Attention, Extraterrestrial Visitors!

Notice: Our spacecraft are not weaponized.
But our young men are armed–against
each other. Therefore, do not wear our
disguise. That would have side
effects. Which is a side effect,
life, or death? Bring answers.

You will leave with doubts.
Refuse our parting gifts.
We‘ll forget your visit.

After centuries, our
progeny will find
your marks and
carvings. They
will think we
must have
that you

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Hotel Aston, Paris

2014 Hotel Aston Paris cropped 1

My trip sketchbooks are a simple record of what my surroundings look like. Last June, I enjoyed Hotel Aston in Paris, a boutique hotel in the Cite’ Bergere, a charming somewhat hidden location. The hotel is one among several on an “open cul de sac” with a little cobblestone “exit” lane separating one part of the hotel from the other.  Also cobblestoned and stone-vaulted as well is one of the two streets leading from a busy 9th arrondissement shopping street  into Cite’ Bergere, its several hotels and a theater.


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Doors to Old Copper Studios

The doors to old copper studios in Durfort in southwestern France are weathered, colorful and heavy. On some you’ll find a doorknocker shaped like a hand rapping,  or the name of one of the town’s original coppersmiths engraved on a placque, or a mailbox.  Last May when wandering Durfort’s few cobblestone streets with my sketchbook  I drew many charming old doors and lots of hand-shaped doorknockers .2014 Durfort Cropped Copper Studios Scan 141680006

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The Salt Mine of Memory

Memory flavors each day.
Abundant memory preserves us
during lean times.
Too much memory
raises blood pressure.
Memory is salt.
Don’t forget me.

Memory–essential for life.
Mining salt harshly–a sentence
meted out as punishment. Mining
memory—retribution, penalty,
or insight, boon, blessing?
Memory is salt.
Don’t forget me.

In an old Polish salt mine,
a cathedral, three chapels,
all carved of rock salt
by miners. Visitors pray,
venerate, reflect.
Salt is memory.
Don’t forget me.

An abandoned salt mine–1500 acres
–100 miles of roads– buried
under the city of Detroit.
Can memory, like a salt mine,
outlive usefulness?
Memory is salt.
Don’t forget me.

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The Stations of the Year

“Till summer folds her miracle…when sacrament is done”
Emily Dickinson, Poem #342

Chalice after chalice opened day after day
Until autumn crocus filled and faded.
That holy season closed
with their benediction.

Blessed be the smaller celebrations
of winter camellia and Lenten rose,
while convents of clouds shed
rain and snow, winter’s ministrations,
and underground sacred preparation
for earth’s long resurrection

©2015 Marguerite Beck-Rex

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Hard Hat Woman and Construction Signs

Hardhat Woman and Signs 3DC has an abundant distribution of construction signs and workers wearing hard hats.  Few of DCs hard hats are worn by women, but on occasion, when  two-way traffic is reduced to using  the same one lane, the sign is reversed from Slow to Wait by a woman. In both the US and the UK, there’s been a concerted effort during recent years to open non-traditional jobs (construction, plumbing, electrical work, etc.) to women. When I first spotted a hard hat wearing woman on a DC street repair crew, I  began to  look carefully at all construction sites I passed.   Whether the work site is one of  street repair or building construction it is rare to find a woman on DC’s  hard hat working crews.  I’ve looked.  They aren’t there.



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Artist’s Retreat in Durfort, France

2014 Blog La Cascade Exterior FrontThis is the door to La Cascade.  Last May I was one of a small group of American artists studying and working at this artists’ retreat in the medieval village of Durfort in the Midi-Pyrenees region of the south of France.  At the bottom of this drawing you’ll see a very narrow canal,  one of three running in the center of the three streets in this old coppersmiths’ village. In the old days the canals washed debris away from copper studios.  Today cars must straddle those same canals to drive on one of these cobbled streets, and pedestrians must take a “giant step” to cross them.

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A Moment of Peace Within all the Bustle

2013 ps edited snow hilltop jpg Scan 133580000Winter Solstice can be a time to enjoy and explore quiet and inner peace.   Midwinter–the year’s shortest days, longest nights, and for some of us the hush of snow.  I welcome the respite from shopping, wrapping and festivities  that a snow scene can bring.    Nature slows down, people speed up.  It’s comforting to catch moments of quiet within all the bustle.

©2014 Marguerite Beck-Rex

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Winter’s Wardrobe

In the cold time of short days and longest nights

evergreens preen proudly in wraps of needle green,

while humbler trees’ branches, unclothed until spring,

bear chill. Then  snow in its pity shawls them with white

as it quilts and carpets frost-desolate ground that

cradles trees’ slumbering roots.

In the depths of winter, when nature’s bones are bare

and reaching toward the sky without a leaf to wear,

lace swirls and plummets from above and hovers in the air

before it blankets all below

with silence.

©2014 Marguerite Beck-Rex


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Bordeaux to Paris, Views from a Train

2014  Blog TGV 1 2nd view Bourdeaux-St. Jean to Paris Scan 2As my TGV train raced from Bordeaux to Paris last May, as quickly as I could I sketched the scenes speeding past my window.  A French panorama changing from cemeteries to bridges to palaces rolled past as I captured as much as I could in my  sketch book.  On arriving in Paris, I put away pen and sketchbook to juggle suitcases and art supplies, make my way through a train station, and tired but happy, find a cab to my Paris hotel. .

©2014 Marguerite Beck-Rex

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