You Expected To Be Sad In the Fall

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Fall Colors University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, Texas (click to enlarge)

Fall Colors
University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, Texas
(click to enlarge)

Unappeased Yearning To Return.

“The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”
― Milan Kundera, Ignorance

After riding around in the increasingly inclement weather Saturday at the Cedars Open Studio Tour and Ride I was sore in the morning. Riding in the rain always wears me out… I’m not sure why. On Sunday was another bike ride – one I have been looking forward to. It was time for the 2014 Dallas Tweed Ride. The idea is to dress up in nostalgic dress – as best as possible and go out on vintage bicycles – if you have one.

I was one of the brave few that rode in the Tweed Ride last year. It was bitter cold – though still a lot of fun. I have a tweedy beret and a Goodwill jacket that I can wear with slacks and a tie – not historically accurate or as good looking as most others, but at least I can put forth a little effort dressing up. I put together my clothing and thought about my bike. I do have a semi-vintage road bike, but Nick has taken it over and installed clipless pedals so I can’t use it. I decided to take my folder – not vintage at all, but at least it’s efficient.

Thinking about the route I decided to drive down and park in the familiar lot on the west side of the Continental Bridge Park. I knew the ride would start downtown and end at the Turner House in Oak Cliff. I picked that spot because I new the ride back to my car would be mostly downhill.

I rode across the bridge park and through downtown to Dealy Plaza, where everyone was gathering for the ride. The weather was beautiful – it seemed almost impossible after the cold rain which had been falling the night before. If anything, it was a little warm… at least in the sun and out of the wind. I’m not good at counting numbers in a group like this, but I would guess about a hundred. That’s a pretty good group of people wearing odd costumes and wheeling around on outdated means of transport.

I knew a lot of folks from other bike rides – although some were surprisingly hard to recognize. We gathered up and rode up Main Street through downtown, then turned south and rode to Dallas Heritage Village. I remembered riding there once before for a Jazz Age Sunday Social. We stopped for some photos around the gazebo.

The Dallas Tweed Ride 2014 Posing in Dallas Heritage Village gazebo Dallas, Texas (click to enlarge)

The Dallas Tweed Ride 2014
Posing in Dallas Heritage Village gazebo
Dallas, Texas
(click to enlarge)

Dallas Tweed Ride 2014

Dallas Tweed Ride 2014

Dallas Tweed Ride 2014

Dallas Tweed Ride 2014

We rode back through downtown and then across the Trinity River on the Houston Viaduct. Then came the long uphill ride from the river to Bishop Arts and on up 8th Street to the Turner House. I’m afraid that this stretch pretty much wore me out and I was happy and exhausted to reach our destination.

There was a lot of fun – food, beer, (and water), games and great people. I brought my camera, of course, and will put up a few photos – though I didn’t take as many as I intended. I wanted to hang out without the stress of shooting too many pictures. There were a lot of other folks, better than me, taking pictures – you can see some on the Facebook Page and also, the Dallas Observer Photographer was there and put up a page of shots – plus the Dallas Morning News Photographer.

Dallas Tweed Ride

Dallas Tweed Ride

Dallas Tweed Ride 2014

Dallas Tweed Ride 2014

Once the sun began to set everyone started to take off home and I rode by myself – as I had planned, coasting down Edgefield to West Dallas and then Commerce Street into the river bottoms and back to my car. I had a fun time, though I was inexplicably bothered by how hard it was for me to make it up that long uphill. I also wished I had a vintage bike to ride and better clothes. I guess that’s to be expected this time of year – and fodder for upcoming resolutions.

The Glint Of Light On Broken Glass

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
― Anton Chekhov

Saturday was the annual Cedars Open Studios Tour and Bike Friendly Cedars had organized a bike ride to the various studios and galleries. I had been looking forward to this for months and was concerned as the day approached that there was a prediction of violent thunderstorms. Still, I was up for giving it a shot.

As a compromise, I did drive down in my car instead of taking the train – that way I had a refuge and means of transport if the weather turned really bad. I also took my commuter bike instead of my folder – the big tires, weatherproof cargo box, and fenders are designed to get through any weather. I parked at Lee Harvey’s, dragged my bike out of the back, and pedaled down to the Bowler Hat to meet up with the other folks.

We gathered together and rode off, touring a large number of artists, their spaces, and their work. It was a big variety, from ceramics, jewelry and paintings to gigantic sculptures and architectural works. Everybody was very friendly and there was even a good bit of food and drink set out too.

The weather held out until the middle of the afternoon when it turned cold and rainy. I bailed on the bike tour and hid out under the awning at Lee Harvey’s for a bit. It helped that there was an excellent band, Shoot Low Sheriff, finishing out a set. Clay Stinnett – the artist that painted the work I bought at For the Love of Kettle – was there showing off some paintings.

About that time the sun was setting and the heavens really opened up. I wanted to go to the finale of the evening at Bowman Hot Glass, so I unpacked my rain gear and headed out.

Despite the weather, there was a big crowd at Bowman. A lot of the folks I had seen here and there during the day also ended up at Bowman. I bought a glass Christmas Ornament and carefully packed it into an extra pannier that I brought along.

The highlight was the molten glass Christmas tree. A large structure of wood and iron was brought out and placed in the rain, surrounded by a safety zone demarcated by yellow police tape. A sound system boomed out an appropriate accompaniment. Two women dressed as glow-in-the-dark angels came out and garnished the structure with rolls of paper tape. Then a man in a silver heat suit and a torch lumbered from the building and set the paper and wood on fire.

The glass furnaces inside the building were opened and the bright orange glow bathed the cold and wet crowd outside. Then three glassblowers began grabbing giant blogs of glowing glass on the ends of long blowpipes, carrying them out to the tree, and dribbling the thick liquid all over the tree. In an intricate and dangerous hot dance they took turns running out with their molten burdens, holding them over the tree, then returning for another load.

The hot glass ignited all the remaining unburned wood, flooding the entire sculpture with flame. After a number of trips, the iron armature within was completely covered with strands of glass. It really did end up looking like a Christmas tree – festooned with a thick layer of crystal icicles.

Finally, they finished and everyone cheered. I packed my bike up and set out in the rain and dark to ride the few blocks to my car. I was very grateful for my fenders and Gore-Tex rain gear.

As I pedaled out I took one last look at the tree. Unfortunately, the falling rain was too much of a thermal shock and it shattered most of the glass tree – but it was incredible watching its creation.

Christmas tree made of fire and glass, Bowman Hot Glass, Dallas, Texas

Christmas tree made of fire and glass, Bowman Hot Glass, Dallas, Texas

One With Carved Flames

“Harvey wasn’t interested in the clothes, it was the masks that mesmerized him. They were like snowflakes: no two alike. Some were made of wood and of plastic; some of straw and cloth and papier-mâché. Some were as bright as parrots, others as pale as parchment. Some were so grotesque he was certain they’d been carved by crazy people; others so perfect they looked like the death masks of angels. There were masks of clowns and foxes, masks like skulls decorated with real teeth, and one with carved flames instead of hair.”
― Clive Barker, The Thief of Always

Dallas Museum of Art Dallas, Texas

Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, Texas