Wednesday, August 10, 2016

reflections in glass

reflections in glass
striped awning, striped bench, two friends
summer excursion

My friend Sallie and I both take joyfully Julia Cameron's injunction in The Artist's Way to take a weekly artist's walk. So on a mild summer day we drive an hour east to Burlington Iowa, an old town on the Mississippi. When we park (no parking meters), the street slopes down to the river two blocks away. Our first stop is the Art Center, for "Global Faces" by Maurice Sanders, dozens of portraits of native peoples from all around the world. Well done! I'm envious of this photographer's travels and ability to poignantly capture all those faces.

Outside the gallery, Salllie poses on a colorful bench that says Art Knows No Age. How true.

A big building that takes up a full block is being renovated. Pop art.

One of the many old churches in the downtown area is getting a tuck-pointing by a man on a high cherry-picker. The buildings seem to lean up the steep hills of this river town, originally called Shok-ko-kon, Flint Hills, by the Sac and Fox tribes. This town is famous for Snake Alley, a one block serpentine brick lane, now the site of an annual grueling bike race, uphill!

For lunch we discover Digger's Rest, a little coffee and sandwich shop run by an Asian woman. Her mother doesn't speak English but has the biggest smile when she delivers our meals. 

I order a chicken and avocado wrap and a fresh blackberry smoothie. Too hot for coffee, though they have an impressive selection of "specially sourced" organic coffee beans.

Next we walk west a block and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring a series of little shops all in one block on the south side of the street. Fiber Addicts is bursting with gorgeous yarns and cotton quilting yard goods, set off with antiques, including a spinning wheel and drop spindle. Seeing a lovely quilt wall hanging, Sallie goes into shopping mode. After all, birthdays and Christmas are almost upon us!

Weird Harold's Records, a real throwback in time. Apparently you can still buy recently recorded records as well as oldies, and a record player.

Also some of the old hippie accessories, such as incense. 

While Sallie shops for birthday cards, I laugh at the hilarious magnets on a Coca Cola case. Sallie buys a few of these as well.

High on a wall way in the back of the shop, I discover a collection of antique mannikin heads modeling antique hats. I'm a hat person, so I'm totally enchanted. I want that little straw saucer with the red ribbon. Fortunately, they're not for sale.

At The Tattered Parasol, Sallie finds a fun coffee mug for one of her daughters. We both slather on some Naked Bee Pomegranate & Honey lotion from a tester dispenser (no artificial ingredients). I check out the rack of colorful Happy Socks (mostly cotton, too) and the room full of antiques in the back. They also have a connected store full of ornaments, including Disney and Hallmark, but the 2016 "Frozen" ornament (for my granddaughter) isn't out yet.

By this time I feel like we've been snaking in and out of shops in "Shopper's Alley" and it's time for a snack. Voila! A sign on Nature's Corner (on the corner of the block, of course), says "Frozen Peach Yogurt." They only serve one flavor per day, but peaches are in season, so no problem. Gallon glass jars filled with seeds and dry beans line the wall in back of the counter.

This must have been an old pharmacy. They've kept the antique rolling ladders, still used to access the rows of vitamins and other supplements. 

We wander through the store, which is really two connected stores, eating our curly cue cones (deliciously cold and not too sweet). Both of us try some of the testers of essential oils, clary sage on one wrist, lavender on another. Sallie buys more goodies, teas, a protein bar, African black soap, organic buckwheat cereal. All my senses feel completely saturated. Neither of us even stops when we pass a sidewalk sale. Time to head home after a memorable artist's walk.

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