Vernal Equinox 2017

Vernal Equinox 2017 . . .

A Thousand Words About 32 Degrees Fahrenheit.
(NYC 03 2017)

A photo can, at times, say more than words; it can almost give you a chill.

Spring is here.

Happy Vernal Equinox from the still snowy western shore of Manhattan!

– rPs 03 20 2017

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Media Encounter

Media Encounter . . .

Say

Say “Chickweed.”
(Stellaria media, NYC, 02 2017)

Bright white drops like elongated undyed eggs of Easter. The first Galanthus nivalis were sighted in an otherwise fallow Manhattan flowerbed on Sunday, February 19. Blooms succulent and upright enough; they must have appeared several days earlier. Someone may need to go out more.

Out there, the sky a mix of overcast patched with blue, the grounds have remained cool and damp since the last freeze’s thaw. There is, on the level, vibrant green to be seen wild, growing.

The excitement for me this time out stems from my encounter with the media, pun intended. Happy sight it is to see the immigrant Stellaria media chickweed spreading about in loose communities at the base of planted pines. The tannic, more acidic soil of the evergreen does not seem to be minded by Stellaria of the West Village.

Pine Base Stellaria (NYC, 02 2017)

Pine Base Stellaria
(NYC, 02 2017)

Spring a month in advance, already, looks into the camera:

Say “Chickweed.”

— rPs 02 24 2017

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Brown Flowers

Brown Flowers . . .

Brown Flower (NYC 01 2017)

Brown Flower
(NYC 01 2017)

Winds like sudden change bring a dust devil three stories tall. The spiral appears, carries fallen brown leaves and other debris as it pauses, then passes through a rear courtyard in Manhattan. Yesterday there was rain, a week before, snow.

January Snow (NYC 01 2017)

January Snow
(NYC 01 2017)

Temperature. Precipitation. Wind. — The planet has a trio of tools to modulate the weather. This new year has experienced all three in just as many weeks. Climate changes almost day to day with a strobe effect at this local level.

January began with snow under the clearest, cleanest blue and white sky, the nested web of tree bark browns giving glimpses of rows of great buildings beyond.

Snow does not linger under rain. White turns into the waterlogged tans and yellowed green of the unconstructed ground when the fog rolls in with spattered showers. Park turf begins to feel like marsh. Even cross-country runners stick to the hard paths.

January Rain (NYC 01 2017)

January Rain
(NYC 01 2017)

This marks the peak season of the brown flowers. Skeletal remnants of several species continue to covey beauty. There remains a multiplicity of forms to compensate for less diversity of color.

Asteraceae. Brassicaceae. – Asters. Goldenrod. Thistles. Peppercress. – Their upright tresses stand symmetrical, architectural.

There remains a multiplicity of forms to compensate for less diversity of color.

Wildflower beauty endures all kinds of changes in the weather, so far.

– rPs 01 22 2017

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Year’s End on Track 2016

Year’s End on Track 2016 . . .

Manhattan Carolers (NYBG, NYC, 2016)

Manhattan Carolers
(NYBG, NYC, 2016)

Darkest days of the year descend into darkness when the sun meets the western horizon in a wink’s flash, gone. The lights of the city sparkle to compensate, fill the still cityscape and its river reflections with electric holiday color light.

Perhaps this is why the year’s blooming wild remain near lamp posts and patches off path that capture, even if briefly, the intensity of a low setting sun.

Chenopodium & Lamp Post  (NYC 2016)

Chenopodium & Lamp Post
(NYC 2016)

And another, newer season of light arises.

Our friends at the New York Botanical Garden permitted a contemplative opportunity to see organic plant materials take the form of New York City at the 25th annual Holiday Train Show. Paul Fusse and a squad of artisans have produced a cathartic botanical experience when the landscapes outside stand brown and in slumber under sudden snow.

Inside, under glass, a space large enough to house a copse of trees presents lights on, trains roll. Landmark towers, bridges, and stadiums share trackside space along its length with residential scenes. One favorite, the trio of apartments, rowed side by side, electric lit, stand like singing carolers on a December’s evening.

‘Tis the Season . . . With snow now on the western edge of Manhattan

Snow in Manhattan (NYC 12 17 2016)

Snow in Manhattan
(NYC 12 17 2016)

— rPs 12 19 2016

Postscript:

Read more about artist Paul Fusse and his team of artisans on the NYBG website listed under the Blogroll, or follow this link: http://www.nybg.org/hts16/

Read more about NYC’s regional rail in the new book by author Walter E. Zullig: http://morningsunbooks.com/products/metro-north-in-color-br-i-small-available-october-1-2016-small-i

In memory of Louis, J. Amici, Jr. (1947-2016) and Jeff Feldmeier (1966-2016). They always met the train on time.

