Pictures and observations from my recent trip to Scotland and Norway.
The cultural environment in Norway helps us see the various intersections between past, present, and future.
Mackay Brown passed everything “through the eye of the needle of Orkney.” Evocative images and wonderful stories filled our visit.
A lovely book on turn-of-the-century Glasgow was a perfect read to prepare for an upcoming Scottish trip.
In preparation for a tour this spring, I catch up on a Shetland Island murder mystery series.
Great communities connect people to place, know where they want to go, and work tirelessly to make it happen.
Captivated by a life-affirming fresco.
Donald Trump, you may have read, recently visited Japan. I also just wrapped up a tour of the Land of the Rising Sun. At the risk of being the target of a derisive tweet or internet trolls, it is fair to say that I had the better trip. The two-week National Trust Tours exploration of Japan, with a focus on its coastal cities and sites, certainly broadened my mind. Not only were the people and places welcoming, but the sharing of perspectives from our guides, study tour lecturers, and fellow travelers enriched an already heady experience. The World Heritage sites, such as Todai-ji Temple in Nara, the capital of Japan from 710-784 CE, were powerful and moving, especially as one found places away from the crowds to privately indulge in the architecture, gardens, and spiritual meaning of the spaces. More modern sites, such as Hiroshima, the Adachi Museum of Art and Gardens, and I.M. Pei’s Miho Museum, were also important touchstones for understanding parts of life in today’s Japan. It was at the more out-of-the-way places, …
We need to remember the basic things that make us human, helping us work together in community. We need to get to the heartbeat.
Linking the passions of America’s founding fathers with those of the ruling classes of Asia wasn’t on my agenda when I left for a two-week National Trust Tour of Japan and South Korea earlier this month. Sometimes serendipity just strikes. It was pure chance that I began reading Andrea Wulf’s Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation as I was leaving for my first trip to Asia. I was absorbed in her illuminating study of the passion for gardening, agriculture, and botany of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison—America’s best-known founding fathers—as I was entering a world where exquisite gardens were the obsession of Japan’s ruling class. The juxtaposition was fascinating and delightful. I became acquainted with Wulf through one of my favorite books, her 2015 work The Invention of Nature, with its description of how Alexander von Humboldt radically reshaped the way we thought of our relationship to the natural world. Founding Gardeners, written in 2011, isn’t as consistently strong, but is an enlightening read in its own right. …