Nina and I went to Knoxville, TN, yesterday for her early birthday present of tickets to a James Taylor concert. We spent the day doing some sightseeing before the main event.
First we took a long walk through the lovely Ijams Nature Center. A log just a few feet from the Tennessee River was studded with hundreds of mushrooms. I decided this photo of some of them worked best in black and white:
This is a "geologic fold."
Bee on a sunflower:
This magnificent creature is a red-tailed hawk. It has an irreparably damaged wing, and therefore can't be released back into the wild, so the nature center rehabilitated it and uses it for education about raptors. Her name, unofficially, is Tiger.
Next we went up into the Sunsphere, a structure built for the 1982 World's Fair. I have no good photos from that part of the day.
Then it was on to the Knoxville Museum of Art, just a stone's throw from the Sunsphere. One intriguing piece was this one, by Devorah Sperber. It's constructed of spools of thread:
There's a spherical lens on a post in front of the work, and when you look through it, you see this:
This is one of the creepiest sculptures I've ever seen. It's made of silicone, and it's extraordinarily lifelike:
We had dinner at Sunspot, a funky restaurant on the edge of the University of Tennessee campus. Highly recommended if you're in the area.
And then the concert. I didn't try sneaking any videos, like a lot of people were doing. (See here, for example.) But it was great. Even after 45 years or so of performing and thousands of concerts, there was not a single second when I got the impression that he was "phoning it in." He looked and felt fully engaged with the music, his band, and the audience for every song. I'm delighted to have seen him live.
Except for the heat and the humidity--OMG, the humidity!--it was a thoroughly delightful day. I'm lucky to have had such a wonderful companion to share it with.