Scenes from a nearby barrier island

Here are some photographs from my brief but lovely stay in Cherry Grove, Fire Island last week. A soothing balm, and the friends I stayed with had a little oasis of a cottage on the bayside. It was so serene and lovely that I didn’t even go off on a wander to photograph more of the town this time— and that’s rare for me.

More photos after the jump.

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From here I can see the curve of of the earth

Here are the days—
Heat, haze
on the horizon like a
matte painting, wavering

This part of summer
finds me un-hungry.
I have no appetite.
My desires simplified,
like the half-shells of
bi-valves, left hollow on the sand.

The sounds of waves,
shrieking gulls, soft wind—
And the gradual granular erosion
of my skin, cell by cell.
A pretzel taste on dry lips.
The penetrating tiredness,
and how sun-soaked skin
feels temperatures differently now.

The monotony of waves,
endless motion
that results in a kind of
pounding stillness,
a loud silence,
a dense-packed solitude.
Time stops for a few hours.
There is a profound reassurance
in these contradictions.

Tide in, tide out
Salt and sand—
that soothe, and erase.

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A day lakeside

My nieces and nephews sitting at the end of the dock, late afternoon

Yesterday was the first day since I arrived upstate that it broke sunny instead of clouds attended by rain. It was welcome timing, as we’d long planned a day on Canandaigua Lake where my middle brother and his family have a new lake house. It was breezy and sunny with a brilliant sky and the water was pleasant for swimming. (Some of these photos were filtered through the Nik collection.)

The neighboring dock

Up the hill and across the road from their slice of waterfront is a shale-lined ravine that torrents in heavy rains, bringing a fresh slough of sedimentary shards after every storm down to the edgewater. We spent fair amount of time skipping stones across the shallows, bare feet in the cool water.

On the farm after a sudden, short downfall

I apologize— I missed my Monday posting deadline! I’ve been posting a lot lately, but was somewhat busy leading up to go out of town and come upstate. Here are some photographs from around the farm earlier today. There was a brief, thundering deluge around 11am or so. Then the sky brightened which is always a good time for photos I’ve found. Much more so than a sunny day, depending on the sort of images one wants.

A little reminder at the end of Summer

Summer 1649, Salomon van Ruysdael
Summer 1649, by Salomon van Ruysdael

…that New York was Nieuw Amsterdam. Observe: the fading light over the harbor on the last day of summer in Sunset Park—

Bush Terminal Park, Brooklyn
Bush Terminal Park, Brooklyn, 2016

Alright, it may be a bit of a stretch, but it was the Dutch [East India Company] who sent Mr Hudson in search of a new passage to Asia in 1609— a failed endeavor, but what he jolly well found would become the capital city of New Netherland by 1625.


Aside, but on the wistful-sad subject of summer’s end, here’s a do-dad from 2007(!) that I came across the other day and has been on my mind, as I didn’t make the ride to Coney even once this summer. (Though I may yet.)

August is nothing more than a wisp of memory now, it seems, the leisurely day of Labor having passed and September already teething, but in these recent times of Global Warming we do seem to enjoy what used to be called Indian Summer

Tara Lynne and I rode our trusty wheeled steeds again to the Isla del Coney on Tuesday. A different route- McDonald Avenue, of elevated train tracks, double parking, mechanized shadows and angles unexpected. A zigzagging whir of helmets and red metal fleck gleaming and disappearing into shadow alternately as trains passed over our heads and traffic kept us guessing. A hot, still day and us riding fast, as we’d lost time and got a late start– by the time we reached the boardwalk it was time to swim, and we didn’t even bother with finding a stair to the beach, just climbed through the fence and raced to the ocean.

Riding bikes in this kind of atmosphere, and for such a purpose as “emergency swimming” (as she put it), makes me feel very much like a kid again.

Afscheid en bedankt, Summer— ’til next year.

Sunset from Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Sunset, from atop Sunset Park, harbor in the distance

Umbrellas and breakers

watercolor beach umbrellasIts beaches are among New York City’s finest assets in the summer season, and the past weekend included two days delightfully spent where the Atlantic meets the sand at Jacob Riis Park. I spied a couple of cormorants drifting on the water out beyond the crashing waves. They’re more commonly spotted lounging in the sun on the jetties of Coney, drying their wings or just sitting; black silhouettes on the black rocks.
drawing of cormorants against blue sky
In between was a day and evening of cycling around Brooklyn— to and around Bushwick, then to Williamsburg for dinner and finally a last stop in Prospect Heights before heading home. Not a fanatical number of miles but it was hot out, so it felt like a lot.

Lengthening shadows of late summer

Photos from my excursion to Rehoboth Beach, DE, last month

Each successive month of summer leaves us in its wake faster than the previous— longing for 9:30 sunsets, never quite knowing what time it is for the wanton excess of sunlight.

This summer has held some challenges and sad moments, a couple more of which I learned about on Sunday. 2016 has been an unstable year, and  persistently so.

Last week my horoscope ended with this:

Expect a breakthrough that initially resembles a breakdown.

To which my internal response is “expect nothing,” and then I’m reminded of this perennial bit of wisdom from Oil Notes, by Rick Bass:

Luck is a residual of preparation.

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Post Script— In hindsight this post reads a little sad, but it’s not sad, it’s only honest. This year has certainly held more than just challenges and sad bits— but all the bits are necessary.