You could consider this an appendix to my latest would-be humorous essay “Dress for unsuccess,” or a buried link to my definitive story of playing softball, but you have to admire me for submitting to the self-mortification of taking and showing photographs of myself, something I passionately hate to do, using my mockable image to promote my re-mockable verbiage.
You might also note this tip of tidying up, this psychological trick of de-accessioning: Can’t bear to part with some old thing, for sentimental reasons, for some sort of attachment to the story of your life? Then simply take a picture and throw the damn thing out. For some time I’ve been meaning to do exactly that with the uniforms of my long-past athletic “career.”
So if you’re brave enough to click through (I didn’t want my image to share space with nature’s beauties), you’ll see an old guy modeling his team get-ups from thirty or forty years ago, thinking about them antique “glory days” one more time, before these rags meet their overdue destiny.
Pictures are thanks to an individual who is better left unnamed, dragooned for the ordeal. It’s an ugly job, but someone had to do it.
Continue reading “My team uni’s: an ugly pageant”
Under this heading, I include two sets of photos taken through the course of the first half of July, one focusing on the Yard and one on the Field. For each, click on upper left picture to begin sequence.
Out the back door in early July, where a later-blooming rhododendron, once gnawed to the ground by rabbits, has its brief day in the sun.
The blooms are already wilting, but the ants are fine with that.
Reverse angle and see the dogwood, long-reigning queen of the garden.
But in the twilight of her rule.
Before the inevitable fall.
On the other side of the house, the scarlet beebalm is coming in, as the lupine has gone totally to seed.
A cultivated strain of bergamot, against the backdrop of winterberry.
A few days later blossoming in profusion.
To be revisited on succeeding days.
In differing lights.
And against different types of green foliage.
Another day we go to the wild edge of the yard, where the pinks hang on.
Turn around and see the yard. Black-eyed Susans hanging on – too bad that whole hillside of them was mown down weeks ago.
Look to the left and see the daylilies coming in.
Just a few days ago, they looked like this.
And now like this.
I tried to capture the stiff wind that kept me from photographing the thrashing plants on this particular day.
So I came back on a calmer day when more blooms were coming in.
The gardener tells me that the red ones come in first, the multicolored follow, and the yellow are still to come.
But all colors have their charms.
Here’s an overhead view of one of the gardener’s canvases.
From ground level.
Seen here a week or so ago.
And then a week later, with the wild bergamot coming in, but its pale blue not showing up very well in this photo.
Another planting in this area — teazles.
Growing tall and spindly.
And just beginning to bloom. I’ll pick up right here with another post for the second half of July.
In this Field sequence, I’m appreciating the wild world of nature within a hundred yards of our house, which I use as a point of reference to situate the landscape in perspective.
Walking down the driveway, my attention was arrested by some of the wild bushes growing along the fence line.
The honeysuckle is very fruitful.
But sometimes the invasive is invaded, here as grapevine overspreads.
Left alone, the honeysuckle pops with color.
Our closest neighbors. Before there were Appaloosas in this field, there were in succession sheep, pigs, and goats, among others. If you’re interested, house is on the market for $675K.
According to the resident botanical expert, this is silky dogwood.
These berries will eventually turn blue.
But for now they’re bright white.
Starting back down driveway, you can see the marsh in relation to our house.
No trail has been cut through the field, but a horse or two has walked through.
Leaving a vestige of a path.
Coming into patches of cow vetch.
In wild profusion, in close proximity to house in background.
Cow vetch is one of my favorite wildflowers.
So indulge me.
Now turn around and check out this spread of milkweed blossoms.
Again indulge my fascination with a plant.
Reference similar image in “The Oomph of Ooms”
Buds about to burst like fireworks.
Along the vestigial path to right.
And over the rise of the hill.
Where we turn back in the direction of the house.
Finding the figure of a leaping doe in a cloud of daisy.
And reveling in textures of vegetation.
And stars of gold. (St. John’s wort?)
Enjoying the abstract expressionism of nature.
Heading back through the field.
Where this quartet of horse’s asses caught my eye, for a picture I call “Meeting in the Oval Office” (see Trump at right?).
More textures alongside the drive.
And bedstraw gone to seed.
In the field nearest the house, all the bedstraw has just been cut down.
Clover, thyme, and bedstraw round off the story – till next time.
CE was zooming with Friends from the Quaker Meeting she normally attends over in Old Chatham, NY, and one of them recommended a conservation area near there as a great place of peace and beauty.
So one mild morning, we took the familiar drive to very near the top of the Taconic Parkway, to see what Ooms had to offer. A lot, as it turned out, plenty of oomph for the journey. I expect to make it a regular rest stop when going up or down the Taconic.
