Prest-O-Pop

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Sunday-

  • Pretty, shiny, clean, unusual red.  Careful not to touch, as poison ivy comes back in strength, untroubled by deep winters, heavy storms, or long droughts.  Definitely something to be seen only.
  • Even taking this picture seemed a bit of an adventure.  I looked down at my feet and there were the subtle little vines with their innocent looking buds reaching towards my sneakers.  Poison ivy used to be one of those things, like bee stings, that you just learned about as a child, with whatever consequences teaching you to be a little more careful in taking things for granted.  Nowadays, I suppose, cautious parents fearing deathly reactions keep children well shielded from such things. Perhaps, like Siddhartha’s father, they may find such isolation from reality has its own unintended consequences.

Saturday-

  • I wandered lonely as a cloud/That floats on high o’er vales and hills/When all at once I saw a crowd/A host, of golden daffodils;
  • This scene at Caumsett State Park of the 1711 Lloyd House and 1756 barn reminds me of the William Wordsworth poem.  Vast fields of naturalized daffodils are a remarkable feast for the eyes _ a synopsis of my contradictory views of landscape.  The view pleases me far more than would virgin forest which originally occupied  these slopes.  Like Thoreau, I contemplate the intersection of humans and nature and universe; like him, from a safe, civilized, and long-tamed bit of property. 

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;

Friday-

  • Huntington’s Tulip Festival is in a few days, but the guests of honor look pretty sparse.  Sometimes whole fields of blooms can burst open in hours, but these don’t look quite ready to pop yet.  Picking a hard date, or even weekend, for events is always chancy.  The weather for the fall festival is frequently awful, and even in the summer there have been rainouts during the art show.  But predicting flowers in a season of unknown variables is impossible. 
  • Hecksher park is always nice this time of year.  I joined joggers and walkers and strollers and tiny tots and grim old folks taking laps around the pond, gawking at turtles and a huge white carp, not disturbing the swan on its nest.  Some days like this feel like old times, as if we could go back generations and whole families of different ages would be doing much the same thing.  A nice, gentle, feeling of connections through time.  I hope it remains in the far future.  In the more immediate near future, I will return when everything is open, one of the lucky people able to adjust my schedule to fit that of nature.

Thursday-

  • Flowers get all the glory, but newly formed leaves have their own infinite range of crisp shapes and subtle varied hues.  Like an individual lost in a crowd, each leaf comes to mean almost nothing except as it contributes to the whole.  This maple cluster has dull red cotyledons, dark and light greens freshly glistening, sharp edges, and intricate origami folds.  In a day or so it will be _ just another unnoticed spot on one of the numerous trees along this road as cars race by.
  • It’s probably too easy to make too much of this.  If there were a problem, I think it would be that we have so much attracting our attention that we miss the basic reality that there is always more to experience more deeply.  Our vision darts from tulip to magnolia to forsythia to cherry and once in a while notices sky or water.  Then it’s back to business, or the radio, or shopping, or worry or planning.  Who has time?  Only nature.  Only leaves like these.

Wednesday-

  • Buoys have been laid in the harbor for weeks now, and after a proper incubation period in the warmer weather, it seems they are hatching boats just about every day.
  • I used to resist using zoom too much as a false picture compared to a snapshot.  But any selection of anything, any art, any communication, is necessarily not the whole truth.  I remember a tale of the French artist Courbet where a hiker came upon him painting in a field.  The naturalistic landscape was beautiful, but as far as the traveler could tell had nothing to do with anything around them.  He asked Courbet, who silently pointed do a distant hill, where the onlooker finally made out the small bit of barely noticeable scenery.  So, sometimes, I use zoom and close focus which select and distort _ very much like my words each day.

Tuesday-

  • Cherries are now joining the parade of forsythia, daffodils, magnolias, tulips and other less spectacular colors.  Well, green is a pretty spectacular color if we consider chlorophyll as the main reason why the biosphere exists as it does.  But people tend to discount what is most plentiful.  For that matter, the deep blue sky is hardly an aesthetic slouch.  Around the bend, red-winged blackbirds have started their racket, warning passersby to keep their distance.  Soon their ancient battle with nest-robbing crows will begin again.
  • This week, in particular, the scenery changes over the mile that I walk from the inlet to the head of harbor.  The inlet is exposed to the open sound, from whence have been blasting constant frigid winds rechilled by the large expanse of cold water.  When I start, up there, spring has hardly started, trees are bare branches, leaves are only unfurling grudgingly, if at all.  But by the time I have reached Mill Pond, everything is open, even most of the trees, and what is not completely covered by foliage is at least decently cloaked.  And should I venture further, into town, well,  anything not open is probably killed off by the winter.  Birds must experience amazing differences as they swiftly dart around.

Monday-

  • Perhaps reflecting a violent streak in the culture, there are many references to explosions, bursts, and fireworks when describing what is happening all over the landscape.  A tree suddenly flowers.  A flower suddenly fades.  Leaves suddenly hide branches.  Grass lawns appear to jump a few feet tall overnight.  Whole hillsides are reworked, fields shift colors en masse.
  • I prefer a gentler comparison to popcorn or certain breakfast cereals.  While occasionally startling, these huge changes are never scary.  They are harbingers of better times _ each day makes it more certain that snowfall is banished for another 9 months or so, that temperatures will continue to edge a bit closer to comfortable.  Watching these cherry blossoms frame the water is simply  delightful.  Everything else is a grand pageant, which I am privileged once again to witness.

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