The floating city; a mirage in the heat of a summer day

lower Manhattan as viewed from Governors Island

My brother came to visit for a few days. We had an adventure-filled weekend, and I’m thankful for his visit, as I was when my older brother and his family were here earlier in the month. Not only to have spent time with them, but also because visitors ensure you get out and do things. Jon and I crammed a lot of summer into three days.

Above is the view of Lower Manhattan from Governors Island. Seen this way, it seems less an island than a mirage or some kind of magic allowing myriad structures to float upon the surface of the water.

Houses on Governors IslandChurch on Governors IslandView of the city from Governors Island

Continue reading “The floating city; a mirage in the heat of a summer day”

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Superpowers

b&w photograph of people in a quiet sunny green parkObserving and Listening have become almost superpowers in the contemporary world. Such pursuits are almost the opposite of (though are often mistaken for) ‘consuming’, because to truly see and/or hear takes as much patience and skill as any act of creation. They are the wells that feed creation. Processes —both of observation and research— culminate in the process of making, which is, always, one of translation.

.   .   .

The above was born of a comment left on another artist’s blog; I’ve adapted it to a more generalized sentiment, as I find it to be true.

Apologies for the longer stretches between posts, lately. I’m in need of a schedule to stay on track here, as I re-learn living, and balance with the full time gig/ I’d rather expected more time for writing while I was upstate, but lots of family goings-on took precedence. Happy Summer, and thanks for reading and looking! 

A crossing to the farther shore

B&W photo of the shore where we catch the ferryView facing west as we await the ferry

On an Easter Monday back in early May, Z, J, and I went on a cycling wander with our friends in Amsterdam. Though it was chill and overcast, we had a fantastic day exploring Amsterdam Noord.
B&W photo of our bikes on the ferry from Centraal Station
Two of our bikes on the deck of the ferry
B&W photo of the industrial shoreline
B&W photo of the harbor areaB&W photo of a club called Sexyland in Amsterdam Noord
A club called Sexyland in Amsterdam Noord
B&W photo on the farther shore, Amsterdam Noord
Edge of the beach outside at
Pllek (pllek means Place in Dutch)
B&W photo of my cycling buddies on a waterside cycle path
B&W photo cycling through Nieuwendammerdijk
Entering the town of  Nieuwendammerdijk
b&w photo of gables in Nieuwendammerdijk
Bell gables hide steeply pitched roofs
b&w photo of our bike posse
#squadgoals 🙂


Color photo of the Botel

 

Yesterday the Spring Equinox; today a Snow Day

snow falling on the view of the playground (photo)

Today is an unexpected day off for me after working more or less every day since February 26! Granted, some of those days I only worked 2-3 hours, but still, this has come at a perfect time, as one of my big project deadlines culminated in our company’s annual event yesterday.

Very nice to have a lie-in today, and I’m still in my pajamas. One of the best views of a snowstorm is the one from indoors, wearing one’s soft pants!

looking out on a snowy street through a fire escape (photo)

Enduring the caprices of the gods

photo of blurred trees in winterNone of us is a stranger to the need for endurance. It’s a universal theme; always returned to in stories.

We endure. And in the strength we needful gain in our small hero’s journeys, we encounter the requirement of meaning. Neither the smallest nor greatest of trials is endurable without that ineffable, elusive thing we all seek: for life to be meaningful.

photo of a tangle of winter trees

It’s the only way to make sense out of the chaos that resides in the spaces we all (humans, gods*, nature) share. Time gives it and robs us of it. All is ever. Change is the greatest weapon of the gods; we convince ourselves the we are in control, but it’s they who pull the strings.

The gods love(d) us for our plodding predictability; made games for their amusement of disrupting and manipulating us. Some of the meaning we seek can be found in the ways we regard, respond to –and endure– these disruptions.

.   .   .

*I use this word in the sense of the gods as we’ve always invented them; stories of the forces which we do not understand made fathomable, endurable.

Also: read The Marriage of Cadmus & Harmony.** It’s an incredible, applicable unpacking of Greek mythology, full stop.

**The Times review is good. But beware! “This desire to remain at a respectful distance from the ancient world keeps Mr. Calasso’s book, for all its real learning, from being a work of scholarship.” That’s a sentence that, in my opinion [IMO], is bullshit— or rather, a mere opinion (despite the author’s ‘real learning’).

Our hopes such as they are, invisible before us, untouched and still possible*

black and white photograph of sun coming through tree branches

Returned from the snow farm for the last few days of the year’s closing book. Serene here, too— quiet and white-blanketed. Few people are on the sidewalks, chilled and brittle. The emptiness of the playground today: a witness to the mercury, its height diminished despite bright sun.

And here we meet our fabricated bookends for time, believing we can hold or control it; we note it and name it to preserve the illusion. All is change, even the end of things, like the dying year to be replaced or born anew this midnight. Supplanted by new hopes, optimism in the dark corner of the year. Rebirth, Springtide: a crocus fighting her way up through a crust of snow.

Her bloom and demise are written in the maths that make her. Only we personify it, make a mirror of her. We with our imagined souls are infinitely fragile. So we make of her a beacon.

We’ll wait for her in the darkness yet to come. We’ll look for her as we burn through the woodpile, stacked under the eaves last fall. And as we watch the icicles melt, painting the days toothless, mild, and green again.

black and white photograph of a farm house in a snowy fieldblack and white photograph of a barn an silo on a snowy hillblack and white photograph of a large oak branch and a silo on a hill in the distance

*from the poem ”To the New Year” by W. S. Merwin

Rain soft patterings on wet leaves

rain blurred trees photo by E DaggarOut the front window near my desk, the swifting plash of car tires; drips dripping off the curled iron of the fire escape.

Out the back window, where the trees climb higher than the roof, rain soft patterings on wet leaves; there is no wind today.

The leaves have not even begun to consider a change of wardrobe, as Summer lingers; couch surfing straight into October.

.

(This is from last week, when it was still in the 80ºs.)

An architecture of isolation

 

houses and wiresThe wires are a connective element; a conduit of civilizing electricity, yet there is an insistence on isolation inherent in the design of some of the houses here. Beyond an eye toward privacy, they sometimes feel fortress-like, extending a feeling of invitation only to those already familiar; only to those whose homes they are.

On a grey day, after the season has come to a close, these intimations feel exaggerated, thrown into relief, creating a different sense of drama— the sunny delights of summer recede, leave behind arresting silhouettes along the shore and among the stands of trees.

A house in the pinesWires and branches