Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gum Frog

Inexplicably, someone left their gum on the leaf of this plant. . .

. . .however, I think it looks like a little frog!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Muscota Marsh: A "Meeting" Place

At the northern tip of Manhattan lies the Muscota Marsh.

It is a place of many "meetings". . .

where land MEETS water. . .
     . . .the Munsee tribe of the Lenape Indians fished, farmed and hunted there. "Muscota" is a Lenape word meaning "meadow by the water" or "where the reeds grow" (see Thomas Rainer's wonderful blog post, Muscota Marsh Park: A Lucid View of Troubled Waters for an in depth discussion of the marsh's cultural impact and history).

where fresh and salt waters MIX. . .

     . . . or estuaries-- a place where rivers, streams, creeks, etc., empty out into the sea or the ocean. They are some of the most rich, diverse and productive of natural habitats.

For the Lenape, the marsh was a place abundant in oysters, clams, crabs and fish. They fashioned the reeds growing there, into "weirs" to trap the fish.

where the northern tip of Manhattan KISSES the western edge of the Bronx. . .
     . . .in the time of the Lenape, at tide's ebb, they could walk across the mudflats between the two land masses.  Centuries later it would be dredged to create the Harlem River Shipping Canal, thus effectively and finally separating them.

where culture and history CLASH. . .
     . . .here the Lenape would encounter the Dutch. And, like the insistent pull of the tide, so too would begin the  inexorable shift from one way of life to another. . .the Dutch gave the waterways bounding Manhattan their own names. . .Spuyten Duvil Creek. . .the Harlem River, which flow into each other there.

and, most recently, where Columbia University 
ENCROACHES upon the surrounding community. . .

     . . .the restoration of this green space is an amenity received through a community benefits agreement, in return for allowing Columbia to build a stadium and athletic center, down the street.

In this place of many meetings, an attempt has been made 
to reconnect the community to the waterfront. . .
the re-intersection of the urban and natural worlds.

Will it be successful? Only time will tell.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wiggly Worm

Saw this little guy in Bryant Park, during one of my lunch time walks. . .

. . .not sure what brought him outside that day. 

When I was a little girl, I remember that when it rained the earth worms would come up out of the ground onto the sidewalk.

My teachers always cautioned us not to step on them, because they were beneficial. . .

. . .so I didn't, even though I still thought they were kind of icky.

It's been a long time since I've seen earth worms when it rains. . .

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Soft or Hard Landing?

In permaculture, “edge”— that is, the place where two landscapes meet— is a very interesting place.

For the little berries here, what happens to them next. . .

. . .depends into which landscape they've landed.

Smashed upon the pavement. . .

. . .or absorbed back into the earth to complete their cycle?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

PoetryPeek: Reminders

by J. Lanier

That great big puddle at the corner
obstacle to my crossing

Reminds me that
this stranded spring shower remnant 
also seeks its purpose:
to return to earth and nurture life
That sludgy liquid
pooled around the sewer grate

Reminds me that 
this stagnant trickle was once 
part of a million clear raindrops
falling urgently from the sky 
during a summer storm

Those piles of leaves
rustling along urban concrete
eddied by autumn winds

Remind me that
they too seek to complete their cycle 
beginning / ending in the sky and 
ending / beginning in earth's crumbly dark womb

That slushy, icy snow
slippery winter nuisance to old bones

Reminds me that 
      we all have a place and purpose

If we can only find
 how we fit

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Even amidst powerful ebb and flow. . .

. . .of water's tide,

our own traces intrude--

. . .overpowering its pristine beauty.