14 novembre, 2015

14 novembre, 2015 . . .

pour Albert Camus

War in Europe, again.
How ironic
And how parallel

To continental
Historical cycles
This conflict has arisen

To Whenever,
To Wherever,
Perpetual war cataclysm.

We people are a species
Stuck rocking
On our own rodent wheel,

Rock of our own

— ron P. swegman
— 14 novembre, 2015

Enduring November Rain  (NYC 11 2015)

Enduring November Rain
(NYC 11 2015)

— rPs 11 14 2015

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Veterans . . .

Butter & Eggs after rain on Veterans Day, 2015.

Butter & Eggs after rain on Veterans Day, 2015.

Wildflowers, those exposed to so much stress in urban environments, may be presumed to have wrapped up blooming activity by November. Not so along the western edge of Manhattan. Cool wet days under breezy white sky have in succession invigorated lawns and edges alike on the island of Manhattan. The lush green beds support a casserole of multicolored leaves.

The gold of the Ginkgo and Weeping Willow complement the burnt orange of the Sugar Maple, the evergreen and yellow variations of the Norway Maple. The flutter of the individual Black Locust, tiny in comparison to that of the London Plane Tree and Black Oak, dry leaves when stiff the size of a desert plate.

My favorites of the blooming foliage include the fiery tones of the American Sumac, the intricate stylish spades of the living fossil, the Tulip Tree, and the full spectrum splendor of the Liquid Amber, the Sweetgum.

Standing, blooming in their way on the trunks of such trees, one can find lichen in full vigor:

Lichen 11 11 2015

Mushrooms like the Amanita reside in the leaf litter:

November Amanita 11 11 2015

Wildflowers, the second wind of sorts, numerous veterans, though perhaps plain or small or scattered, bloom now in great variety and number. Goldenrod, Galinsoga, Lady’s Thumb, and the Dandelion all still flower here and there. Others encountered during a run in the park may include:

Chicory, Chicorium intybus

Chicory 11 11 2015

Mallow, Marva parviflora

Malva parviflora 11 11 2015

Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris

Mugwort 11 11 2015

Nightshade, Solanum

Nightshade 11 2015

Peppergrass, Lepidium

Peppergrass 11 11 2015

White Snakeroot, Agaratina altissima

White Snakeroot 11  2015

November Rain, a fine song title, and a pillar source of life for a strong stand of West Village wildflower veterans.

– rPs 11 11 2015

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October Ghosts Are Not Green

October Ghosts Are Not Green . . .

Amanita Which One? (NYC 10 2015)

Which One?
(NYC 10 2015)

There is a brief hour or so in morning and in evening both where a walk in the park feels shadowed. Time good to run.

Darkness, the simple absence of sun, comes at a quicker pace in October. The bluebird sky with cirrus vapor trails glowing goes dim in almost a blink when our star dips rather than slides below the horizon. Branches above remain leafy, block the darkening sky, and make a roof. You find yourself feeling enclosed in the outside, feeling fun scared outdoors. Imagination takes the macabre, perhaps Gothic, trailing path within the confines of nature’s haunted house.

The space below the branches is a more quiet place. Scattered yellowed leaves grace the ground. Single crickets scrape out a weak, woody, tonal rhythm like a single string lonesome and slower in step with the cool temperature. The tremulous vibrato creates the scare soundtrack. Some wind in the tree tops helps as well. The leaves will always carry voices.

Progress forward and happen to contemplate how this year a space probe from Earth, New Horizons, encountered Pluto and Charon and revealed their faces. The Ferryman? He of Hades? Spooky times as we drift down a line through the days toward Halloween.

Ghosts along the way do appear more resolute now upon colder, damper, ground. The chilled white caps of the Amanita, the Death Angel, may appear. Perhaps that trio clustered at the base of the ivy? Huddled, it seems, around something hidden?

Jogging along now, faster of foot, find bracketing the paths (in a way that just demanded pun dropped), the shelf fungi. Bracket fungi like the Ganoderma sport high contrast stripes that act as reflectors when spotted and passed by head lamp. Trametes, known also as Turkey Tail, rippled and lined in white like the fins of the brook trout, the inner bracket concentric rings in a range of brown true to the bird. Equally; Autumnly: the match for any tale of spectres encountered along the path lit low.

Bracketed Path (NYC 10 2015)

Bracketed Path
(NYC 10 2015)

Turkey Tail (NYC 10 2015)

Turkey Tail
(NYC 10 2015)

That October evening run in the Manhattan green, remember it formed a loop, a circle, haunted by ghosts lost to the living, uplifted anyway by the living still. Like those white caps, which turned out to be Amanita citrina, the False Death Cap, an edible mushroom spared the table because it so closely resembles its fatal fellow.

New York City harbors paths, routes where ghosts remain to roam, and where that Earthy symbol from ghost stories, a kind of flowering not green, grows.

Ghostly Fungi Gravestone Log (NYC 2015)

Ghostly Fungi
Gravestone Log
(NYC 2015)

– rPs 10 14 2015

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Violet and Vermillion

Violet and Vermillion . . .

