Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Sandy Day 1 Monday October 29 3 P.M.
From the Tree House Window

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Threads of Shabos

A friend told me about a story she heard from a once-Orthodox man, that when he was a child, the end of shabos, Saturday, was determined not by a clock but by the moment when one could no longer distinguish a red thread from a green thread in the evening light.  Now I think he said “someone”, no doubt meaning the same someone every week, who went out from the synagogue every few minutes, and held up the threads in the waning light, and when he himself could no longer distinguish green from red, he went back inside and announced that shabos was over.   The beauty in this story belongs to this privileged man, because the perception of color is profoundly affected by one’s mood, by one’s emotions.  And I imagine that he didn’t need to go outside too many times, because at that moment in his devotion when the feeling came on him that shabos was drifting away, he went outside and could not tell the green from the red.

Green and red are complements on the color wheel, that is, they sit opposite each other.  Here’s the traditional color wheel  concept (in a very lovely rendition by Jill Morton) for pigments (though not for computer graphics):  the three primary colors, red, blue, and yellow, can’t be derived by mixing other colors, something like primary numbers, and theoretically you only need these three.  You make secondary colors, green, orange, and purple, by mixing the two primaries next to them, and with judicious mixing you can have all the colors you could ever want.

When two complements are side by side in an image, or in your dress, or in nature, they enhance each other.  They maximize the contrast.  So you put your tomatoes in a green box to make them look very red, and you hold up a red and a green thread in diminishing light to be absolutely certain that shabos has quietly slipped away for the week.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Two Ladders

Once again, out into the forest for maintaining our trail.  Two ladders:  one is a piece that I happily own, a ladder made by artist Judy Hoffman (not in the forest) from hand-made hand-dyed rolled paper, 12” high.  The other is a ladder made by a vine that sends its tendrils out and they wrap themselves opportunistically around whatever they come across, even a sibling twig, and they grow thick and build a solid wall.  Those walls, of course, we had to hack away to clear the path.  In the process, I saved this beautiful ladder, 18” high.   

Judy Hoffman's Ladder, with detail

Nature's Ladder, found complete in the forest, with detail


    Two Fine Ladders