“The intellect of the wise is like glass; it admits the light of heaven and reflects it.”
— Augustus Hare

Skyscraper reflections, Seattle

Seattle skyscraper reflecting the tile roof of an old church

Seattle skyscraper reflecting the tile roof of an old church

Skyscraper refelctions, Seattle


What lovely abstractions one sees reflected in the windows of the skyscrapers of Seattle.  It’s like looking into those fun house mirrors at the circus.  The singular images in each of the rectangular windows above remind me of the individual frames of a film.  What is the story they tell?

“Architecture is the alphabet of giants; it is the largest set of symbols ever made to meet the eyes of men.  A tower stands up like a sort of simplified statue, of much more than heroic size.”
— G. K. Chesterton

Contemplating Blue

August 23, 2013

“We love to contemplate blue, not because it advances to us, but because it draws us after it.”
— Goethe


Blue skies with skyscraper

Blue skies with skyscraper

“People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
— Proverb

Vancouver's glass skyline with red and yellow houseboats

My husband and I just returned from a weekend getaway to Vancouver, B.C.  We traveled on Amtrak, departing Seattle on Saturday morning and returning on the late Sunday train.  It’s been many years since we’ve spent a day in Vancouver, and we enjoyed walking the streets of a “foreign” city.  The heart of Vancouver is built on a peninsula, so it is surrounded on three sides by water.  It is a city of glass — many, many towers of glass form the city’s skyline.  I wonder how this openness, this permanent exposure, affects people’s sense of privacy.  I imagine that when the proverb about people living in glass houses was first uttered in the 1600s and 1700s, few could have conceived of the glass skyscrapers that have become common in our lives today.  With the internet, blogs, and social networks, much of our lives are open books.  Maybe living in a glass house is just another aspect of our transparency.

Sunday morning street in Vancouver

Vancouver's waterfront with soaring tent-like peaks of Canada Place

Canada's maple leaf flag


April 6, 2010

“Hour by hour the sun and the rain and the rust, and the press of time running into centuries, play on the building inside and out and use it.”
     — Carl Sandburg, from “Skyscraper”

Reflections off the side of a Seattle skyscraper

Seattle cityscape

Window reflections under the viaduct, Seattle

These photos remind me of contemporary abstract paintings.  They are beautiful in their own way, devoid of people.  But there is something alluring about reflections in glass. 

The Beauty of a City
by Elizabeth Dawson

The beauty of a city seems to be
Not in the architecture, or a spire,
Nor edifice, or spider-work of wire;
For beauty is too wild, untamed, and free
To stay concrete, inert, for all to see,
Dressing a structure in the drab attire
That clothes embodiments of our desire
To build in stone, some strange hyperbole.
The beauty of a city seems aloof —
Long undiscovered by a stranger there,
But we, who daily weaves its warp and woof,
May pick the tangled thread up everywhere:
It is the friendliness of market places
In the rain; and smiles on passing faces.