Well, almost exactly five years and four months to the day from when it opened (yes, I am a little embarrassed about this), my husband and I finally decided to take a stroll on the High Line. It was a perfect early fall morning in NYC: wind blowing, sun shining, thickets of tourists wandering about, and the din of jackhammers and excavation trucks filling the air. The High Line is truly a marvel of architecture, vision and extraordinary landscaping. And yet, I am left feeling that it is a part of a city to which I no longer belong. I know there are a lot of voices on this matter of change, and loss of what was, and I don’t wish to delve into that conversation right now. However, let it be said that, while I don’t necessarily begrudge New York for what she has become, I don’t recognize her any more. In all of the ruminations, I did manage to catch this little snippet of ivy…undulating in the storm.
I would attribute my weakness for pink and green to those formative years spent in ultra-preppy New England. These brilliant leaves are being shed by a maple tree that is, tragically, on its way out. Regardless, I can’t stop picking them up off the ground.
Garlic scapes are crazy and curvy, not to mention tasty. If you aren’t sure what they are, let me explain: scapes are the young flower stalks that emerge on hardneck garlic in early to mid summer. They get snipped off so the plant can direct more of its energy towards the bulb still in the ground. They are a fresher, milder version of mature garlic. That nature can produce these swirly beauties is astonishing. Some VERY generous friends dropped off an enormous bag of these the other day. Before whirring them into parsley, almond, lemon pesto, they had their moment in front of the camera. Karl Blossfeldt sure had the right idea when he turned to nature for inspiration.
Finally, Spring is here!! With it, comes my favorite part…the birdsong. It is thought that the human ear can recognize at least 1000 different voices. Experienced birders, and novices alike, often identify birds initially from their song. All of the above phrasing is taken from Peterson’s Field Guide to Eastern Birds. It makes for excellent and quite humorous reading. Each line is a phonetic description of a different birdsong. If you want to hear extensive recordings of different birds singing, might I suggest going to the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Spring, that is. I swear it.
If Werner Herzog‘s rhythmic phrasing and distinctive lilt aren’t enough to get you to see this movie, than maybe the story is: it’s a sparse portrait of three men — though mainly of Gennady Soloviev, who wins my heart — making a life for themselves and their families in the Siberian Taiga. A large portion of the year is spent completely alone (except for the company of their dogs) in the wilderness, maintaining their huts and trapping sable. The movie was marshaled out of Dmitry Vasyukov’s four hour documentary originally made for Russian television. In a reversal for Herzog, the main characters are self-possessed, and at one with nature, instead of being on the edge of insanity and at war with the elements. Whatever you may feel about the killing of animals (note, there is no gore depicted), I cannot recommend this film enough. It is a mesmerizing snapshot of a people who are largely self-reliant and almost completely off the grid. Pay especially close attention to the woodworking!
Oh, and if you are looking for a related “truth is stranger than fiction” read, go here.
A few sample pages from the interiors of those wonderful German Field Guides. I had no idea that “Eagle Owl” in German is “Uhu.” How very onomatopoeic of them.