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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Delicate – the soft, venerable underbelly

MyTownFridayShoot-Out January 27 - Delicate: Show us the delicate side of your town! The dancers, the flowers, the architectural ornaments...

You may read this post thinking that I have gone off on a tangent again, but this time I have just chosen to look at the word delicate as other than a soft pink tutu, or a single peach rose bud, which by the way couldn’t be found in Nova Friburgo.  When I first read this week’s topic an idea immediately popped into my head. Then I spent considerable time trying not to use it.  I walked through town, looking for photos that fit what I thought was the intent of the topic; talking with Camillo about my idea, having him try to talk me out of it, but, stubborn like I am, my idea didn’t go away. So I did what I always do when I am trying to prove my point, I started with definitions and I found the connection I was looking for. 

CaoSentando (27)Within the definition of delicate you can find the word fragile.  When a word is used to define another those words are interchangeable…There are favorite or common word usages but they can be used as a replacements for each other without changing the meaning.  For example, we would not say a delicate eco system, we would say a fragile eco system, both phrases convey the same meaning.    {synonyms of Fragile; brittle, crisp, crumbly, decrepit, delicate, feeble, fine, flimsy, frail, frangible, friable, infirm, insubstantial, shivery, slight, unsound, weak, weakly}

I wanted to show you the delicate underbelly of my town; the Fragile City.  Just a little more than a year ago we had major rains, flooding and mudslides in Friburgo.  I have written about it a few times, and I’ve thought about it a great deal.  You could fairly say that I have fixated on it.  Maybe this is the first time I have been so closely tied to a disaster.  The realization that my little corner of the world is not safe has been very difficult for me to get around.  Maybe I have had too good a life, minor problems have happened close to me but without truly effecting me.  For whatever the reason, this has shaken how I think about Nova Friburgo and its surrounding area.

Where I once saw the beauty of stone rising from the forest, I now see trees sitting precariously atop the soil.  I see how fragile our hold is on the land.  I now know that the relationship between man and nature is a very  fragile  one.      

road to lumiar (1)                                                          


Where I once saw a road that connected us to the outside world,    I now see what nature can do to reclaim its land, follow its plan over the millions of years to move the mountains to the sea.

Where I saw the structures of man as reassuring, strong.  I now see that no matter how strong we build: how high, how wide the walls,  nature can take away at will and we can be left hanging precariously to the edge of what we thought was a sold ground.  

road to lumiar (11)


With its grand stones soaring high above the city, collecting the rain, funneling it down into the valley to the river, I can see that our truce with nature is a fragile one. 


And we must feel humbled by how vulnerable  our city is to the next summer rain.     


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rio de Janeiro the “Cidade Maravilhosa”

I have spent so many hours lately cleaning out old files and trying to make my computer work like it should.  It died anyway and had to be replaced.  I guess I could think, if I were an optimist, that all things happen for a reason.  So maybe the reason here was for me to find this poem, written 4 or 5 years ago.  Never finished.  Now I played with it a bit.  Ask and received advice from one of my blogger pals.  Camillo was also ask to read it and give an opinion – his note, “ Publish it someplace”  and “there used to be a samba with the same theme, some of the same wording”,  I promise I never heard it.  If anyone knows the name of the samba let me know, I’d love to hear it. 

So here it goes, a rare occurrence, a poem published.DSC01668

“Cidade Maravilhosa”


And the Lord laid his hands upon the earth saying,               

 “Let this land be blessed.”


The rock shall rise up from and of the sea in glorious splendor

 and the sand; produced by the oceans, protecting the soil

as it descends shall touch this land

with soft gentle colors of brown and white.


The ocean waves shall be of many DSC00948shades of blue,

indigo teal and sea foam green,

washing the sands in constant rhythm.


And so it was said.  And so it was.


And the Lord created man in his image,

saying, “Go out upon this earth and multiply.”


So the people came,                                    

lured by the glorious splendor,

arriving by sea from distant landsDSC00695

from the jungles and the mountains.

And so they came in great numbers

creating by their own name:

the Cidade Maravilhosa.


As commanded,  multiplying their numbers

crowding this abundant land with houses

precariously balanced atop the rock,

and tall buildings linked one by one

connected by roads twisted crisscrossed

and filled with noise,

drowning the sounds of the sea,

filling the land, the rivers and the oceans

with signs of their excesses.


And so it was said. And so it was.

And the Lord despaired.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The story behind the glass.

Surprise!  I’m back!  I have so missed you guys.  Even though it seems like I have been lost to the MY Town Friday Shoot-out,  I’ve been here, lurking.  Watching all your posts and making an occasional comment; keeping track of the topics, but not finding the ambition to actually post.  This last week when glass showed as the next topic I felt a surge of interest, of energy, and the next few weeks are all topics I can see myself showing so I thought it a good time to come back and rejoin the (world) group. 
salahallbath (9)Lets talk GLASS - Over the life of ‘Flowers’ I have posted two times about the apartment in Rio.  Both times I mentioned the windows but didn’t really talk about the why and how.  Now I’d like to go there with you.  
Because we looked specifically for an apartment that needed to be refurbished, we found one that was in pretty sad shape.  The apartment had nice large windows in each room but being limited by a ‘normal people’ budget, the view from those windows is a blank, salahallbath (22)rather unpleasant looking wall of the neighboring building.  When making our plan for modernizing the apartment it was apparent that we would need to change out the old metal windows and one idea led to the next and we ended up visiting with a small company in Friburgo to find out how much it would cost to have special glass made for the new frames.  The idea was to make the windows with scenes from around Rio, creating our own view.   The dining area would have an Italian look, tiled steps with old pottery. The small living room would have four panels made of scenes from photos of of Rio, connected by oceans waves which surround the city.  The Master bedrooms has what started out to be a woman lying on the beach (a line drawing of mine) but ended up looking like an abstract of the country side – I am sure it is much more appropriate for a bedroom.  
  DSC00934 DSC00937 
Fernando took my photos and drawings, recreated them on heavy paper the size of the windows, cut out the negative space and after we approved the drawings attached the drawing to an extra thick glass and sandblasted the designs to our specs.
[CRISTAL arte decorativa em vidros, by Luiz Fernando Paiva: Alameda Barao de Nova Friburgo, # 129, Olaria: (22) 2522-9578]
I thought it would be interesting for you to see how this process happened.  Camillo and I stopped by the Artisan's shop and ask if I could take photos… I was a bit disappointed, there were no projects in the works so I could show drawings taped to the glass – that sort of thing, but they did allow me to take a photo or two….There were a lot of finished orders, I wasn’t able to get good shots for you – they were leaning against other windows and had lite and reflections, but here is small sample of his work if you are in need a decorative window or two.
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