We are dreaming for a White Christmas. Thankfully, the predictions are for a snowfall on Christmas Day. The light snow we received two weeks ago helps set the stage and prepare us for some winter beauty.
Tonight is Christmas Eve. For Mary and I, it will be a quiet and peaceful evening, a time to reflect and celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We will be thinking of our families and friends, who many like us will be spending Christmas physically separated from our loved ones. Our spirits will be with all of you and those who have passed into our Lord’s arms before us.
This is one of my favorite view points in Heatherwood’s Japanese Garden. A large stone natural bridge extends over a stream and a small waterfall. On the far side of the bridge, I can look over a small Japanese maple and the Kotoji lantern to see the pond and Yukimi lantern below. Our five Japanese lanterns are placed around the garden to provide different viewpoint perspectives. As the garden changes color during the seasons, the perspectives change as well. Over time as the surrounding trees, shrubs, and ground covers mature, the perspectives will also change. There seems to be something new every time I walk around the garden.
“Medeval Rhetoric” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
Viewing and thinking about the old Education Hall (now Miller Hall) grotesques makes me appreciate what a well-rounded liberal arts education would be. Education has many dimensions with various perspectives from different points of view ranging across cultures, times, and topics.
I feel a little remorse not being exposed to this level of learning as I progressed through a technical degree. I missed a lot during my formal engineering and business education. Over the years I have filled in many of the gaps through reading and recently on-line classes. I currently enjoy viewing lectures from the “Great Courses” on-line education programs. It is never too late to continue learning.
This posting will close my grotesque series for the time being.
“Grammar Teacher and Students” Miller Hall, University of Washington
We need more of these!
I remember grammar classes in school when growing up from grade school through the first couple of years in high school. They were not my favorite, but I learned a lot. Throughout my professional career, clear writing was imperative and essential to communicate. I am thankful for the grammar education I received in my early years.
Now, grammar is not formally taught in many of our schools. Much of our communication is through social media. Most of it is extremely poorly written and sloppy.
“Astronomy Grotesque” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
Astronomy is a topic that I have always been interested. During my years at the University as an engineering student, I did not have much of an opportunity to take elective classes outside of engineering-related disciplines if I wanted to graduate in 4 years.
I had to wait until I graduated to take a couple of astronomy classes at the University of Washington “Experimental College”. Subsequently I have taken on-line classes through the “Great Courses” to satisfy my curiosity. There is always opportunity to learn something new. Now, I need to learn how to apply a little creative photography to it.
And we are now laying the foundation to a manned landing on Mars!
“The Fish Teacher” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
In this grotesque on Miller Hall, the Roman god Neptune is depicted with a fish over his head. I have spent a couple of hours trying to research the connection between Neptune, a fish, and teaching. No luck so far…
“The Phoenician Teacher” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
This grotesque, the Phoenician Teacher, is also located on the third floor of Miller Hall. Miller Hall, built in 1922, was originally “Education Hall”, thus being decorated with education-related figures. Carl Gould was the building’s architect. Alonzo Victor Lewis created the 44 sculptures adorning the building.
“Chinese Teacher (Confucius) Grotesque” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
The Quadrangle, located in the “Upper Campus” of the University of Washington, is the center point for the classic Collegiate Gothic architecture on campus. This was were the non-engineering students and all the attractive girls had their classes. They did not allow engineers to grace the halls of these classic buildings. We were all too busy with our slide-rules. In the six years that I attended the UW, I never had a class there.
Even though I did not attend any classes there, I had ample time to stroll through the Quad on the way to the Chemistry and Physics Buildings and the Suzzallo Library. While doing so, I would occasionally look up at the strange figures on the buildings. I always called them gargoyles. But as I discovered later, they are really grotesques. They are differentiated from gargoyles in that gargoyles have water coming out of them from rain down spouts.
For the next several postings I will focus on a few of these pieces of art.
This informal Mountain lantern was also added this spring to the Heatherwood Japanese Garden. It quietly sits on the hillside above our “Perch” viewing overlook. Its light will gently grace chairs below. I look forward to spending warm summer evenings listening to the waterfall and overlooking the garden below.
Our new Hokkeji Lantern welcomes our guests into Heatherwood’s Japanese garden. To the left beyond the path (not visible) is a young Acer grisum (paperbark maple). In time, its branches will extend over the path to project the Hokkeji. To the right and behind is a newly-planted pink red-bud. Over time, its branches will extend over the Hokkeji as well. The combination of the two trees and lantern will provide a concealed glimpse of the Japanese garden. Once through the entry, the garden will open up to a pathway rising up the hill to overlook the garden and to another path leading to a hidden waterfall.
As I squint my eyes, I see my imagined vision of what will be in the years ahead.