29
Jan
14

1.29.14 … “Snow days are our Sabbath days. They bring with them a commandment to pause, to curl up by a fire, stay in your pajamas or go outside and catch a snowflake and marvel at its tiny beauty. Or do nothing … Be Still.” … if I could choose a perfect birthday …

If I could choose a perfect birthday, it would include any combination of the following: time with or hearing from friends and family, snow, early daffodils outside and perfect timing for my forced paperwhites inside (I also love London for my birthday! :))

I am blessed to have some glorious combination every year, and this year has been no exception.  Thank you, family and friends, for making my day perfect!!

So as I went to sleep yesterday, this was my last thought … I can’t wait to check outside tomorrow. It will be magical.

So I had the chance to check at 4:50 am.  Thank you Old Dogs! And the report  … It was a wee bit icy, actually more ice than snow. So after a few minutes … we all agreed: we would be  happier in bed.

Photo

Photo

A Gift From Above/Wrapped in White, snow day = Sabbath Day, Be Still, washingtonpost.com:

 One of the first things I discovered  on this snow day!

What a nice way to look at the the world this morning.

Snow days are our Sabbath days. They bring with them a commandment to pause, to curl up by a fire, stay in your pajamas or go outside and catch a snowflake and marvel at its tiny beauty. Or do nothing.

Snow Sabbath days are the kind of days when your mother can actually catch you on your home phone and ask, “Hey, can you talk? What are you doing?”

“And you say, ‘I’m doing nothing’ ” — this time, without exasperation. “How are you, mama? I have nothing to do, so tell me about every single thing that is happening at home.”

And she does.

And you listen as you look out the window and the snow is falling. And you have all the time in the world because the snow has given you permission to have nowhere to go.

Snow days are our Sabbath days. They remind you of the note you came across lying in the snow in Connecticut. The plain paper held down by a single, cold stone beckoned you to go inside the college chapel because, as the note promised, it was the most quiet place in the world. And you went inside because you had a few minutes before you had to rush to catch an airplane. And the silence inside was so thick it commanded you to “Be still.”

And you did.

And the snow, this snow in Washington, reminds you that we have been too much in a hurry, pulled along by our collars, stressing, trying to make the clock slow down, beat the light, “making more and more money, but not getting any peace,” as a friend’s grandmother in Louisiana said. “More and more money and ain’t getting no peace.”

The snow is a bookmark in a loud world. Ordering respite, quiet, poetry.

via A Gift From Above, Wrapped in White (washingtonpost.com).

And with the light of day … Winter magic!!

Photo: Winter magic!!

kith/kin, coffee, cities, urban planning, via Discovering Urbanism,  City: Rediscovering the Center, William Whyte: Great discussion about cities at coffee this morning with wonderful friends. Thanks for the birthday coffee. I think I did read some of his stuff in the 80’s. I would love to have the syllabus for my 1981 economics seminar on urban planning.

Discovering Urbanism: City: Rediscovering the Center

Great discussion about cities at coffee this morning with some very old friends, Davidson friends. Thanks for the birthday coffee. I think I did read some of his stuff in the 80’s. I would love to have the syllabus for my 1981 economics seminar on urban planning.

William Whyte was the foremost empiricist of cities in the 20th century. He sought to turn the planning and design process on its head – to start with detailed observations of how the smallest scale of an urban place is used by people and work outward from there, designing places and writing codes accordingly. City: Rediscovering the Center begins with lessons drawn from sixteen years of meticulously recording plazas, streets, small parks, and marketplaces with time-lapse video and scientifically parsing out the patterns of behavior. Once the basic observations of human nature have been identified, he launches into an evaluation of the health of downtowns in their entirety.

What jumps out right away from Whyte’s study is the attention he pays to the most basic human needs. How does the provision of food impact the life of a place? Where do people use the bathroom? How can one find light on a cool day and shade on a sunny day? In other words, he doesn\’t travel very far up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which I find to be a refreshingly humble and practical disposition toward the power of physical space in our lives. He never reaches for transcendence by design; that’s reserved for what happens in these places.

This leads to Whyte’s most important insight of all, one that really underscores each chapter of the book, that is: people want to be around other people. We are inherently social beings. As simple as this insight seems, it actually ran head on against the prevailing notion in planning at the time that people want as much space for themselves as possible. Whyte noticed that not only did friends clump together when sitting in a plaza, but even strangers tended to take seats in reasonable proximity to each other rather than evenly disperse themselves throughout the space. Well-used places were safer, both in perception and reality. People who stopped for conversation on sidewalks would typically not step out of the way, preferring to be in the center of movement. Parks and sidewalks that were outsized for their activity tended to swallow up its life and repel visitors. People like to be crowded, but not too much.

via Discovering Urbanism: City: Rediscovering the Center.

southern winter storms,  2 Inches=traffic nightmare, Atlanta, Atlantic Mobile:  Amazing events in Atlanta …

How much money do you set aside for snowstorms when they’re as infrequent as they are? Who will run the show—the city, the county, or the state? How will preparedness work? You could train everyone today, and then if the next storm hits in 2020, everyone you’ve trained might have moved on to different jobs, with Atlanta having a new mayor and Georgia having a new governor.

