Saturday, May 21, 2016


Many years ago, I worked on a research project that required a couple of trips to Puerto Rico. Most of my time there was spent in Natural Resources/Forestry archives or field-checking data in the Caribbean National Forest.

But one day, I decided to take a day off and see more of the island. Puerto Rico contains a range of very diverse ecosystems, remarkable for such a small landmass.

In Ponce, the original Spanish capitol of the island, I visited the Museo de Arte. Two strong memories of the museum stay with me to this day. First memory: sitting on a stone bench by a courtyard fountain, and suddenly understanding that fountains can be more than a celebration of the beauty of water; they can be a shrine to it's life-giving value.

Second memory: walking into a dim gallery space where light emanated from one end of the room. As I walked toward it, I found it wasn't a light at all.

It was this:

Flaming June, by Frederic Lord Leighton, 1895

The painting is about four feet square, and it is powerful stuff.

It seems to glow from within.

Like a sugar maple in Autumn.

Like this yarn:

Lifting this hank from the dyepot, I was instantly transported right back to that long-ago moment in the Museo de Arte de Ponce.

Isn't it amazing the way memory works?