An Unnatural, Natural Arrangement

The moment I discovered the name of this week’s photo challenge theme (“Arranged“), I knew what pictures I would use for my challenge response.  During my last trip to Chicago (the same one in which I took the photos of the telescopes in the Planetarium), my friends and I decided to eat lunch in Chinatown.  Now, one does not simply go to Chinatown solely to eat – after all, there are plenty of gift shops to go bankrupt in, architecture and statuary to admire, and, in spring, beautiful pear tree blossoms to photograph.

A careful arrangement of nature in the midst of the urban jungle.

In this picture, it is easy to spot the numerous pear trees so carefully arranged within the median decorating Cermak Road (otherwise known as the Chinatown Main Street).

A pear tree in full bloom.

This photo of a single, blooming pear tree was taken during our sojourn through the open market off of Archer Avenue.  Smaller pear trees, such as this one, can be found periodically dotting the walkway through the open market, all tastefully arranged to appear as an oasis of beauty and peace – or as much of an oasis as can be found in as busy a city as Chicago.  I find it ironic that for one to “escape” the feel of the man-made city, one is expected to lose themselves in the nature present within its borders – despite the fact that it was both planted and arranged by human hands.  Nature is not the only force capable of “natural” arrangements anymore.

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The Art of Being Ready

This evening’s post is in response to this last week’s photo challenge, Ready.  The pictures I chose were taken by Jeff Ling, a co-worker of my mother’s, while on vacation in China.

Hotel in Beijing, China

Imagine being met with this scene when entering into the bedroom of your hotel suite!  As far as I was able to find out, this picture was taken at a hotel located in Beijing.  (If you look to the right side of the picture, you will notice that the lamp shades are shaped similar to the Beijing National Stadium Olympic Bird’s Nest.)  The center of this photo is where I want to draw your attention to.

Origami art meets terry cloth!

I can imagine no better way to end a long day of gaping in wonder at Chinese art and architecture than with a warm, relaxing bath – to change the role of those bath towels from bed garnish to bathing necessity.  When I look at those towels I see my definition of “ready”, for, despite being artfully showcased as the Chinese symbol for good luck, they are also symbolic of an action not yet taken – their meaning dependent on timing and perception.  It is only in the fragment of time captured by the picture that the towels represent this sense of “readiness”, both being “ready” to fulfill their purpose as hygiene aides.  After use they are transformed back into ordinary objects, becoming nothing more than a chore to set aside for the housekeeping staff.  Tomorrow they will be “ready” once again.