The Rocky Mountains (Horseshoe Mountain in the Mosquitos to be precise) and Jan Fahs, my girlfriend. Two of the most pervasive icons in my life: I live in the shadow of the Rockies, and watch them morning, noon and evening every day. Jan is the one I spend most time with and have chosen to be my companion. Both loom large in my life, like the Pantocrator in a byzantine chapel. Large icons indeed!
Late in the summer every year the Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) blooms prolifically here and there, all around Denver Botanic Gardens. It has become iconic for me as well: a flamboyant symbol of the magnificence of the waning growing season. A token of tender-seeming plants that are quite durable (at least at the Gardens!). An evocation of the Pampas whence it comes. Argentina! that silvery land of promise in the Southern Hemisphere, where Borges and the Andes, tango, gauchos and so much else romantic is encapsulated in this outlandish, utterly magnificent plant.