Spaces Between Things

Politicians and civic leaders tell us that the worth of a city can be measured by its size, or by the number of its museums, banks, concert halls and stadiums, or by the height of its buildings, or by the net wealth of its inhabitants. The list goes on. All such measures are insufficient, say the wise ones. Instead, an equally important one is this: how many parks does a city have?

Wise, I’m not, but I agree with the question, especially in relation to Spaces.

Read More

Homage to a Master

Memorable images are often mysterious. This photograph is hardly memorable, but it manages to pose some questions: Did this man with the brush paint the landscape? If the answer is “yes,” he seems oddly indifferent (or perhaps sad?) about his accomplishment. On the other hand, if the answer is “no,” then why is he posing with brush and palette?

The answer is, no, he did not paint it. The artist who did was an obscure Spanish painter named Pastor, and the man’s expression reveals an inner conflict: He has been asked to do something he does not want to do: his closest friend has asked him to destroy Pastor’s painting.

Read More

Our Lady of Gunpowder

Paco was yelling at me, but the gunshots were so deafening I couldn’t hear a word. He finally managed to push through the crowd and cupped his hands around my ear. “No matter what, Miguel, keep your mouth open. There’s less risk of damage to your eardrums.”

Read More