I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

Here's some welcome perspective on this blissfully quiet morning -- even the robins have shut up for a change.

The bright dot seen peeking through Saturn's rings is our own wounded planet, and the faint tiny dot just above it is our moon.

I take comfort in knowing that if you could step back a few hundred million miles, all you would see of us is that tiny beacon.

The light is there, even if we can't always see it.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, JPL-Caltech, SSI, Cassini Imaging Team; Processing and License: Kevin M. Gill

Monday, June 1, 2020

A more peaceful place

It is not peaceful here, in New York, tonight, so I am happy to lose myself in this beautiful scene in Grand Teton National Park.

The constant sirens are back today after a few weeks of increasing quiet, and I can hear helicopters rumbling overhead and distant shouting whenever there's a gap in the wailing. My apartment doesn't face the street, so I didn't realize that the protests had been on my block this afternoon until I read it in the news. I don't know what exactly is going on out there now, but we're curfewed as well as quarantined, and I'm not planning to go out and check.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sunday bird blogging

Here's an unexpected bird picture from Grand Teton National Park.

This redwing blackbird is probably just looking for something to eat, but I love the way he appears to be studying, and admiring, his reflection.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Saturday reflections

Mountains and trees reflected into abstraction by a lake in Grand Teton National Park (flipped for effect.)

Friday, May 29, 2020

More mountains

Sometimes the world actually does resemble a picture postcard.

Flashback: Grand Teton National Park

Next up on the list of old travel photos I'm cleaning up and clearing out is another trip from four years ago: my long weekend in Jackson Hole.

I remember being sorry that I never got a closeup shot of any of the bison, but I love this picture anyway -- three of them just munching on the dandelions in one of the most spectacular settings I'd ever seen.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Life in the time of coronavirus

Some of my fellow New Yorkers who were outside enjoying the spring sunshine yesterday.

It was pleasantly warm, but it was also the first really humid day we've had, and wearing a mask was like having a wet diaper pinned to my head. But we do what we need to do.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Opening up

Here's West 42nd Street this afternoon -- much emptier than it would have been on a weekday in the Before times, but it's a big improvement over the zombie apocalypse emptiness of mid-April. There are cars. And a bicycle. And people.

Most of the state is in the process of allowing some businesses to re-open, but New York City is still the national epicenter and remains in lockdown.

Even so, more and more of us are starting to emerge from our dens, timidly stepping into the light, squinting as our eyes adjust,  sniffing the air like wild animals checking for predators. I walked to the post office to mail my absentee ballot application and mostly enjoyed the excursion, though I still strip off my clothes and take a shower the minute I get home.

It will be a long time before I can touch something that's been handled by strangers and not feel the need for a complete decontamination.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

Finally I see something recognizable in a nebula -- a genie, right? Or possibly a samurai?

Nope. This gorgeous pillar of gas, several light years tall, in the Carina nebula is known as Mystic Mountain. You might as well call it Running Chicken Nebula 2.

Image Credit: Hubble, NASA, ESA; Processing and License: Judy Schmidt

Monday, May 25, 2020

Monday flashback: Frankfurt

A few last pictures -- really, these are the last ones -- from the Römer district in Frankfurt.

I have always been a little ditzy -- this would not surprise anyone who ever met my mother and believed in either nature or nurture -- but I think it's getting out of control during this lockdown. I keep losing things. I keep forgetting things. I have trouble focusing.

I misplaced an avocado a few weeks ago, much to the amusement of the friends who followed my three day search via text. (Yes, we are all that desperate to be amused.)

But an avocado is small -- and it turns out, practically invisible if for some reason you drop a t-shirt on top of it. Last week I lost a fitted sheet from my bed. I realized when I was doing laundry that I had a top sheet, and pillowcases, but the bottom sheet wasn't in the bag. Okay, obviously I'd left it upstairs in my apartment.

Except that it wasn't there. I looked in every likely -- the floor of the closet where I keep the laundry bag -- and unlikely -- had I somehow kicked it under the bed? -- place. It drove me crazy.

I did find it. Apparently I didn't actually take the old sheet off when I was changing the bed -- I just put the clean sheet on top of it. I don't know how I managed not to notice that there was already a sheet on the bed while I wrestled with getting all four corners of the mattress crammed into the clean sheet, but I didn't.

Covid brain.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday bird blogging

A white-throated sparrow in Central Park.

Those bright mating markings are from last spring, but I'm sure they were just as vivid this year.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Saturday reflections

The train station in Frankfurt, this time in black and white.

I know everyone's sense of time is distorted -- I feel as though I deserve a medal for managing to keep track of the days of the week -- but I cannot understand how this is Memorial Day weekend. How can it be summer already?

I don't really enjoy New York summers, so have never been eager for the three months of sweating to kick off, but I'd like another couple of months of spring weather, please. We've earned it. And also please enough of a decline in our new cases that we can skip the masks outside by the time it gets really hot.

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