The calm monochrome that follows the feast days

an abandoned sidewalk xmas tree— set out to the street before xmas fully dressed (b&w photo)

These days following the winter feasts bring a quiet with them, not necessarily unwelcome. Often grey and a little lonely, or too-quiet for some, yet there is a gentleness to them that eases the emotional tumult forced by the calendar shift into a new year.

the giant pine in the yard upstate, blocking snowfall on the yard liek an umbrella (b&w photo)

When I was younger, I longed for the new year to turn at Springtide, or during the full heat of Summer. As I’ve got older, the shift has felt more accustomed and proper happening in the dead of winter— it allows a moment, at least, for reflection which those other times wouldn’t afford.

Several pine trees upstate in snowfall (b&w photo)

(I’ll own, this is clearly the result of living one’s entire life in the northern hemisphere, in the west. Nurture and nature have their sway.)

Upstate at the Farm over the winter holiday is something I’d not trade. Cold, and snowy, I can see the sun and shade of summer in every angle— but those white cloaked fields are equal in my mind to their mild counterparts. Some of my best memories are of being alone in a quiet icicled clearing in the woods; or frigid rides along field paths as snow-blanketed as the horse’s backs, and my eyelashes— in awe of the change a bit of weather can make.

Sure, we get more irritable in the cabin-fever months. But also we get closer, cozier, if allowed. Weather does change things. It’s one of the things my cold-climate friends and I always joked about— nothing akin to Russian novels ever comes out of easy climates!

the house at the Farm, blanketed in easy snow (b&w photo)

We complain, yet we can’t rightly imagine life without seasons. Or we try, and give it up for folly. Relegate easy to vacation times, to the fleeting (and also irritating but in different ways) Summer. It all balances out in ways we’ve grown accustomed to; in ways that make sense to us.

telephone pole and wires in snow (b&w photo)

Anyway, I rather enjoy and look forward to the quiet spell after the hectic holiday time —before it turns into the doldrums— at which point I’ll want winter to go. There’s a period during which it’s welcome and agreeable; and productive, honestly.

Eventually, of course, the grey just becomes too much, and all we want is the return of green trees and sunshine. That’ll be hitting us around mid-February, I suspect, when the whole city has lost its luster; after the fairy-lights’ve been long taken down, and all the world just feels like it’s given up.

But, just as we reach our wit’s end, some modest glorious crocus will raise her chilly new petals from the snow, and give a beacon of spring, a bit of hope to see us through.

Advertisements

And just like that: Autumn

Brooklyn Bridger seen from DUMBO in the rainIt arrived with that kind of grey rain that settles in for a few days, so you just have to settle with it.

I was out all day Sunday and into the night; eight miles of walking in the rain, and when I got home the apartment was clammy like when it rains at a beach house during vacation and steals away some of the fun. 

I had to put on pajamas for sleeping. The beginnings of Fall.
A little park in the ruins in DUMBO
A little park in the ruins in DUMBO
A street lined with an arched tunnel of Locust trees in Greenpoint

Summer hid a whetstone in the slender paths between cornstalks

Seneca, the paint quarterhorse
My brother and Seneca in the ring while I was up at the Farm in July.


Summer
! It’s been too hot. It’s rained a lot. It’s been busy with work, and (half Fridays notwithstanding) I’ve still not gone on a date with the Atlantic Ocean. Haven’t cycled as much as I’d like.

But it’s been good, after its own fashion; taking its own shape. Clarity and focus with my work has (mostly) made up for my extreme lack of drawing and writing. Solid, meaningful visits to and from family and friends have shored up scattered edges.

What it all has in common: that fleeting quality that I will ever associate with Summer. Happily, the meaning lasts, even if the sunshine doesn’t.

And life without meaning is little more than a series of actions or motions.

drawing of a wall needing art, w measurements
My mathy diagram of K’s wall, before we hung all the art!

Just over a week ago there was an unprecedented electrical storm —very local to my apartment. To the extent that my building was hit and I lost a few small appliances; modem, router, speaker, and the aquarium pump. What a nuisance. Amazon: order replacements. Brazenly, decadently easy to deal with such a blow in these times. Nearly everything was back to rights by the weekend.

The electrical storm seems to’ve been a metaphor for things at large. I wasn’t even upset at having to drop over $200 at the damage that ensued; indeed, it felt like a doorway. An entrance stone had opened, to quote Murakami. I took it as a sign. Old things, old equipment, can be let go of easily with the help of a catalyst. Particularly when it suits the story.

Just last year, my printer died, apropos of nothing. I was irritated, irate at first, but at length it dawned on me that the thing was 11 years old. Then I felt grateful it had endured so long. (Few have such a resumé these days.) I practically well-wished it as I left it on the doorstep of the electronics recycling center a month later. A solemn good-bye, with a wink: So long and thanks for all the fish!

I digress.

drawing of electrical wires
A drawing of the occasional above-ground wires of New York City

This summer has been the most disruptive I’ve had in a long time, and probably—definitely— overdue. I’m good with it, have found a way to be settled with it, despite not having had my sand and salt respites at the edge of the world; despite not having spent (yet*) enough time with friends in our erstwhile carefree summer ways. It’s a new chapter, demanding of change.

At Springtide I sensed it, (sortof) accepted it— was fine to wait for Summer. But it’s different now, and it’s on account of so many factors I cannot list or name them all.

