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

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday bird blogging


I'm in the mood for some bright colors today and the bill and eye ring of this oystercatcher on San Cristobal in the Galapagos from 2013 makes me smile.

If travel ever becomes a possibility, if getting on a plane or a ship is ever reasonably safe again, the Galapagos would be top of the list of places I'd love to revisit.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Saturday reflections


End of the semester crunch and everything is running late, but here are some very cool reflections from the Javits Center.

Thursday, November 26, 2020


A picture from Iceberg Alley in Antarctica, for no particular reason except that I find this strange beauty appealing today. 

I'm tempted to say that it's a reminder that I once had another life, where I went places and did things, but that both is and isn't true. I've certainly had other lives -- when I was a child, when I was a student, when I worked in kitchens and storefronts and offices -- and some of them seem distant enough to feel as though they belong to someone else, like a story I once read and have half-forgotten now.

But this weird time we're all living through is just another chapter, even if the plot twists are getting more and more unlikely. It's still my life, in the only world I've got. 

And I'm thankful to be here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

The last time I posted a picture of the Helix Nebula, I said that it looked like an eye. 

But this is more like a giant blossom, though maybe reminiscent of the kind of tissue paper flowers we used to make to decorate the gym in high school.

Image Credit and Copyright: CFHT, Coelum, MegaCam, J.-C. Cuillandre (CFHT) and G. A. Anselmi (Coelum)

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday bird blogging

There were two titmice on my fire escape this morning, so here's one of their (slightly blurry) relations from a few years back.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Saturday reflections


More of an abstract than a reflection, maybe, but I'm so in love with that blue I really don't care.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Such stuff as dreams are made on


One of those fortunate mistakes that turns out better than the error-free pictures I was trying for.

This is what happens when you're taking pictures of windows at night and the shutter release jams so you have to yank the cable out of the camera and the last picture it takes is just a blur.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Bonus mid-week bird blogging


I saw this juvenile Cooper's hawk in 2013, but I'm posting it because I didn't manage to get a picture of the adult Cooper's that landed on my fire escape Monday morning.

It only stayed a few seconds -- long enough for my jaw to drop, but not long enough to get even a phone picture. And since it had a small rodent of some kind (probably a rat) clenched in its talons and I was eating, I wasn't that sorry that it didn't stick around for breakfast.

I have been noticing birds I'd never seen before in the backyard, and have been wondering if it's just that I'm spending more time on my bed looking out the window these days, or if they're expanding their usual territory while we humans are in retreat. But I had never seen a hawk outside the park, and definitely not on my fire escape.

Yesterday I saw an email from the Wild Bird Fund reporting that they planned to release a rehabbed Cooper's hawk in the park this past weekend, and I'm guessing that's the bird that turned up here. Maybe she was a little disoriented, or else she just wanted to treat herself to breakfast downtown after getting out of the hospital.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

Well, this isn't ominous at all.

This image of Phobos, the larger of the two Martian moons, was captured by the Mars Express orbiter in 2010, but it is a perfect representation of how we all feel in 2020. Because of its odd appearance and low orbit, Phobos may be a captured asteroid, and on parts of Mars you can see this particular bad moon rising twice a day.

Image Credit: G. Neukum (FU Berlin) et al., Mars Express, DLR, ESA; Acknowledgement: Peter Masek

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sunday bird blogging


Not the best picture I've ever taken of a cardinal, but any cardinal is better than none, I think.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Saturday reflections


West 43rd Street on a beautiful afternoon in late fall.

I wanted to say I'll always know this was taken in 2020 because of the man in the face mask but that assumes, of course, that we will ever reach a point where face masks are no longer required. I know we will, but it won't be in 2020, or early 2021.

But it's another beautiful afternoon here, if a little chilly, and I'm choosing optimism. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Urban poetry


A pile of trash awaiting pickup on Tenth Avenue is a symphony of shadow and light and interesting shapes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

Who couldn't use some dancing galaxies after the week we've all had? I certainly could.

So here is the Hercules Cluster, also known as Abell 2151.

Image Credit and Copyright: Howard Trottier

Monday, November 9, 2020

My tree in autumn

 No wasting time on spectacular crimsons and russets and golds for this tree -- the leaves go from green to brown without pausing for a colorful boast of beauty along the way.

I do love those shadows.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Sunday bird blogging

A raven in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies last summer.

There was (literal) dancing in the streets of New York yesterday when Biden was finally declared the winner of the presidential race. I didn't go to Times Square or Trump Tower or any of the large gatherings; I'm not going to willingly insert myself into a crowd no matter what the occasion. But even in my neighborhood there was music and cars honking and whistles and pots banging and people laughing on every block. A woman leaning from a car window screamed and waved her arms and the answering cheers followed the car like a parade up Tenth Avenue.

New Yorkers have had decades of practice in loathing the Trumps. I never want to have to see any of their sorry asses again after January.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Saturday reflections


A car on West 45th Street, and some beautiful autumnal colors for November.

And how was YOUR week?

I had just set up an arrangement of silk flowers in a corner of my living room a few weeks ago.

Then this happened. It was an accident, obviously, though it was the morning after the election and I was certainly reeling.

At least picking up all the broken glass, and collecting the stones, and vacuuming, and mopping, and vacuuming again, and putting bandaids on all the places I managed to cut myself, was a distraction.

Not a good one. But a distraction nevertheless. 

Update: I changed the picture for a better one. Because of course I took multiple pictures of the carnage before I started cleanup up.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Random cityscape


Here's an older picture of a typical Manhattan architectural jumble. Converting it to black and white gave me something to focus on this morning instead of the rage and blind panic that I'm barely managing to keep under control.

My friend Jayne and I are also talking about a camping getaway in the spring. We're not exactly outdoorsy, and the trip would require my acquiring a car and a place to park it in addition to tents and sleeping bags and all the accessories, but it at least feels both desirable and doable, as opposed to almost everything else in this country at the moment.

I imagine falling asleep to the sound of a stream that isn't an app on my phone, and for a few minutes at least, I can smile.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

And here we have an accurate depiction of the state of my frazzled nerves today.

Or, more accurately, an image of NGC 6357, the Lobster Nebula. I posted a different, somewhat less colorful, picture of it last year, and it goes without saying that in neither of them do I see anything resembling a lobster.

Image Credit and Copyright: Steven Mohr;

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Sunday bird blogging

This isn't as sharp as it could be, but a warbler is always worth sharing, especially if it's a black and white so I can identify it without resorting to the field guide.

I've had more in-person, face to face conversations in the past few weeks than I'd had in the previous six months. Unfortunately, they've almost all been with doctors or other medical personnel, but we take what we can get in these pandemic days -- seeing human faces in three dimensions, even with a mask, is something I'll never take for granted again.

I had such an interesting chat about British police procedurals with the woman who was doing my mammogram yesterday that I almost didn't mind that I was having my breasts methodically squished in a vise while we discussed Inspector Lynley and Hinterland and Scott & Bailey.

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