Category Archives: journal

from Gaston Bachelard, The Psychoanalysis of Fire

The fire confined to the fireplace was no doubt for man the first object of reverie, the symbol of repose, the invitation to repose. One can hardly conceive of a philosophy of repose that would not include a reverie before a flaming log fire. Thus, in our opinion, to be deprived of a reverie before a burning fire is to lose the first use and truly human use of fire. To be sure, a fire warms us and gives us comfort. But one only becomes aware of this comforting sensation after quite a long period of contemplation of the flames; one only receives comfort from the fire when one leans on his elbows on his knees and holds his head in his hands. This attitude comes from the distant past. The child by the fire assumes it naturally. Not for nothing is it the attitude of the Thinker. It leads to a very special kind of attention which has nothing in common with the attention involved in watching or observing. Very rarely is it utilized for any other kind of contemplation. When near a fire, one must be seated; one must rest without sleeping; one must engage in reverie on a specific object.
the general sentiment of the Sienese

il Palio é Vita

We were in Siena during the Palio trials, pretty much by accident. Ended up wishing we could have stayed for the the real race tomorrow (Monday, July 2).

[this is a long mess of a post, lots of images, videos, some sounds…]

the general sentiment of the Sienese
the general sentiment of the Sienese

young men practicing the flag work in Santuario Santa Caterina’s piazza – with little brother documenting
flag practice  flag practice flag practice

Procession to the Contrade Chiocciola church, the night before the first trials

First trial runs – for horse selections

testing the starting rope drop

horses coming out onto the campo

coming to the line



The Campo filled up for the later trial runs – full colors and much rowdier…
Campo full for Real trial run
The Contrade children groups had some of the best seats, and they were also some of the fiercest taunters
 Campo Colors & kids' bleachers Campo Kid's bleachers
and the adults tried to out-shout each other
a shot of the main bleachers
Some audio of the shouting contests

pan of the filling-up campo

horses and riders process by the Contrade kids

the run itself was a bit anticlimactic, at least for us gringos who didn’t know what to look for…

The track after the run
track after the run

We caught the Chiocciola flags and drums procession later that evening:

Crossing the Milvian Bridge

Bounce House, Roman Style.

Across the street at the US Embassy to the Vatican.

Borromini Crypt - window into crypt from stairs

San Giovanni Fiorentini – Borromini Crypt and the Magdelene’s Foot.

Returned to San Giovanni Fiorentini, as we were unable to visit the Falconieri crypt on our Borromini walk a couple weeks ago. It’s Borromini’s last work before he took his own life in 1667.

I went directly to the altar and found the somewhat secretive stairs, but no lights were on and I wondered if it was actually open.  After wandering around for a few minutes looking for some church official, suddenly a squat, older priest in full garb came out of the sacristy area and began speaking with the flower-tender. And then I noticed he was carrying the silver reliquary of Mary Magdelene’s foot. “One of only three known,” as Corey stated on our tour. He was carrying it casually like a shoebox of notes. I hesitated approaching him, but I really wanted in to that crypt, so I just went up to him and the foot and asked. He immediately said “si, si,” and gestured me to follow him back to the altar, where he hit the right light switch with his free hand and directed me down the stairs, the other arm still cradling the foot with its little peep-window into Mary’s piede.