Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yearning for the Harlem River

I have been thinking of going up to the Bronx to take pictures for a while. Earlier this year I kept dreaming that I was there. Looking at the subway map, I realized that the area of my dreams was in Manhattan near the Harlem River Drive. I could take the subway up to 125th and check things out.

I heard the rain this morning before I saw it. The light was so dreary. It was another nightday with lights struggling to dispel the gloom. The rain soaked through my clothes, even with an umbrella.

It was hard to work on anything today. I plodded aimlessly through the rain. I did find trays for planting moss, but I was too discouraged go back out and gather some. Well, at least the moss will be flourishing out there. I read about a woman who made a moss carpet for a bathmat. The dampness of the bathroom keeps the moss happy. Maybe I can cultivate my moss there over the winter.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More about moss

One of my friends was talking about my moss pictures recently. She said she missed the adventure of my explorations (I'm paraphrasing here). It is true that I have been neglecting the moss. The rainy spring and summer would have been the perfect occasion to work on moss painting. Another opportunity lost, but my mind just hasn't been on the bryophytes.

Then I remembered seeing some moss glimmering on the steps of an empty townhouse nearby.

It is pretty happy moss. And there seem to be different varieties.

I started to think about growing moss again. Maybe I could grow enough to experiment with painting in a controlled situation. I decided to check in on some moss I left on the fire escape last autumn.

When last I saw it, the pot contained the pitiful remnants of early experiments. The previous summer had been cruel.

But now the pot is all filled in with velvet green, except for the parts with rubble. I remember reading that moss does not like pebbles and twigs and you are supposed to clean it out with tweezers. This pot of moss survived the winter, so it can handle the cold. I would really like to make something with moss...

Meanwhile, I have some more pictures of the mossy steps and overgrown garden. There is a sort of Victorian moodiness which has caught my fancy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back at the High Line

I have been restless, unable to settle down and get any work done. Maybe it is the changing weather. I went back to the High Line to see if things looked different in the autumn light. My problem with this park is that everything is so neat and orderly. There is not much for me to say except that the wildflowers still make everything smell nice. That is saying a lot for New York. There is this one spot where a building under renovation makes a covered walkway. It is a little wider and emptier than the rest of the park. My favorite kind of light was in the shadows and the greenery seemed more poetic here.

One thing that has changed is the wood. It has bleached out in the sun.

There was some controversy regarding the wood used for the High Line. According to the Gothamist people were protesting that the wood came from ancient forests in the Amazon and was not sustainable as the Friends of the High Line had promised. Apparently the group certifying the wood is not so reliable and was even implicated in a "timber-laundering" ring. Considering all the drama, perhaps they should have used that nice post-consumer plastic for the benches, especially seeing the weathering this wood is showing.

This bench looks as if it might give splinters, and that is not its only problem.

The view from the bench is of four-story high Posh and Becks peering over the railing wearing nothing but their skivvies.

I sat there, did not get splinters and contemplated Posh's hair. Becks seems to be missing his pupils which gets creepy after a while. I moved on...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weeds in Autumn

It rained so much in the spring and summer that the fall colors have been muted.

Some leaves are just curling up and turning straight to brown.

I rather like the soft colors, they go well with the remaining green.

The light was fantastic today which helps make everything look special.

The exciting news (for me at least) is the giant weed growing in the courtyard behind my building.

I noticed it one evening from my window, its leaves swaying in the moonlight. When I came down to investigate, I discovered this giant tree weed growing over from the neighbor. The froth of green was so unexpected when I turned the corner of our barren cement courtyard.

Its leaves fill the space, reaching up for the sun light.

The leaves are like platters. They make a canopy over the courtyard.