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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 9:03 pm 
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Note: Some of this material has been cut and pasted from the "Daily Nature Pics" thread, in which Voronwë dared somebody to post pictures of oil refineries. Of course I had to do just that, and because people agreed that the pics had an odd beauty, we decided to begin a new thread about how beauty is sometimes found in highly unlikely places, if you look for it. There is a lot of editing here because an effort has been made to eliminate remarks relevant only to the original thread.

••••••••••

I agree with hobby that man-made structures, in such pics, ought to illustrate harmony in man and nature's work. These obviously do not do that, and in the daytime such places are as ugly as you'd imagine. But at night they have a weird beauty...at least, I always thought as much as a child. It was all about the lights and colors. Today I think they have a sort of Blade Runner-esque look that is somehow beautiful and depressing at the same time.

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Last edited by Whistler on Fri Nov 25, 2005 5:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 9:13 pm 
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I think they do look fascinating and, yes, beautiful in a strange way!
Seen in such fabulous light, they make you forget how depressing such structures really are.
I used to think so when I lived in London for one winter-semester, on the 11th floor of a student hall of residence. The city lights in yellow, white, red, blue and green made it look like some enormous Christmas decoration.

Would you not like to have a seperate thread for this kind of thing?
You could either repost the pics, or a kindly admin could split this off into a new thread. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 9:26 pm 
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hobby, I was going to suggest the same thing. With W's permission, of course.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 9:30 pm 
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You never need my permission for anything.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 10:33 pm 
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What shall we say is the purpose of this thread? And what is the source and meaning of the quote?


Last edited by Whistler on Fri Nov 25, 2005 5:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 10:41 pm 
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Thanks for agreeing to the split, Whistler!

The title is inspired by the nature of your pics, Whistler.
I must admit it would seem to say that the thread is for this kind of picture - beauty where you don't expect it.
I like it, but it seems we'd need yet another thread for pics of genuinely beautiful man-made structures. :blackeye:

Sorry the quote is obscure - it's a poem by Emerson that I like - I thought the poem was fairly famous, but I couldn't find a text online by a quick search, so it probably isn't.
Let me type it up for you from my poetry book! :)

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:
Let me go where'er I will
I hear a sky-born music still:
It sounds from all things old,
It sounds from all things young,
From all that's fair, from all that's foul,
Peals out a cheerful song.
It is not only in the rose,
It is not only in the bird,
Nor only where the rainbow glows,
Nor in the song of woman heard,
But in the darkest, meanest things
There alway, alway something sings.
'Tis not in the high stars alone,
Nor in the cups of budding flowers,
Nor in the redbreast's mellow tone,
Nor in the bow that smiles in showers,
But in the mud and scum of things
There alway, alway something sings.


I must admit, I've never had Emerson's optimism and universal love that is expressed in this poem, but I've wished I had it, and I like the poem very much. :)


Last edited by truehobbit on Fri Nov 25, 2005 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:19 pm 
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Yes, I'd heard the line, but in this case I assumed that Tolkien figured into it somehow.


Last edited by Whistler on Fri Nov 25, 2005 5:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:20 pm 
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Location: The wastes of Northern Rhudaur . . .
I find it odd that the word "alway" is used, instead of the more common "always" . . . the poem has always ;) looked odd to me because of that.

As for oil refineries, we live across the river from what is affectionately known as Refinery Row. We are a fair distance away, but at night, and especially in the winter, the way they are lit up makes them look like some distant elven fairyland . . . I often imagine the lights are not electric lamps on some metal gantry, but delicate elven lamps burning softly amid the branches and along the trunks of towering mallorn trees . . .

:D:D

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:24 pm 
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Exactly my experience, SilverScribe. I grew up in east Texas, and the sight of the oil refineries at night was one of the most powerful esthetic experiences of my early life.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:24 am 
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It's interesting that such human structures, when viewed in natural light, do indeed look ugly. Natural dark, in tandem with artificial human light, manages to lend them a transient redeeming quality - a strange beauty.

As for the general concept - beauty being found in unlikely places - it calls to mind the U2 lyric:

A place that has to be believed to be seen.

As we view a place, consciously believing in its beauty, we will it into being as such.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:41 am 
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I spent some time installing instrumentation on Oil Rigs in the North Sea and elsewhere. When a rig is being worked on or commissioned the staffing level is higher than the accomodation available on the rig. As a result there are mobile platforms called Flotels which are secured to the stationary Rig by an extendable bridge while commissioning is underway. One of the most startlingly beautiful moments of my life was when I stood in the center of that bridge one December night at dusk with the Flotel on one side, the Rig on the other, both lit up like Christmas trees, the North Atlantic three hundred feet below me, the stars starting to peak through and nothing but ocean around me. The wind was blowing from the north directly into my face and it brought with it a flurry of snow.

No photograph could ever have captured that moment, but all the same I wish I had one to share with you.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:23 pm 
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What makes a thing beautiful? I want to know.

