Tag Archives: Indianapolis

Sunday Quote, 2013, Week 14, Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.  
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.  



Buzzards’ Roost: Fog and Trees

Fall Creek In The Fog

Awoke this morning to a thick blanket of fog.  Perfect photography weather in my book!   I dressed quickly, grabbed my camera and tripod and rushed out to wander the banks of Fall Creek.

This may be my favorite photo from the bunch.  On the other side of the bank is a place once known as Buzzards’ Roost.   This afternoon, while trying to discover the correct name for this place,  I stumbled upon a copy of the charming bequest — it included lines of poetry extolling the countryside.  This tract of land was deeded to the city of Indianapolis as a public park in 1909 with the stipulation that it be known as Woolen Gardens of Birds and Botany and that “the wildwood of it is to be maintained as near as can be in its present wild state. [And] The wild life upon it, except when doing harm, is not to be interfered with or destroyed; it is to be a home and refuge for the wild creatures which are found there or which may come to it”.

There were other stipulations, such as the log cabins were to be preserved as a testament to the lives of the pioneers, that there should be a visitors center that was a replica of the original statehouse in Corydon, and that the area should be used as a place of nature study for school children.    The acreage has been mostly inaccessible since the interstate was built in the 1970’s and the cabins were destroyed many years ago, but the property is maintained as a nature preserve, with occasional limited access to the public.  I’ve only seen it from the opposite bank of Fall Creek.  Sometimes I’ve spotted several deer standing under the tall arching trees, grazing leisurely.  I think they know that they are safe there.  From the creek bank, it sure looks like a pretty space.

William Watson Woollen, who made this gift to the city, wrote a book titled “The Birds of Buzzards’ Roost:  One for each week and other essays”.    It is available online in Google Books.   I’d be reading it this evening if I didn’t have a turkey to prepare and some pies to bake.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to participate in one of the limited hikes through Woollen Gardens sponsored by the Audubon Society.    Until then, I’ll just have to be content to photograph it from the opposite bank.

Today’s post

For today,  an abstract:

Love Closeup

And a link to a Forbes article describing my hometown of Indianapolis a Great Urban Weekend Escape. While the article mostly focuses on sports-related venues, there are lots of non-sports things to do here. Indianapolis has come a long way from the “Naptown” of my youth.

The abstract above comes from an original photo I shot the first time I used my DSLR. There is a photograph of the entire sculpture in the article, which reminded me of the series of photos I took at the IMA in December, 2009.  I’m not certain, but Robert Indiana’s LOVE  may be the first sculpture that I encountered closeup as a work of art (as compared to a memorial or monument) and remembered the work’s title and artist’s name.

Where I’m from

One of my earliest memories is of my parents instructing us to wave good-bye to our house, as the moving van slowly crawled away down a suburban Chicago-area street. A few hours later, we were at our new home in Indianapolis. I don’t remember much about that first day: my mother stating that people drove like “hicks”, eating at the Huddle, falling and needing stitches as the movers were filling the house with furniture. But here I am, 48 years later, living less than 2 miles from the house were I grew up, a place that I swore, as a teen-ager that I couldn’t wait to get as far away from as I could.

Once called Naptown, or referred to as India-NO-place, Indianapolis has changed drastically during the last few decades. No longer a cow town, it is a fair-sized city that is a nice place to live. Sure, there are things that I wish that we had: a decent public transportation system would top that list; also add: more sidewalks and easier access to fly to other parts of the country without multiple, ill-timed connections. But, it is a nice community, with sports options (if you like that sort of thing), a  growing arts community, a decent cost of living,  a good symphony (a year-around one, unusual in most cities), affordable housing (my home, in most other cities this size, would be out of my reach), good healthcare options, lots of restaurant choices (skip the chains, seek out the locals), several farmers’ markets, including in the winter season, with delicious, nutritious, and local food.  As a progressive liberal, I often roll my eyes at the social conservatives and think our state legislature has acted crazily this year (Hello! Really? You wanted to introduce evolution into the science curriculum??? Let’s work on jobs, be tolerant of good people who just don’t hold the same beliefs as the majority, and respect  civil & constitutional rights.  Okay?) and our city-county council just leased all the parking meters in the city to a private firm for 50 years. (That was NOT a typo!)

