Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunrise in St. Louis

This morning the clouds were wonderful. The building on the right is the Federal Courthouse. I was standing in the Motorcycle Parking Area behind the Carnahan Courthouse.
And this is looking straight down Walnut Street toward the River.
Life is good.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Weekend

Saturday morning found Heather and me back at the Old Lemp Brewery Complex. This is where Spencer has his shop, but we weren't there to see Spencer. The last time we were there was to pick up Billie. Heather had taken some photos of the buildings. She was keen to retake one of the shots.
Heather and her Gorillapod
While she was doing her thing I wandered around and took some pictures.
Spencer has added a sign.
These caught my eye.
I love the details in these old buildings

After we left the Lemp grounds we stopped at Benton Park. There was a chalk artist event going on. We wandered around the Park and watched some of the artists work.
It rained last night. I wonder how this fared?
I wanted Heather to see the building I've been watching slowly fall down. When we got there I found some folks salvaging usable bricks from those that had fallen. It looked like hard work.

We ended up our Saturday adventure by checking out Florist Row. There really wasn't much to see there. But I did get a motorcycle picture.

Sunday I was able to spend a couple of hours on Billie. I went flamingo hunting. It was a pretty good day. Here are the results:
This one was hiding.

A classic pair
This one is kind of unique.
And finally, a small bottle tree.
It was a nice weekend.

Life is good.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stumped Part 2

The more I look at these the more I wonder if they are added rather than created from the stump of the tree. I may have to ask.
And, as we were out looking for more stump statues we came across this. Billie just had to have her picture taken with this lady..

Thursday, September 16, 2010


This is a wonderful time of the year for riding. We have Autumn temperatures without the hazard of the leaves on the roads. I was out for about an hour and a half tonight. I was just meandering through neighborhoods looking. Looking for what? I'm not always sure until I find it.

There seems to be this thing happening here in St. Louis. Perhaps it has been going on for some time and I haven't noticed. It may be common place elsewhere, I don't know. I do know that on Billie's and my travels around the City I've noticed that after a tree has been removed some of the stumps are being sculpted. There is one in particular I like.

I like the practice. And, I particularly like this turtle. It reminds me of a real life turtle Heather and I encountered on one of our land paddles over in Illinois.
Life is good.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Damn! I Must Have Done It Again

I've looked in all my pockets. They are no where to be found. Damn! I must have done it again. One other time I rode off with them on the seat. That day I had backtracked all the way to the courthouse, but found them wedged between Billie's rear seat and top case. Today, after checking my pockets for what seems the one thousandth time, I look there. No luck.

I take out my cellphone and call Heather. Maybe she found them in the alley when she left for work. Chances of this are remote, but what can it hurt? She hadn't, but bless her heart she offers to drive home and look for them. Her work schedule is more flexible than mine. I know this makes perfect sense. Still I feel bad for putting her through all this hassle.

It is the change of seasons and the gear I'm wearing is changing, too. I know this is a time when things are more likely to get misplaced. I've been through this before and I sure thought I was being careful.

Being my compulsive self, I look through my pockets one more time. And surprise, there they are. There are my keys; the condo key, the garage key, the key to the top case, and all my other keys. Of course, they are right in the pocket where I thought they would be to begin with. How does that happen?

Immediately I call Heather. Luckily, she hadn't left. Oh well, I just love beginning my day with an adrenaline rush and feeling like a fool...not really.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's The Second Day of Rosh Hashanah and it is Raining

A little over of a year ago in the span of seven days I ended up buying a new scooter and a new car. It was not supposed to work out that way, but it did.
The day after I bought the new scooter while driving to work the van's exhaust system fell and began dragging on the road. Even though I stopped and got everything wired up, the result was a hole in the catalytic converter. That was the bad news. The good news was the following Monday was the beginning of round two of "Cash for Clunkers." And, while during round one, I felt the van was too good to qualify, by round two I knew I had a definite clunker on my hands.
The primary purpose of buying the scooter was to prolong the life of the van. Oh well, now what? I rode the scooter to work a few times and worked at befriending it. Even though I had rain gear I rode only on nice days. Now, that I had a car that got 30+mpg why risk riding in the rain. Sure, I enjoyed the scooter's 70+mpg, but even on the nicest of days the experience of riding was just okay. Just okay.
I signed up for a Motorcycle Foundation Safety (MSF) Course at the local community college and I bought the book Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough. I was determined to make this scooter thing work.
I found the MSF Course to be helpful. It, also, helped me understand a number of things in the Hough's book. I did not enjoy the MSF Course, but this had more to do with my "head issues" than the class or the instructors. I think everyone should take the class. It is important. If they allowed scooters in the advanced classes I'd be there in a heartbeat, even though I suspect I wouldn't enjoy that experience either.
It was early October when I took the Course and the weather couldn't have been more beautiful. On the second day at lunch I commented to one of the instructor's about how nice the weather had been. He agreed, but added, "Sometimes I think it is better when it rains. Sure, it's miserable, but then you learn you can do everything we will do on the course today when it rains." And, I believed him.
On the first rainy day after the MSF Course, having read and reread the portion about riding in the rain in Proficient Motorcycling, I put on my rain gear. I was fearful, but confident. What happened on that ride was marvelous, wondrous and completely unexpected.
Since the accident in 1999 my life has been filled with hesitation, Now I think, then I do. Nothing is spontaneous. Everything happens after the briefest of pauses. No one seems to even notice these small delays, but I do. For this reason I'm drawn to repetitive activities and to remaining in familiar situations and surroundings. These things allow me to lean into these pauses and draw nearer to the seamless cognitive life I once took for granted.
Who knew, that on a rainy day less than a year ago as I mounted my scooter, I would step through a perceptional seam and enter a different brain-scape than I can usually access. As I twisted Lil' Blue's throttle my world opened up, the Autumn colors surrounding me became more vivid, a gentle alertness embraced me, and a peaceful vigilance took hold of my senses. I became both the hunter and the hunted. Excessive thinking fell away and I rode off with no hesitation.
And, now it happens every time I ride, not sometimes when I ride, but every single time I ride. It seems to me to be nothing short of miraculous. I wished it happened at other times, but it doesn't, at least not yet.
As I write this it is the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah and it is raining. Every year for the High Holy Days I do an art piece for a Rabbi friend.
 Seeing the Moment as it Hatches into the Present.

