Zenobia in Chains

Zenobia in Chains, Harriet Goodhue Hosmer, 1859

Zenobia ruled Palmyra (present-day Syria) for six years after her husband’s death in AD 267. She conquered Egypt and reigned until Roman forces overpowered her armies and captured her. Emperor Aurelian marched her in chains as part of his triumphal procession through Rome. Hosmer, one of a group of 19th-century female sculptors working in Rome, held strong feminist beliefs. She saw in Zenobia an embodiment of a woman’s ability to move beyond the constraints placed on her. This statue of Zenobia was found for sale by a WashU art student in an antique shop on Cherokee, here in Saint Louis. He recognized the significance of the chains on the figure and bought the statue for twenty bucks. Now it sits in the Saint Louis Art Museum. Some picking!

False Indigo + Orange Tufts

Desert False Indigo and Honeybee with Orange Pollen Tufts

It was a dark and stormy night, part of which we spent sheltering in the basement. A line of thunder-boomers came to town, advancing up farty-far, from the southwest. As they approached the red tornado boxes began popping up. The first one had us just outside the line, but the second one had us square dap in the middle of it. My iPhone began to screech something horrible, and the tornado siren began wailing outside. Anne had already scooted off the couch, with its three west-facing windows directly behind it and was watching the frantic TV weather broadcast well away from said aperture. It was time to go to the basement, which is still quite cold, don’t you know? So, Anne ran upstairs again to fetch her vest, against my objections. Our tornado warning was slated to last forty-five minutes, but we got sprung after only half-an-hour, I guess for good behavior. The TV weather marathon continued on into the night as the storm front with its attending red and yellow boxes keeping pace, as this weather event marched ever eastward across Illinois. Earlier in the day, we had setup our furniture back up again on the porch. We reinstalled the swinging bench together and I hung the new windchime that Frank and Kathy had given us last Christmas. With its tubular bells, it makes a lovely dulcet tone that this morning somehow reminds me now of the wind sculptures that Hellen Hunt’s aunt made in the movie Twister. Tonight, we get to repeat this drill all over again.

Fishing Little Blue Heron

Fishing Little Blue Heron

Yesterday, we took advantage of our fine weather this week to walk in Forest Park. Pictured is the peak sighting of the day of a Little Blue Heron. This is a rare species for the park. More common is the Great Blue Heron, which we also spotted, as it overflew us later. It being a weekday, the park was relatively empty, except for the zoo, which had dozens of school bus parked outside of it, plus quite full parking lots. Other than the Little Blue Heron, it was a case of rounding up all of the usual suspects, at least in the bird department. Also, the flowers were nice, and I got a few good pics of them too, for posting later in the week. Throughout the park the grass was looking pretty long. A combination of a wet spring and the city being unable to staff their parks department, because of the overall labor shortage. Its companion organization, Forest Park Forever, a non-profit dedicated to maintaining the park, doesn’t seem to have the same difficulty. We saw dozens of individuals and teams scattered around the park, each with one of the organization’s signature carts. We spoke with one of these people and he explained that the city is responsible for mowing the grass, while they concentrate on pruning, planting and weeding, i.e., everything else.

You Sunk My Battleship!

Battle of the Grand Basin – With Paddleboat in the Background

There are many times when a visit to the park gives you something new and interesting to see. We were driving past the Grand Basin in Forest Park this week, when Anne said, stop, stop, stop. She had just seen some model warships cruising the waters there. We parked and went over to see what was up. Three former sailors were controlling three model boats, two Burke class destroyers and the pictured cruiser, the USS Rochester. We spoke with the three gentlemen as they radio-controlled their vessels, trying not to run into each other and stay away from the fountains that were spraying all about in the high wind. Human powered boats from the boathouse would occasionally sail by, checking out these oddities. Later, we saw a wedding photographer who was doing some follow-up drone photography for a photoshoot that he had done last weekend. We pointed out the boats to him and he promptly buzzed them.

USS Rochester (CA-124) – 1:48 Scale

This wasn’t my first regatta that I have witnessed on the Grand Basin. The Scouts sometimes have cardboard canoe races, where kids race each other and the clock, to see if they can complete their course before their boat becomes too waterlogged. Below is an old movie of what was probably the first regatta held in what is now Forest Park. During the World’s Fair naval battles were fought using model ships. These models were of Spanish-American warship, where all of the naval battles were decidedly won by the Americans. These boats were not radio controlled. I’m not even sure if the radio had been invented yet, but instead each boat had a man inside. Add explosions and fire and you have a fairly compelling demonstration to watch.