A local radio station once claimed that you never had to go more than 10 miles from the city before seeing a cornfield. I think now, since the city has expanded, that’s probably about 15 miles in 1 direction, at least 25 in all others.   I don’t see fertilizer & pesticide commercials aimed at soybean farmers on TV as often anymore, but agriculture is still important business in Indiana. It’s depressing as can be to drive through smaller towns throughout the state that have been devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs, particularly in the auto industry (Kokomo, Anderson, Muncie, to name a few), a slow death over the last 25 years.

Still, this isn’t a bad place to live.  I adore going to big cities like Chicago and New York.  I love the multitudes of people and cultures and things to do.  But I like living here.

Last week, with a bit of spare time on my hands following a lunch downtown, I decided to walk along the Central Canal.   At one end is the zoo and botanical gardens, adjacent to the Indiana State Museum, the NCAA Museum, and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art.   At the other end of the canal is a memorial to the USS Indianapolis.  Along the 3 mile loop, lies a memorial to the Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, informative bits of history of the city and state, and lots of public art.

Public art:  a relatively new thing in Indianapolis.   I love it!   Many of the murals along the canal were done as part of the 46 for XLVI project, done in conjunction with Super Bowl XLVI.   Click on the link to see all of the murals.  Below are some of the pictures of the Canal.  The last picture, of the waterfall, is the original basis for the abstract Fantasia on A Waterfall, that I posted  a few days ago.

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This post is part of the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Today’s letter is I. Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. You can find other A to Z participants by clicking on the graphic. You’ll find an index of all of my A to Z blog posts here.

Dual Purpose: Photo Friday & Friday Little Bliss List

In some ways, photography could be on my bliss list every week. I’ve realized recently that I am at ease, in the “flow” as psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi has identified it, when I have my camera. It challenges my brain and my creativity, combines artistic and technical skills. I learn something new, see something anew, every time I pick up the camera.

I decided at the beginning of the year that I would participate in the Photo Friday challenge each week and that I would not dismiss those weekly challenges that either didn’t interest me, or that seemed too difficult. What am I going to do with that? I’ve found myself thinking several times already this year. But, since I made the commitment to myself to participate, I’ve found that I usually don’t have to think too long before I figure out something that meets the challenge.

At the same time, I’ve been participating for the last few weeks in Liv Lane’s Friday “Follow your Bliss” blog hop. While photography is a blissful pursuit for me, at first glance it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with this week’s Photo Friday Challenge, which would appear to be the opposite of bliss, to be something reflecting despair.

This week’s challenge, Inner City, was not one that seemed too difficult. Yet, it wasn’t something that I was that interested in doing. Why? Because I immediately thought of the cliché picture of urban blight: decaying, boarded buildings, broken windows, trash, poverty.

Years ago, a colleague from another city commented that there were no “bad” places in Indianapolis. I laughed. You just haven’t been in them. I replied. On another visit, with no intentions of sending him through slums, I gave him an alternate route to the airport because of road construction. On arriving in his office the next day, he called me. I believe you now. I wanted to lock my doors and get the hell out of there quickly. And I don’t think that it was really a short cut!” I didn’t find that route on the way to downtown to be that dangerous, but there were many blocks that were abandoned. That area has been revitalized in recent years, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t areas where the gritty inner city exists. It exists in every city. While I don’t want to diminish the hardships of poverty, or turn a blind eye, I just wasn’t in the mood this week to take a photograph for photography sake of what might be someone else’s bleak existence. After all, there is joy in the inner city too, sometimes in spite of hardship. Sometimes because of the joy that we have, or will, overcome such hardships.

Number 1 on my bliss list this week is remembering that this memorial is in my city, on the spot where Robert Kennedy gave a speech on the night Martin Luther King was assassinated, a speech credited with helping to prevent the riots that occurred elsewhere that night. It makes me happy that this memorial is in my city. I wish more people knew about it; I wish that fewer people would be hesitant to go because of where it is located, in the “inner” city.

Kennedy-King Memorial, Indianapolis, Indiana


UPDATED: Here is a link to a story about Robert Kennedy’s remarks on April 8, 1968, breaking the news of the King assassination. The link includes audio of Kennedy’s speech. The official name of the memorial is The Landmark For Peace Memorial.   Here is a link to a Wikipedia article about it.

