Summer swords

In summer my fingernails
grow like weeds—
just grow and grow and there’s
no stopping them.
All that vitamin d; sunlight
so I have to clip, trim,
file. Sand down the edges
that snag on my shirt or a
neighboring nail.

They’re long now, but instead of
cutting, clipping, reigning in, I
have the urge to paint them.
The brightest color I can find.
I’ve no patience for that
occupation. Always I ruin
the lacquer, a fidgeting sitter,
and even when I don’t, the color
soon chips away. My hands
are tools; these nails are daggers,
diggers, makers.

But I chafe at practicality
in back-to-school season.
So I’ll color instead of clip
and wait for them to chip—
a reminder that nothing lasts
forever, not even lacquer, or
fingernails, and definitely
not summer.

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Unicorns in the pool, and a search for sea-softened stones

Unicorns in a pool in watercolor
Pool mascots (watercolor and ink)

Here are a couple watercolor sketches that I began on the weekend while in Fire Island, and finished last night.

Pool and Pines in watercolor
Pool and Pines (watercolor)

And an excerpt from a text I sent to a friend, regarding a particular mission while I was out on the island:

Twice this day I’ve filled my pockets with soft sea-rounded stones for our purpose. I think there will be a glut, so I will edit them, size- and shape-wise, over coffee in the morning.

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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,
bleached
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—
abrasives
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