Regionalism here is hard. The population of this state has doubled in the past 40-45 years, and many of the older voters who control it still think of it as the way it was when they were growing up. The urban core of Atlanta is a minority participant in a state government controlled by rural and northern Atlanta exurban interests. The state government gives MARTA (Atlanta’s heavy rail transportation system) no money. There’s tough regional and racial history here which is both shameful and a part of the inheritance we all have by being a part of this region. Demographics are evolving quickly, but government moves more slowly. The city in which I live, Brookhaven, was incorporated in 2012. This is its first-ever snowstorm (again, 2 inches). It’s a fairly affluent, mostly white, urban small city. We were unprepared too.

The issue is that you have three layers of government—city, county, state—and none of them really trust the other. And why should they? Cobb County just “stole the Braves” from the city of Atlanta. Why would Atlanta cede transportation authority to a regional body when its history in dealing with the region/state has been to carve up Atlanta with highways and never embrace its transit system? Why would the region/state want to give more authority to Atlanta when many of the people in the region want nothing to do with the city of Atlanta unless it involves getting to work or a Braves game?

The region tried, in a very tough economy and political year (2012), to pass a comprehensive transportation bill, a T-SPLOST, funded by a sales tax. It wasn’t perfect, but it was an attempt to do something. The Sierra Club opposed it because it didn’t feature enough transit. The NAACP opposed it because it didn’t have enough contracts for minority businesses. The tea party opposed it because it was a tax. That’s politics in the 2010’s. You may snicker, but how good a job has any major city done with big transportation projects over the past 30 years?

via How 2 Inches of Snow Created a Traffic Nightmare in Atlanta – Atlantic Mobile.

Emergency Update: APS will ‘shelter in place’ for the remainder of evening 1/28/14:  Just curious: Has this ever happened before?

January 28, 2014 at 11:03 pm Leave a comment

Atlanta Public Schools has called an emergency “shelter in place” for all students and staff who remain in schools due to inclement weather and adverse road conditions. We will continue to transport students who are already enroute on buses, and parents will still be permitted to pick up students. For students who are sheltered in our schools, we will ensure proper security, supervision, and food. District leadership will continue to monitor the weather to provide additional updates as they become available.

The district is contacting all parents of students impacted by this decision.

via Emergency Update: APS will ‘shelter in place’ for the remainder of evening 1/28/14 | Talk Up APS.

And the answer is … yes …

that’s exactly what happened in 1982. My sister (class of 1984) got home, but there were lots of kids who spent days at the school.

Drifting Snow On The Outer Banks, WUNC:

Caption from Twitter: Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, beautiful even when surrounded by snow. 9:32 a.m. 1/29/14

Caption from Twitter: Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, beautiful even when surrounded by snow. 9:32 a.m. 1/29/14

via VIDEO: Drifting Snow On The Outer Banks | WUNC.

Bank of America Stadium:  Ice up, son, ice up!

Solvitur ambulando, The Christian Century:  Great article …

It is hard to walk toward some things. We may have dangerous things to face in life: illness, divorce, dementia, death, tragedy of all sorts. We also have wonderful things to face: birth, marriage, graduation, new jobs, new starts. Life after illness; life after divorce. The good news is that we do not walk alone. We have each other: family, friends, coworkers, doctors, therapists, classmates, neighbors. And most of all. we have Jesus—who has already been wherever we are going, and who will walk with us. Solvitur ambulando.

via Solvitur ambulando | The Christian Century.

Artist Simon Beck, intricate snow art:  It is created by walking … for miles!

It’s possible you’ve never heard of Simon Beck, but after today, you won’t be able to forget him or his wintry works of art. Simon is an artist and is most well-known for making incredibly delicate and detailed art in the snow, just by walking over a fresh snowfall. He literally walks miles in the snow to create these pieces. And the part that blows our minds? He could spend hours upon hours creating one design, just to have it be covered by snowfall or blown away by the next day. But he still makes them.

Simon walks over layers of fresh snow in special shoes to create his mind-boggling art.

via Artist Simon Beck Creates Intricate Snow Art by Walking for Miles.

LOL, inclement weather and heavy traffic:

Due to inclement weather and heavy traffic on my street, (see photo) I’m closing the studio early and headed downstairs. Please go back home to your families. There’s not enough hot chocolate for everybody.

lavender labyrinth,  Mt. Shasta:  And I will close with this … one of my favorite birthday greetings! … sending love and lavender from Mt. Shasta …


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