When I was little, I used to love to see the rainbows in the puddles underneath the platform where my Dad changed the oil in his tractor and car. I even used to pour a little oil or gas on purpose into water to see the colours! I poured some on Mum's little fishpond with tragic results. :( But the rainbow colours are still pretty. ;)

We can look at human-built things and think them beautiful because we recognize the skill and daring that went into their creation. Or we can think a house is beautiful because it is home.

Beauty in dailiness is a matter of "fitness", I think. A beautiful thing is right for its place, and our response to it is our response to the suitableness of the thing. I have a shelf-full of little green made-in -England crockery bowls, the kind that are white inside and were used in hotels and restaurants. They are heavy, smooth, well made, and I like to pick them up and turn them around. I like to use them when I cook, I admire the little dishes in a line, one holding spices, one with a bit of butter the size of an egg, one with vanilla, and so on. I feel connected to them, and to their maker, and to all the other hands that once used them. This is a human thing, the longing to be connected in the most mundane ways.

I often shop in secondhand stores. I don't NEED anything any more, as a matter of fact I am trying desperately to de-clutter my life. But then, I come across a tablecloth or napkin that is trimmed with tatted lace, or embroidered, or has cut-work edges and I can't NOT buy it. These little bits of fabric are beautiful in themselves, I suppose, but it is the feeling of connectedness that moves me to actually pay for them. I see the hands of all the women who made them and washed them and ironed them and folded them carefully and put them in a linen cupboard or velvet lined drawer and I can't bear to think someone might bundle them up as rags!

I do understand the beauty and grandeur of oil platforms and skyscrapers. I see that kind of beauty in a 747 taking off, or the high curving line of the Mission bridge.

But I like the little songs of homely things, the reflection of red curtains in the shiny sides of the tea kettle, a table nicely set for an ordinary non-festive meal, a bed newly, tautly made with clean sheets dried on a line outside.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:28 pm 
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Marvelous post, vision. I'm too impressed to say anything beyond that!

...except, perhaps, to add that this is precisely the sort of thing we had in mind for this thread.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:48 pm 
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Whistler wrote:
Marvelous post, vision. I'm too impressed to say anything beyond that!

...except, perhaps, to add that this is precisely the sort of thing we had in mind for this thread.


:love: Thank you.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:04 pm 
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Location: The wastes of Northern Rhudaur . . .
vison wrote:
But I like the little songs of homely things, the reflection of red curtains in the shiny sides of the tea kettle, a table nicely set for an ordinary non-festive meal, a bed newly, tautly made with clean sheets dried on a line outside.


Ooohhh, what a perfect image, a bed newly made with clean sheets dried on a line outside . . . *sigh*

One of my fondest childhood memories was the sound of the wringer washer chugging away in the kitchen on Saturday mornings, my mother putting the laundry through the wringer into the rinse water held in twin washtubs, the first filled with water that gently steamed a scent of Fleecy into the air, and the second clear rinse that just . . . gently steamed.

And that night, always, the first moments of burying my face in a pillow case and sheets that smelled of the sunshine and the windiness of the afternoon, that crisp, pure scent that nothing man made can ever hope to duplicate . . .

Is there beauty in a memory? A mental snapshot in time and space that is indelibly etched somewhere on one of our brain's immense array of individual little canvases, visible to us in a moments recall, but invisible and often impossible to describe to someone else?

ponders

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:12 pm 
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Oh, yes, sheets dried on the line are beautiful. I remember when I was little sheets were hanging outside in winter, frozen rigid and ringing like iron.

I love drying my son's things outside, over my lemon bush and mint and near jasmine. Now that I'm temporarily without a washing machine, I had to resort to laundromat and the towels smell all wrong. Not bad, you understand, just wrong!

Another sight that I find beautiful is the freeway at night, when it's laid out far ahead of me like a many-stranded necklace - diamonds on the left, rubies on the right. And that dance the cars do at complicated intersection, two passing each other in straight lines, then two turning left, so precise and stately.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:17 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
Oh, yes, sheets dried on the line are beautiful. I remember when I was little sheets were hanging outside in winter, frozen rigid and ringing like iron.

I love drying my son's things outside, over my lemon bush and mint and near jasmine. Now that I'm temporarily without a washing machine, I had to resort to laundromat and the towels smell all wrong. Not bad, you understand, just wrong!

Another sight that I find beautiful is the freeway at night, when it's laid out far ahead of me like a many-stranded necklace - diamonds on the left, rubies on the right. And that dance the cars do at complicated intersection, two passing each other in straight lines, then two turning left, so precise and stately.


:) Yes. That's a lovely thought.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:03 pm 
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Thanks vison. :)

Another thing I used to think beautiful was a steel plant. We used to go on field trips to a steel plant where I lived, and I remember iron, blidning like that last ray of sunset, pouring out of the huge dipper, sparks flying like fireworks. And the white-hot cylinders gliding along the rolls, glaring bright under the black crust, as the air around them shimmered with heat.

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ETA: and every time I open this forum I read the name of it as Arda Unmarried. And then I am puzzled.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:50 pm 
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Edited to move the architectural images to the proper thread.

:oops:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:16 pm 
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I love Frelga's iron works! :)

And vison's post above! :love:

Sorry I haven't read this thread for so long! :oops:

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but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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