncomfortable, apparently a purposeful design decision, coupled with the brutalism of the architecture and the bareness of the concrete, underscoring the ascetic quality of monastic life.
A stairway leading to the balcony shows the beautiful quality of the windows, contrasting against the bareness of the concrete, at the Abbey Church of St. John’s.
The front windows, as seen from the balcony of the Abbey Church of St. John’s. The backlit tops of the pews may be faintly seen in the dark lower section of the image.
A very Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers, and especially my family and friends back in the States, most of whom I have not seen in over a year. I am looking forward to returning to California over the holidays (23rd December to 12th January), and will hope to see you then. Also to my friends here in Ethiopia, at the U. S. Embassy Addis Ababa, who have kindly hosted me and whom I will likely also miss having Thanksgiving with, due to a planned Axum trip.
Take care, all.