More than a year has passed since I last handed over a slim blue book and held my breath.
Will it somehow have expired?
Will he question me about a stamp from China, Israel, East Africa?
So far, no rejections based on my passport, nor cargo I plan to haul across international borders. I hope my record holds for my next trip in August.
As I rev up to dust off those pages, I present a view from last May’s trip to Geneva. I had spent a week in boisterous company, feasting on fondue and rosti, throwing back at least one beer for each article I copy edited. This balloon art hovered over the ground floor of a Swiss mall that I visited on my last night in the country. I ate mediocre Mexican food by myself and drank sangria from a glass rimmed with pink sugar.
I didn’t realize until today how much this scene looks like a model.
Photo by Rhea
It’s Friday, and 16 ounces of Mr. John’s Fish (Tea) Soup costs just $5.50. Shabbat shalom, with a touch of spice.
Photo taken by Rhea outside of the Spicy Delight restaurant in Takoma, D.C.
For the past 17 days, I have posted a series of photos marked “Image for the Day.” Why? I can’t tell you for sure. It seemed like a good idea on May 1. Perhaps it is because this felt familiar. I have worked for a daily bulletin that published a “Photo of the Day.” I have also experimented with daily 15-minute writing bursts, both publicly on my former food blog and for my personal files that no one will ever, ever see.
Or maybe I wanted to follow this concept because I can’t always think of something profound to write, or do not always have the time to write it out, edit, revise, toss, rewrite, and all of the other steps that fill a writer’s hours on the path to a polished and published story.
This daily photo project probably appealed most, though, because it brings to digital and visual life a practice I have followed for many years. Since I was a teenager, I have carried an image journal–a pad of paper where I jot snapshots of thought. I document a poignant moment, envision poems, or scribble a shopping list. The huge majority of thoughts on these pages go no further than my notebooks, pictured above. Only a few come to light.
I do know that sharing here has helped. Thank you for taking in these moments.
Photo by Rhea
Apparently, Halloween in May is a thing now. (Also saying something is “a thing” is a thing, just as an aside). In this context, a Halloween photo fits. This one from 2011 features me as Justin Bieber, with the original hair that shot him to the top of the charts. If I ever make a Bieber cover album, this will definitely serve as the album cover.
Photo by Lilah Katcher.
QR codes like the ones above appear on every poster, magazine, and billboard these days. They let advertisers cut down on words and plop anyone with a QR scanner onto a web page with more info. So what is so special about these? They advertise resources at a library. Garbled-looking symbols take the place of words that in turn lead us to words.
Photo by Rhea and her Android.
Spending some quality time with Mother Earth. She’s still no competition for Ma, though.
Blair Road Community Garden, Blair and Oglethorpe NW, Washington, DC. Photo by Harry Chauss.
Last year, I helped to plan a Shavuot event in this ravishing church. Shavuot, the Jewish holiday commemorating receiving the Torah, is coming up again at the end of May.
I decided to use this shot of the church stairwell today not because I am obsessed with stairwells, but because I love how the serene spiral is interrupted by a cacophony of life and color.
Ain’t that how it always goes?
If the stairway feels like my ideal conditions for writing or thinking or healing–calm, solid, continuous–then the glaring orange traffic cones and the person running up the steps with a Giant grocery bag depict how reality crashes in.
Image: The National Swedenborgian Church of the Holy City, 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. Photo by Rhea.
Lag Ba’Omer falls on the thirty-third day of counting the omer, a Jewish tradition that marks the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot. Usually a solemn period, on Day 33, the rabbis say we can let loose. Get married! Host a wild cookout! Cut your hair!* I don’t know all of the details about this, but I am a fan of chilling and joy.
Photo by Flickr user Özgür Mülazımoğlu.
*If you’re wondering why the last one, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.
Best. Kitchen gadget. Ever. Rivaled only by the box it came in, which asks, “In a pickle about how to preserve your pinot? Well, get this gherkin workin’ and all of your problems are solved!”
It turns out pickles are quite the it thing right now. What’s the dill?
Pickle wine stopper by Fred, available at Trohv. Photo by Rhea.
I traveled this stairwell many times this semester, but it was only on the last day that I noticed its Escher-like quality. I had submitted my grades a few hours before. “Relativity,” he called it.
Photo by Rhea.