i visited my father for almost two weeks recently. he lives in kansas city, the place in which i grew up. i seldom visit any longer-there never seems to be enough time, and, furthermore, it is expensive to get to from the east coast. however, since my father was ill, i made the time. it was good. since i was without my children i was given the gift of being able to view the places of my childhood in a way that i had been unable to before. certain landmarks that had been taken for granted by me earlier in my life took on mythical qualities. in particular, i became transfixed by a group of factories by the missouri river, with bright candy cane striped smokestacks. they seemed so surreal and slightly absurd against the grey days and the muddy, murky river. i am sure i had seem them many times before, but, i never noticed them. i was really struck by the notion of how much i ignored because it was familiar. i probably missed a lot. now that i am back at home, i hope to notice more here. visual magic is everywhere.