Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gathering Moss

I finally got some potting soil and gathered some moss which I planted in these trays I found in Chinatown.

I am fussing at the moss a bit more this time, trying to get the soil on the bottom of the moss to settle into the soil on the tray. Some of the moss came from the stairs of the empty townhouse. When I pulled it up, old paint from the stairs was embedded in its soil. I have been tweezing the chips out along with some small stones and bits of styrofoam.

The moss from the stairs is different from what I usually find on the sidewalks. It is more fern-like with long tendrils.

It grows more loosely, as if it were woven together.

I also found this little patch of moss that has a little red coloring. Some of my previous moss turned reddish brown before it died. I hope that is not what is happening with this one.

This is the moss I usually find, the intrepid sidewalk moss. It is dense and velvety and hopefully will prosper.

I planted this bit in a broken votive candle. I hope it spreads out like a pin cushion.

I have been keeping the moss trays in the bathroom, the steam from the shower is making the moss very happy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Never quite reaching the river

It has not been easy to get any work done. The weather has been mostly overcast except when brilliant beautiful light makes a brief appearance. The November school schedule being what it is, I have the young son scampering around. This is fine, I have enlisted his help in the light graffiti pictures I have been working on. We are still figuring things out and his penchant for using the lights as sabers creates a lot of static images. I had silently vowed to stop taking pictures of fall foliage, but these leaves would not be denied.

This picture doesn't really count as fall foliage since it is mostly about the branches.

Last Friday, under sparkling sunlight that would cloud over by afternoon, I finally made it to the Harlem River. As I feared, the distances are somewhat sprawling, everything is designed for the automobile.

Just beyond the Crack Is Whack Playground I found a place that reminded me of my Bronx dreams.

Although it may look quite ordinary, this view resonates with me. It was more dramatic in the dream. There was a hospital or a university, maybe both. In real life there is a Hyundai dealership.

But the bridge...

...and the ramp are almost the same.

Then when I started crossing the Triborough Bridge, I got that apprehension that crossing bridges in dreams cause. It is also a very noisy bridge that vibrates a lot and the cars speed pretty close by.

This image pretty much sums up my impression of East Harlem. There are so many things to brutalize the soul here. The constant speeding traffic, industry, chain link fences.
The Harlem River is of course bounded by highways which form a barrier. The closest I got to it was looking down from the bridge. The noise was exhausting. My dreams were mostly silent.

On the way back to the subway, I found this tree.

Poor little thing, sideswiped by a car (the tire treads are visible in the mud), it never stood a chance. I was there on the day of the Yankees victory parade and this tree reminded me of why I had to stop cheering the Yankees. When they built their new stadium, they cut down 300 mature trees. They are supposed to plant more, but clearly there is a difference between a healthy tree that has adapted to city life and a young sapling. Life is not much greener on the Bronx side of the river. I can't believe they cut down those trees.