Violet and Vermillion: Great Lobelia and Jewelweed (09 2015)

Violet and Vermillion:
Great Lobelia and Jewelweed
(09 2015)

The late summer harvest comes in swaths of white and gold tones. The drive to anywhere sees fields full of Goldenrods and Queen Anne’s Lace. The view comes punctuated by one detail important to tell. Out there, on the road, and even down here, within the city, New York City, there does exist a general wilt of plants along the open expanses where a vehicle or pedestrian passes. Dry days have been set in a long row.

Near the rivers, the adjacent greens retain a flusher state, a fuller color especially where trees, mature, uncut trees, offer shade. Spots where trees stretch out a patchy canopy buffer a cooler, damper shade below. Along edges of light and shadow one may find the most wildflowers underbrush. Yellow Thistles do bloom through arid, weathered, rose bushes. Galinsoga fills fallow flower boxes projecting from the base of town house windows uptown and downtown. Along the park’s green, other, varied, color combos call.

“This is New York!” one neighbor bellows with all politeness. More mellow is the Mugwort stating the same line in the manner a flower communicates its quiet beauty. When in bloom the wild plant you are looking at speaks for this same city just as well. The plant “I” does live here, just as much a neighbor.

More of what “This is New York!” is, is the city where wind off water shushes through branches, places where the Wildflowers of the West Village reside. A blade’s edge of Manhattan faces New Jersey, offers in scattered portions a green face north at The Cloisters and Tryon Park down to Riverside Park down to Hudson River Park all the way to the very tip of The Battery. Where one sees this green from afar, one can up close find wildflowers in the extended, greater, West Village of Manhattan.

Hedge edges bear sights, life, to witness. Plants bloom in organo-color with a variety often appearing in compliment to Charles Blanc’s meticulous starred wheel.

Purple and Orange . . . Violet and Vermillion

Great Lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica, an American native, shares open space in some number with the annual Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis. Color complements: violet Lobelia set on pedicel attached to a rising stalk raceme; vermillion Impantiens gems hung from thin stems in a more rounded bush of thin leaves akin to Nasturtium. Both, too, do bloom with lobes of three. Great Lobelia’s look like a sharp tongue, Jewelweed’s resemble an ear. Number, form, color set and matched, as the US Open, all played out on a background of aged deep green, summer’s end time.

– rPs 09 18 2015

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Summer, Solanum

Summer, Solanum . . .

Solanum nigrum, Manhattan. (08 2015)

Solanum nigrum,
(08 2015)

New York City wakes to the light of August and the news of fifty days and counting when temperatures have held at 80 degree Fahrenheit or more.

Humidity feeds the air and makes the air felt. The act of breathing becomes an even damper labor requiring calories if on a run to survey wildflowers along Manhattan’s banks of the Hudson River.

Inland, the islands holds tree pits colonized like a kind of microcosm of monoculture. Within squares sprout Galinsoga, Lady’s Thumb, Yellow Sow Thistle, and Marestail.

Marestail, Conyza canadensis, Manhattan. (08 2015)

Conyza canadensis,
(08 2015)

Not so much the Asiatic Dayflower. Commelina cummunis, which appreciates seasons of high water and a more modest light.

Asiatic Dayflower does not take to prolonged direct sun exposure. (08 2015)

Asiatic Dayflower does not take to prolonged direct sun exposure.
(08 2015)

This season being dry, and hot, one of the most common sights are of tiny black tomatoes hanging in sparse clumps from vigorous stems and ovate green leaves supporting also tiny flowers that resemble sunnyside eggs shaped into five petals arranged as a star.

Solanum nigrum, the Nightshade. August in the Nightshade, or . . .

. . . a Summer, Solanum, with some others remains the steady news of the day.

– rPs 08 26 2015

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A Wildflower Walk

A Wildflower Walk . . .

Bud & Bloom Hedge Bindweed (07 2015)

Bud & Bloom
Hedge Bindweed
(07 2015)

July has been hot and bright in New York City. Days of sun, dry and breezy, have dominated. A few in between, overcast and muggy, have felt like stretches of time stood still until a brief evening storm clears the air.

Wildflowers have been thriving throughout this pattern, sometimes in colonies of one variety, or in communities of two or more species. All of the plants appear to be in the midst of a good growing season.

Plantago major (07 2015)

Plantago major
(07 2015)

Lady's Thumb & Wood Sorrel (07 2015)

Lady’s Thumb & Wood Sorrel
(07 2015)

Apply some sunscreen and take a wildflower walk. There is a metropolis of wildflowers along the path ahead.

Hudson River Park Path (07 2015)

Hudson River Park Path
(07 2015)

— rPs 07 26 2015

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Bloomsday 2015

Bloomsday 2015 . . .

Catalpa speciosa (Bloomsday 2015)

Catalpa speciosa
(Bloomsday 2015)

“Under the upswelling tide he saw the writhing weeds lift languidly and sway reluctant arms, hising up their petticoats, in whispering water swaying and upturning coy silver fronds. Day by day: night by night: lifted, flooded and let fall. Lord, they are weary: and, whispered to, they sigh.”

– Excerpt from “Episode 3 – Proteus” of Ulysses by James Joyce

Re-Joyce. Today is Bloomsday.

– rPs 06 16 2015

Postscript: I again refer to my definitive narrative on the significance of Bloomsday to Wildflowers of the West Village: “Bloomsday” http://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/06/16/bloomsday/

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