Other things on my bliss list this week:
2. Finding the skeleton of a box turtle along the creek. It was fascinating to look at. I tried to find it again to take photos a few days later and could not locate it.

3. Realizing that the trees are starting to bud. It’s early — I think I saw some flurries earlier — but it still makes me happy.

4. Reading Jane Tomaine’s St. Benedict’s Toolbox monthly newsletter on reframing Lent with a spirit of joyfulness. Lent is one of those periods that I was taught to think of in terms of starkness, bleakness, or lamenting what miserable creatures we are. I always have problems with this. Her words reminded me not to beat myself up too much, during Lent or anytime. Thanks Jane. This message was repeated by my pastor when I went to Ash Wednesday services. I also saw a link to this website, Dark Cloth Diaries; Greg Miller takes pictures every year of people with ashes on their foreheads. Although most think that only Catholics do this, others participate in this ancient ritual as well. I think Miller captures this tradition beautifully. Scroll down on Jane’s website to the link for the feature article in this month’s newsletter to read about reframing Lent.

Photo Friday Challenge: TALL

We’re having a little party this week in my hometown. So, I thought that I’d meet this week’s Photo Friday Challenge with a TALL Window Cling. In fact, it isn’t just tall, it’s SUPER.

Lombardi Trophy Image on 33 story JW Marriott Hotel; Taken from 2 blocks away

I’m sure that this image will be shown on TV tomorrow. At night, it is illuminated and visible from the downtown area on the nearby I-70 interstate.

Other Super Bowl related stuff:
* If you’ve heard that its been great weather this week, it’s true. But I can’t remember a week in February when it’s been in the 60’s. This isn’t Indiana Winter weather.

* Sounds like Indy has been getting great reviews for being the host site this year. Fun to see my city, which is often met by disdainful sneers from those on the coasts, get some good press. Indianapolis is a nice place to live, with a lot to offer. It isn’t New York, or Boston, or Chicago or LA, but we aren’t hayseeds either.

* I don’t watch Jimmy Fallon but I taped his shows this week. He got everything right in his jokes about Indy. Fun to see people and businesses I know mentioned on the show. Jimmy seemed to be having a ball. Is he always this funny?

* And if you watched Jimmy yesterday: nothing suspicious about it: there really is a Korean Taco Food Truck in Indy. West Coast Tacos serves awesome food! And how can you not love their URL: http://www.thebestdamntacos.com ?

* I’m hoping for an exciting game down to the last second. I don’t care much about football, but I’d love to see a repeat of Super Bowl XLII. I always like to see the underdogs win. But, it is true: Colts fans love to cheer for anyone playing against the Pats. Almost as much as the Ravens like to cheer against the Colts.

Enjoy the game and festivities if that’s your thing.

Lazy Labor(less) Day

Today, we went to downtown Indianapolis, to Monument Circle to get a close up view of Victory, the statue that sits atop the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument for which the Circle is named. She’s been off her perch for several weeks during renovations. I never realized that she had an eagle seated on her crown. The close up view — actually noticed when I later looked at the photos — revealed that Miss Indiana (also aka Liberty, or just the generic Crowning Figure ) has nipples and a navel. My husband said that it was rather perverted that I pointed this out. Not a perv, I was just observing. I think it is odd that the sculptor would have put such detail into a statue designed to be 240 feet in the air! For now, Ms. Victory, with her recent spit & polish, is resting in a steel cage. Tomorrow morning, she’ll be lifted in the cage and deposited back on top of her pedestal to once again look over the city. If it wasn’t scheduled for 6am, I might make a field trip back downtown to watch and take more photos. I’m sure when I was a child, there were school trips to the monument, although I have no recollection of having ever been inside. Maybe, once renovations are completed, I will go visit the museum that is located at the base. I don’t know for sure, but I would wager that Ms Victory’s recent cleaning might have something to do with a big sporting event that is suppose to happen here in February, now that there isn’t a players’ strike. Maybe I’ll wait until Spring to go visit.

Liberty, Standing Defiantly in Her Cage

After we returned home, continuing our lazy afternoon, I spent time with my husband’s grandson, AJ. He was bored the other day and decided to dye his hair. His reason: “to freak people out”. He earns bonus points with me for fearlessly being himself. He is trying to decide if the next color will be blue or green. I vote for Blue.

Lovely lavender hue, intended shock value: Maximum