Take a walk around the site with me, then stick around around for a postscript 360-degree twirl from the highest point of the reservation, Sound of Music-style.
As usual, click on upper left photo to begin slide carousel:
Barely fifty yards from where we parked the car, our first glimpse of Sunderland Pond.
Around the eastern tip and along the southern shore.
With many and varied viewpoints on the pond.
And the adjacent plant life.
In various textures and patterns.
Pickerel weed, or so I’m told.
Lovely shade of purple.
And attractive morphology, for the pollinators and for the human eye.
The trail turns uphill away from the shore.
I had to take this picture of milkweed among grasses, since I just took almost the same picture a day or two before not a hundred yards from the house.
Bird’s-foot trefoil dominates the mid-July meadows.
But soon to be overtaken by spotted knapweed.
Which is just beginning to bloom.
A few blooms among the many spotted buds just ready to burst.
Bordered by banks of wildflowers.
The trail goes uphill.
And the pond comes back into view to the right.
To the left the distant Catskills come into view.
Pond to right.
Mountains of trefoil to left.
Where a shaft of sunlight signals the changing weather.
Here we reach the western end of the pond.
Where this stoplight of chicory turns us around.
And we turn back to take another trail.
Above the southern edge of the pond.
Back to the parking lot, we take the trail along the northern edge of the pond.
Where the chicory is abundant.
And leads us along the path.
Through this passage.
To this concluding view of the pond, and across it to a hill, from which the succeeding 360-degree view was taken.
Take a ride on this carousel from the high point of the Ooms Conservation Area, from South to West to North to East:
This heading is all too literal, since after taking pictures on the 4th of July – of this field of black-eyed-susans that I visit each year around this time – I went back two days later to catch some views in a different light. Too late, because the hay mower had just been through. So these are the pictures I got when I could. Carpe diem!
Besides these photo-walks, another new pandemic endeavor for me has been a blast-from-the-past bit of video-making. For CE’s virtual storytime for Lanesborough Library (see her YouTube channel here), I have assumed the role of auteur, master of mise en scène and sinuous cinematography.
I’ve mentioned my corruption of the Cartier-Bresson dictum into “the indecisive moment,” as a way to describe my hit-or-miss approach. I’m not looking for Ansel Adams-like clarity, composition, and finish – just making a visual documentary record of single point of intersection in time and space that happens to strike me as portal into another dimension. It’s all more accident than art, more momentary than composed, more fleeting than enduring. Please share the moment with me.
Starting out from home.
Up the driveway to North Main.
Past the 1832 schoolhouse.
And past the scarred trunk of this still-standing old tree.
Could the tree be as old as the schoolhouse?
Lower field after cutting.
Passing by the middle field, with cutting resumed in distance.
By the maintenance building at entrance to state park, we’re headed to field in distance at left.
Where black-eyed-susans have claimed the field.
Though willing to coexist with other growth.
Still, it’s all about the Susies.
Or spreading across the field.
As far as the eye can see, but only as long as the eye can see, since I missed out on a second viewing.
I’m still looking to create the definitive photo-walk for my favorite trail in Mount Greylock Reservation, but as a down payment I put together this sequence from several June walks on Northrup. For ideal effect, I recommend looking at an earlier view of the same terrain in May. (Click on any photo to initiate carousel.)
Two miles into the park, we have a quasi-private parking space, near where Northrup trail crosses the road.
Alongside the road, the natural delights begin, as I manage to capture a butterfly in the indecisive moment.
A few steps off the road, we’re into a different world.
Later in the year, we’ll see why these are called blue bead lilies.
This trail was widened by a four-wheel vehicle…
…bringing materials to build this sturdy woodland bridge.
View from the bridge.
And from the other side, for comparison to photo in early May.
Beyond the bridge.
What’s that white cloud in the distance?
It’s the blackberry bramble, from the same angle taken back in May.
Can you see the butterfly?
Here’s another. They love these bushes.
Which stretch through the woods.
Is this the burning bush that Moses saw?
Or merely the glory of evening light?
We continue on to the beaver pond.
Where you can spot one of the critters at the intersection of the fallen tree trunk, and the floating V in the water.
Here’s a clearer view, as it turns to eye us. Brace yourself for the cannonball flap of its tail. Too bad I missed the picture of another beaver swimming right past the plank bridge, with a big branch of tender green to take back to the lodge for its kits.
The beaver’s handiwork.
And another lower pond.
After reading Ben Goldfarb’s excellent book “Eager,” I have an enhanced appreciation for these marvelous hydrological engineers.