 This year he also invited me to write out a personal intention for the upcoming months. Here's what I wrote:
-Seeing Thunder-
At Sinai thunder could be seen
Eyes could hear and ears could see
But that was then
Now I often simply sit and listen
Alert for the next sound
Waiting in the silence
For the silence
To break into song
With seeing it is different
I open my eyes and there it is
No waiting
I wonder
What if I could bring to my seeing
The alertness and the waiting in silence?

What if I could focus
Beyond expectations and
My narrow point of view?
If so might I glimpse creation
Before my eyes
As it breaks into Being?
If this seeing be possible
Would it allow me to note
The One at play
Sketching painting and engraving What Is
Right before my eyes?
Maybe just maybe
I might hear the color green
Call my name
My intention for 5771 is to seek this seeing.
And my major spiritual practice in seeking this seeing is to ride, ride, and ride some more.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Knew It had Seen Better Days, Part 2

This is an update of the 2 September 2010 post.

I took this photo on the ride into work this morning.

I suspect this is to be continued.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Images From the Labor Day Weekend

Saturday Heather and I went land paddling in Illinois. This little fellow was sharing the trail with us.
If I hadn't seen him moving I would have thought he was a piece of braided yarn.

Saturday I went for a short ride. On some previous rides I've noticed a sign for Bellerive Park. It is near the intersection of Broadway and Bates and I've been wanting to check it out. Yesterday seemed a most excellent time to do so. What I found was a very nice view from the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.

Billie enjoying the view of the Mississippi looking north from Bellerive Park
Looking south
The pavilion
A tug on the River

I could see what appeared to be a park below the bluffs. I decided to explore. I pulled back onto Broadway heading south and took the next left hand turn. And there I discovered Sr. Marie Charles Park.

Here's Billie and notice the the tug boat. That is the same tug I'd seen from the bluff.
A better view of the tug. It was hooking up to some barges that were moored next to the Park.
A couple of workers being about their business
There was a walkway along the River.
Here's a photo of the Pavilion in Bellerive Park taken from the walkway in Sr. Marie Charles Park
Another view of the River
I was eager to get home and see what I could find out about these two Parks and found this article from 2008: http://thevitalvoice.com/node/193

It appears that many of the improvements the article talked about were indeed made to Sr. Marie Charles Park. The article also mentions a darker side to Sr. Marie Charles Park, "The park named after the tireless Sister Marie Charles developed a reputation as a place rife with prostitution and cruising." I shared word of my discovery with a friend. She told me she was aware of the Parks. And, while I experienced no issues as I walked around the Park, I'm saddened to report that she on a recent visit ran into more than she was expecting, but fortunately not more than she could handle. So, it seems a word of caution is in order.

Today I went for a much longer ride. The goal was a small town called Kimswick. I was disappointed. But, on the way to Kimswick, I did take a wrong turn and in the process of getting myself back to Rte. 231, spied a traffic sign I'd not seen before.

I think it meant children at play. But just in case I kept an eye out for wild teeter-totters that might be looking to cross the road.

I, also, came across this house on the edge of the area referred to as the Hill. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hill,_St._Louis
I guess one soul's Roman villa is anothers .....

Hope you had a great and safe weekend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Knew It Had Seen Better Days...

I see this building on my ride home from work. It was until one day last week covered with vines. I knew it had seen better days, but what I saw one day last week surprised me nonetheless.
The vines still cover a portion of the wall, but now it is on the ground. I had noticed the yellow tape that morning, but this portion of the building was at my back. It wasn't until I was on my way home that what had happened came into view.

I often wonder about the stories these old buildings could tell. I suspect this building would have many tales to tell. The crack reminds me of the crack in the image of a broken heart. Seems appropriate.