I’m still absorbing, but for the first time in a long time I’m not afraid of Autumn. I’ve even taken to listening to the Shipping Forecast as a soothing interlude, a doorway to focus, or just to sleep— a horoscope of rain and barometrics, always rising more slowly.

Photo of the pagoda in Patterson Park, Baltimore
The pagoda at Patterson Park in Baltimore, when I visited K

*ever the optimist!

Montmartre— in light and dark

Montmartre— dans la lumière et l’obscurité

Sacre Coeur blackand white photo angle from belowThese are photos from our first afternoon in Paris. It stayed light til 8:30.

Now, you know, I’ve been dreaming of the trip— now that it’s over. As I did before it was born. Friday was two weeks since we left for farther shores. It went by fast and slow, as time does.

Felt like four days; felt like four weeks. Away –and three cities away– will have that effect.

streets of Montmartre, photos in black and white
streets of Montmartre, photos in black and whitestreets of Montmartre, photos in black and white

Life is different —and the same— when you return. That is to say, life is the same but you’re a little different.

streets of Montmartre, photos in black and whitestreets of Montmartre, photos in black and white

Continue reading “Montmartre— in light and dark”

how things move altogether too quickly and smoothly once a pattern is imposed

linear drawing of a suburb, view'd from above

Above: sketch of a suburb— viewed from the spire, as it were. A suburb represents, to me, a place that lacks the most wonderful parts of both cities and wide open spaces*; A pattern imposed; a restrictive one— made to serve its developer’s purpose rather than its inhabitants. Sometimes, life feels that way, no?

(how things move altogether too quickly and smoothly once a pattern is imposed)

 

It‘s what patterns are for.

It’s both good and bad; comforting and regrettable. Like choosing to stay in and get a good sleep when it’s a big wondrous and scary blizzard out. You know what I mean; one feels torn, a bit. Yet resolved. It‘s life— that feeling of contradiction that somehow fits because we‘ve been socialized and trained to accept that it fits.

Days, weeks simultaneously dragging and speeding by. It‘s the unquantifiable aspect of time that math-science is less equipped to deal with than psychology-science. Viz. feelings and other ephemera more in the realm of the social sciences, aka art literature poetry philosophy— the realms comprising questions and not so many answers (yet every answer, too)†.

Math-science satisfies the Libra in me (picked up perhaps from proximity to my balanced Libra** brothers). The designer in me thrives on the practicality of measurement; of the quantifiable. The artist (Scorpio) in me prefers to live the questions, as Rilke put it.

Continue reading “how things move altogether too quickly and smoothly once a pattern is imposed”

Circling back to that red oak tree on the farm, amid snowfall

Beyond the Red Oak v6 from Elizabeth Daggar on Vimeo.

I haven’t had time the past two weeks to get much farther with this, but I’m hoping to get back to it on the weekend. Here’s where I left off in my motion tests and atmospheric meanderings.

Within an hour of waking, the sun has gladdened the windowpanes

ink sketch of a fence and field, trees in the distance

I stayed home last night; missed several parties, missed toasting with friends who I’ve not seen enough of. A head cold has been slinking ‘round the door for a few days (probably a few weeks), and by Midnight it’d overtaken me. I didn’t have any the past two winters, but I’ve been burning candles at both ends lately, so I can’t be too surprised or upset.

Despite feeling poorly, it’s not a bad thing to cross the threshold of a new year quietly and in solitude. I did this little drawing to mark the changing of the guard. (I added the snow on a whim, though clearly those aren’t winter trees, all clad in leaves.)

I’d hoped for a cold-bright wander on New Year’s Day, but that’ll have to wait for better health. Glad tidings, with a few sniffles! I’ll see what I can make of it. More drawing, whether for me or my freelance project, will make a fine start of things for 2018.

When time turns in upon itself, you question everything

I’ve been on a new trajectory. It’s great; it’s weird, It’s new. I love new.

I also love Old. That’s neither here nor there. I’ve been feeling like a teenager again, lately. In the sense where I’m acutely aware how temporary so many people in one’s life tend to be. It’s not a judgement call; only acknowledgement of reality.

Most folks are temporary. There’s a time during which you overlap. It ends.

The thing to always remember is that you’re permanent. Be permanent to yourself. A solid. And recognize those who exhibit permanent qualities in return— they’re your rocks. Will help get you to your True North. The Keepers.

 

Spaces

Photo of old book pages

In the ellipses between
drops of rain
In the space between pale night’s end
and grey morning

I find you.
I find forgotten things.

Between lines of writing
in the pages of books
yellowing in drawers
and on shelves,
In the leathery slips
between their bindings—

And in the spaces
between the notes of songs
not yet written.
In the dry crack
precipitating the death
of an incandescent bulb,
that moment the knob twists
(an old brass lamp)

I hear whisperings,
stories long forgotten
and faded—
or things confused
with memories or dreams,

hauntings.

I find everything, and
nothing.

In the spaces between
things, now, I find
space.

Floor plans of a room: art archive

map of a room; layout design
A two-dimensional layout

I’ve no recollection of what these plans / designs were intended for; sketches at least 18 years old. Regardless of their erstwhile infamy, I don’t know what the three screens were about, and don’t know to what room these referred. And what on earth is “Model of Strategy”? It had to be for work (“Time to Market” is a phrase I’d never use otherwise. But there’s a midget!? Or I was just taking the piss.)

At any rate, I’m fond of both the spirit and execution of these sketches.

map of a room; interior design
Now with three dimensions!