The Cathedral at Monreale, built between 1170 and 1189, in a hilltown above Palermo, Sicily, is a masterpiece of Arab-Norman Byzantine mosaics created by craftspeople from Constantinople.
Paul Bowles during his life (1910-1999) remained aloof from all the hipsters and hypesters of U.S. letters. Living in self-imposed exile in Tangier, he had cast a spell over such talents as Tennessee Williams, Libby Holman, Truman Capote, and Allen Ginsberg. We revisit an essay penned by Jay McInerny in 1985, on how the inimitable expatriate writer-composer’s dark arts retain their power, even more so 32 years later.
Surrounded by volcanoes, coffee plantations, and picturesque villages, the once-ruined former colonial capital, Antigua Guatemala, remains the most charming city in the Republic, a vibrant and somewhat overly commodified mix of Ladino-Spanish, Kaqchikel-Maya, and multinational Gringo cultures coming together.
Morro Bay, the bounty of sea, dune, bay, and estuary ebb and flow against the sacred Nine Volcanic Sisters, the rocky Morros. Small town charm coexists with protected parkland and one of the few remaining functioning wetland estuaries in overpopulated California, a direct counterpoint to its channelized and endlessly pumped and polluted waterways. The landscape invites migrating birds and tourists, fosters endangered plants and animals, and allows fish populations to thrive.
I am on the trail of John Muir, intending to walk into the wild high country, his “range of light,” inspired by the vision of Ansel Adams who once said: “Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes and easy smile is your museum.”