Greenery

Sunday

  • Summery view over the meadow at the Halesite park on the site of the ancient pottery works.  This is a tiny, neglected, overlooked bit of open land, although a shot like this makes it seem larger than it is.  Buttercups add a note of festivity which will be temporarily removed with the next mowing.  A few large trees have been lost here to storm and age over the last few years; surprisingly that has improved the  vista.
  • I try not to get too cute about novelty angles like this, which required lying in the grass (thus, I have been informed, risking my life by exposing it to ticks.)  Likewise, I try to come up with some at least slightly different thought each day.  Surprisingly, neither of these tasks is so difficult as it seems.  Any moment at any place in the world is too much for us to comprehend and contains all the novelty anyone would ever need.  Even more so my mind, unbounded by time and with fantasies that escape the realm of the physical cosmos altogether.

Saturday

  • Blue Irises in a roadside garden lovingly attended by a private beach club.  But this is not nature, claim purists.  Yet neither are the dock, nor shelter, nor chain link fence, nor, for that matter, the road from which this picture is taken.  Maybe the division is wrong _ people are, after all, part of nature too.  What they carefully tend and present, however out of place in a strict nativist ecological sense, is just as natural as a meadow cleared by lightning strike, or ponds created by beavers.
  • Anyway, it is completely idiotic to present Huntington as an area seeking to preserve its native rural character.  Not only is it far more urban than rural _ with thick population, wires everywhere, gas and water lines under the ubiquitous roads _ but “rural farms” themselves resulted from clearing native forests for crops.  I am grateful that people make efforts to beautify even tiny bits of ground for the enjoyment of us all.

Friday

  • Wisteria covers a tree by the old mill pond at Cold Spring Harbor.  The inlet is behind the camera, this is just about the exact spot that in the early 1900’s marked the division between the town and dock areas and the upscale “Casino” hotels and estates along the shoreline.  Well-off people would come out from New York City by steam train or steamer boat for a day trip or weekend to taste some of the glory of the “Gold Coast” in its prime.  All gone now, as are many things from that era.
  • Wisteria is hardly subtle, often blanketing huge trees in clusters of light purple blossoms, but somehow it is easy to miss in the foliage as I go by.  It takes an effort to appreciate, and I admit my picture does it no justice.  Another example of how I need to sometimes slow down and look hard to see what’s really there.  T’would be a sin to take all this wonder for granted, and assume there is something better right over the next hill.

Thursday

  • Out with the old, in with the new!  Fresh reeds have almost replaced the brown ones, which have withstood all the ravages of winter and spring storms so well.  Now broken brown stalks line parts of the harbor in thick mats, gradually decaying away to floating detritus, muck, and probably food for some aquatic creatures.  That is the way of life, that even the strongest go away, and younger take the stage.
  • This is easy to accept intellectually, and even beautiful to see in action, but it also cuts deeply as I myself age.  In spite of philosophy and rationalization, I regret loss of my young man full of promise and my middle-aged man filled with purpose and importance.  I was strong, I survived the storms, I am still here brown and stiff _ but the younger green shoots are all around and soon will take over completely.  Spring, as well as autumn, has lessons in mortality and humility.

Wednesday

  • This weekend kicks off the bureaucratic start of summer, when fees are collected at parks and beaches.  Lifeguards will be on duty, the buoys for swimming are already out, although the water is far too cold for all but the most hardy.  These chokecherry trees will be ignored by the crowds rushing onto the sands for some sun and open views.  Most of the boats will be taken on their inaugural seasonal voyage, even if it only amounts to a mile or so.
  • Meanwhile, plants have taken advantage of the warm turn of weather to expand aggressively.  Every day, ragweed seems to have jumped another foot.  Weeds spring up in our garden and suddenly cover newly planted flowers.  Shaggy shrubs need trimming.  I’m sure if there were man-eating flora around, it would be claiming its first victims.  

Tuesday

  • Seems early for beach roses, but they bloom as they will.  All of a sudden transformations are staggering, one succession following another, waves of blooms fading away into fruit.  Not enough time to really appreciate the cherries _ they are long gone.  The azalea blooms fall massively in downpours, but rhododendrons are stepping up with even larger flowers.
  • I want to tell it to all slow down, give me some time to enjoy each bit a while longer, but petals keep falling and new leaves obscure color.  Time will not wait for me, not only the spring days but each year rushing by, no matter how horrified I may become at its pace.  I must spend the effort to intensely see and experience instead of doing something “more important” which I have scheduled in ignorance of what truly matters.

Monday

  • No mountains as in the Rogers and Hart song, but greens have taken over, swamping the efforts of azaleas and dogwoods.  Many many shades of green, lots and lots of leaves.  It’s an aggressive grab for sunlit territory from smallest weed to mightiest oak.  Even the harbor water is turning murky, algae paint the rocks.
  • I’m more like Hansel and Gretel than Leatherstocking _ woods seem dreary and dangerous.  Tree after tree, might contain a witch or wolf or bear, definitely have snakes and biting insects.  Usually more fun to view from a distance than to follow rutted muddy trails endlessly, hoping for a clearing to arrive.  Here, of course, is all civilized and parceled out, and the most dangerous wild beasts are unleashed dogs and angry property owners.

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