Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Equinox: Missing the Point of the Sun Triangle

For years, I have wanted to visit the Sun Triangle sculpture on the equinox. It was designed by a geophysicist named Athelstan Spilhaus and it is supposed to line up with the sun at noon. The sculpture is an the Avenue of the Americas right across from Rockefeller Center. It is in front of one of those brutal skyscrapers that loom along the avenue. I have never managed to get there at noon, or the equinox was cloudy. This year everything fell into place.

Equinox light is usually pretty harsh and midday is blindingly bright. On Sunday, though, the light was actually quite pretty.

The stained glass panels at the Myrtle Avenue station were illuminated which is rare. Most of the time they are inky black as there is very little direct sun on the station.

I probably should have done a little google search before rushing off. I was not sure what would line up with the sun. I thought I would figure it out when I got there. But it was not obvious. I was misled by the oval maps of the northern and southern hemisphere near the sculpture. I figured that the triangular shadow would line up with the southern hemisphere in the fall and the norther hemisphere in the spring representing the sun passing the equator. 

I was wrong. In fact the longest side points to the sun at the spring and fall equinoxes, the steepest side points to the sun at the summer solstice and the shortest side points to the sun at the winter solstice. The maps are a red herring. I would not have been able to enjoy the moment in any case as the sunken plaza was closed off for Sunday.

I could go back at the solstice, but I am not sure I will. It is not as exciting as Manhattanhenge, unfortunately.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Checking in on the Garden

I did not do a lot of work on the garden this year. We painted the fence white and laid some slate tiles in a spiral. The rose bush did not do well, victim of the cats leaping around and breaking its canes in the early spring.

Luckily, the neighbor's morning glories climbed over the fence.

I trained a few vines from our side up the fence to meet the others.

We put a bin on the patio to gather leaves for mulch and weeds grew out of it.

A morning glory climbed up the bars on our window.

Out of the base of the crate sprouted the usual suspects that grow literally everywhere.

I love this little blue flowered weed and I am delighted that it sprang up. I had seen them out front last year and was tempted to transplant them. But I decided that transplanting weeds is like playing with fire. If I find some next year I may change my mind. The flowers remind me of lobelia, without all the fragility.


This castor plant self seeded and came back from last year.

It was so pretty with its purple stems and veins. Unfortunately, I accidentally cut its delicate stem while trimming the grass and it withered on the vine.

I felt really bad, but then the scarlet runner beans, which had been a little depressed, suddenly got it together and bloomed.

Some things I planted this year are still settling in like the wisteria and the forsythia. The light is shifting and the plants seem to know that the season is winding down.