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Autumn Whites

Autumn Whites . . .

White Aster & Snakeroot (Manhattan, NYC, 11 2016)

White Aster & Snakeroot
(Manhattan, NYC, 11 2016)

Russet variation of deciduous oaks and maples see their feet dressed in filigree of wildflower white as sparse as lace, or as morning frost on lawn, or the first accumulated dusting of flurries.

Friends appear like snowflakes clung to a window. … ”

Lines of poems shaped like prose recited aloud in the out of doors can be a symptom, if one allows it, of mind, perhaps your own, ruminating, meeting, encountering such attractive intersections of nature and the city.

Here it remains, on the west side of Manhattan, where civil island meets tidal river at a time when sun sets are fast and temperatures bring a shiver.

The cold months are hinted on the rippled gray sky, felt on the wind, not far.

– rPs 11 21 2016

 

Postscript: Thanksgiving is on the menu. Centerpiece: Wildflower White (Asteraceae, various)

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Top to Bottom

Top to Bottom . . .

October: Rainy Dayflower Impressionism (NYC 10 2016)

October: Rainy Dayflower Impressionism
(NYC 10 2016)

Clouds deliver rainwater to Manhattan today. Urban Autumn scenes inspire peculiar poetry. An asiatic dayflower (Commelina communis) reminds all of the blues of The Fall. Lines influenced still by the Wildflowers of the West Village . . .

 

The mountaintop,
Being a tip,
Sits lonely.

One who there sits,
Gets it in,
Obviously.

The plateau,
So wide,
So preferred;

Has lost its head,
Lopped off,
Clean cut, carved.

So,
Where is
The tip?

Is it lost,
Did it go,
Did it slip?

With masses
Beyond glasses
Glued to all them,

Here we are,
Not so far,
Near the bottom.

End

– rPs 10 21 2016

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Cracked: The City’s Micro-Yards

Cracked: The City’s Micro-Yards . . .

Purslane Portrait (NYC 09 2016)

Purslane Portrait
(NYC 09 2016)

Heat waves do not break, or crack. Most linger in an ebb and flow cycle of several oscillations. The chain of days bends rather than breaks and may linger for several warm weather months before an abrupt push of colder autumn air arrives and a new fall pattern takes root.

One city immigrant thrives in the late summer heat and light. This plant slips into a narrow growing place. The most minuscule of front yards, the intersection of sidewalk and foundation.

The city’s micro-yard is a distinct slit of soil, enough to conjure up a plant. The setting conveys little moisture or nutrients. Exposure, whether rain, wind, dog, or human traffic, is often constant.

Purslane is one New York resident that resists and emerges with an appearance of pride. Sprouts in snippets may form a single community chain if left to alone to grow. Many such gatherings follow the intersection of where we live meets where we walk. Manhattan’s entire west side hosts Portulaca oleracea, the purslane much mentioned as cuisine.

Purslane Community (NYC 09 2016)

Purslane Community
(NYC 09 2016)

Central Asia was the more arid land from which this immigrant annual arrived. The semiarid conditions of its origin explain how thin spots of loose soil found among rocks finds a parallel in the big city crack in the masonry.

“(I’m Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement” . . . a song by Duran Duran, a spot where just enough water supports this plant replete with interior moisture. The red stems and teardrop uniform green leaves, fleshy and juiced. A passing glance gives one reminiscences of Grandma’s household jade plant in miniature.

Urban Forager, author Ava Chin, knows from her own experience what has sprouted from Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. I’m sure Queens and The Bronx sustains wild specimens, too. She appreciates the humor in a turn of phrase. One as good as a “From Sidewalk Cracks, a Side Dish” indeed also reinforces the concept of the crack, the often occurring ultimate micro-yard that supports a harvestable, therefore worthy, immigrant wild plant.

The analogy can be extended, if one likes such pursuits.

Ava’s book, Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal, has just been released in paperback. Purslane thrives within its pages as it can be a true vegetable, rightful status for the purslane, which can add viscosity and a tang reminiscent of spinach to a variety of dishes.

Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal by Ava Chin

Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal by Ava Chin

Allusion to “Reminiscence” three times in one stretch of prose hints the time must be shifting to the one that often conveys life in that way. Autumn is near, but not quite here. People strive. Wildflowers bloom.

– rPs 09 12-13 2016

Postscript: Read Ava Chin’s recipe for purslane for The New York Times: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/urban-forager-from-sidewalk-cracks-a-side-dish/comment-page-1/?_r=0

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