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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday bird blogging

From the sublime to the mundane: two male house sparrows sitting on a fence, thinking about whatever it is sparrows think about.

Although I'm always appreciative of the miracle that is Central Park, where I can watch an egret fishing in a pond a few yards from Fifth Avenue, it's still the small common birds, the ones you can and do see anywhere, that I love the most. Yes, I seek out the pretty little warblers when they pass through twice a year, am transfixed by the big scary raptors glowering from the treetops, and went dutifully up to the Shakespeare Garden to see the cute little saw-whet owl everyone was talking about.

But none of them make me smile as much as the finches and sparrows and titmice, with their chattering and socializing, their arguments and courtships, their hopping and digging and sudden swoops into flight. They're like Sufi poems, little dervishes, exclamation points in the great prayer that is life in this world, in this universe.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday geometries

The Art Deco West 50th Street entrance to the Exxon building in Rockefeller Center.

Friday, March 29, 2013

La primavera ha venido

Nadie sabe cómo ha sido...

"Spring has come/No one knows how."

Or so says Antonio Machado.

I actually went outside today. Sometimes I forget that I am allowed to leave the office during the day, that there is an old custom called "the lunch hour" and that although seldom observed, it is still technically legal.

Of course, I wasn't the only one who decided that a beautiful spring day was perfect for lunch in the park. There was a great egret across the pond from me, staring fixedly into the water, waiting for his meal to swim by.

Of course, as soon as I sat down to eat my own lunch, the egret caught a fish. By the time I was able to focus again, he'd scurried back into the underbrush to eat in privacy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Urban poetry

When one fence just isn't good enough.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Breakfast at Evodia

Bonus bird blogging.

Holly Golightly cheered herself up with breakfast at Tiffany's. During the winter, when the bird feeders are up at Evodia in the Ramble, sitting on a bench watching the birds while I have a cup of coffee and a bagel is my Holly moment. When I have had a bad week (and this was a very very very bad week) an hour with the birds is a tonic.

Now that spring's officially here, the feeders will be gone soon, and the birds are starting to switch to their courting clothes. I took the picture of the American goldfinch on the left yesterday; the photo below is from last weekend. A few more weeks and the males will be bright yellow all over.

Sunday bird blogging

This rather rotund creature is a fox sparrow, the kind of fairly rare sighting that gets all of the diehard birders in the park very excited, while those who are less committed to checking every possible species off on one list or another respond with a collective Huh?

I'm just glad that there were more knowledgeable witnesses around to identify it for me -- the sparrows in the field guides have a sad tendency to all look alike to me.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


A flashback.

This is Lisbon two years ago. I recently started using the various Topaz utilities, and I was able to clean this picture up enough to make it worth posting. I always liked the patterns of the pink and gray stone, with the black accents around the windows, so I'm glad it was salvageable.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Urban poetry

A recent taillight shot.

I like the wavy reflection of the streetlamp and sky above the clean sleek lines of the white metal and red glass.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bonus bird blogging

Every New Yorker is familiar with the scenario -- you drop by a favorite restaurant, planning on a quiet lunch, and the place is full of European tourists.

This is a European goldfinch that has been showing up at the feeders in Central Park for several weeks now. It probably escaped from captivity, since they're never seen in the wild here, and whenever it appears, all of the birders and photographers run to gawk at it, ignoring the perfectly lovely American goldfinches at the same feeder.

Everyone loves a glamorous foreigner.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday bird blogging

A few more shots of the Cooper's Hawk juvenile from a few weeks ago.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


While I was under the weather, I tried my first animated gif. I've always considered gif's a gimmick, annoying little cutesy flourishes people add to their emails and web sites for no apparent purpose other than irritating innocent bystanders.

But as with everything else in the digital world, there are artists who are making gif's that are funny, thoughtful, stunningly beautiful. The animation is an enhancement, adding a dimension -- time? reality? -- that the still photograph lacks. (See If We Don't, Remember Me for iconic movie images and the amazing Head Like An Orange for nature animations.)

This is a nyala at the Bronx Zoo. I liked the expression on her face, as though someone had just told a very silly joke, and I tried to make her look as though she were laughing. I think she looks more like she's having a seizure, but I figure I can only get better at this.

It's been a long cold lonely winter

Spring arrives officially this week. Although I whine a great deal about winter, especially towards the end, I do appreciate that it has its own beauties. Here are two more shots of Central Park in the grays and browns of late winter (worth clicking to enlarge).

Saturday abstract

I love the word thicket, the way sound and meaning match so exactly. I think this is random underbrush, rather than a true thicket, but I'm calling it that anyway because I like the sound.

And I like the way winter reveals the chaos of all this growth, each branch elbowing the others aside as it reaches for the light.

I'm climbing out of what felt like thirty-six hours straight of deep, dreamless sleep, and the world is startlingly vivid this morning.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Urban poetry

The city, bubble wrapped -- winter skies reflected in blue.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Haiku for the working week

You can start to crave
Even bad break room coffee.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday bird blogging

Here's yet another tufted titmouse, because the world can always use more adorableness.

Seriously. How cute is that?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday reflections

The Post-Impressionistic reflection in a window on West 43rd Street. I think Cézanne's ghost is smiling in approval.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One more

I almost used this for urban poetry, but the playground shot seemed more appropriate.

But I'm throwing this one up anyway, because after a few crisp sunny days (I took this Sunday) we're facing yet another winter storm and mostly just because I like it.

Urban poetry

The local playground, empty in the early evening.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday bird blogging

Central Park is famous for its red-tailed hawks, but here's another local raptor -- a juvenile Cooper's hawk.

He may be a youngster, only half the size of an adult red-tail, but he's definitely mastered the Hawk Death Glare.

FYI, Bob Woodward, if you're reading this, no threat is intended or implied. We won't let the mean birdie hurt you.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Metal staircase against white brick: shapes and angles in shades of gray.

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