Tag Archive for hudson river

River report

Still chilly here, but you can’t fool a duck. Two male buffleheads chasing each other around, feeling the start of mating season. Buffleheads fly back to the Arctic to nest and raise chicks, but they start the process down here. Not a female in sight, but still, after they finished arguing over fishing rights (which argument included the losing duck diving, twice, and the winning one diving to chase him up from underwater) and the loser flew away, the winner did the dip-the-head-and-preen thing they show off with. Nobody around to be impressed with him but me.

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Not a great photo, but: Da Winnah!

A little later, four red-breasted mergansers paddled by, with their seagull escort. The gulls don’t like the ducks — the gulls don’t like anybody, really — but they often hang around the diving ones because they bring up fish and occasionally drop them. The male mergansers were both showing off for the same female, while the other female just swam on, probably wondering when she’d become chopped liver.

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Small flock

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Showing off

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Seagull escort

Ninth Saturday, one day late

Water slapping wall.
Runner singing to herself.
Traffic whooshing by.

Three construction cranes —
Two bright yellow, one dark red —
Angled on blue sky.

Single bufflehead
Flies in, finds his fishing ground
In river’s center.

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Sixth Saturday

A dozen seagulls
Float calmly on glass water
Pecking at breakfast.

Three Brant geese fly by,
Shadows splayed on river’s blue,
Disappear at pier.

Single mallard swims.
Female left with another.
An old, sad story.

Fifth Saturday

Sky’s furrowed cloud bank
Echoing river’s ripples.
Water’s white and blue.

Ghostly half-moon hangs,
High over far shore’s towers.
Foreign planetscape.

Seagull tips his wings,
Floats low over piling field,
Circles in to perch.

Snowzilla, Part One, plus a manifesto

These are some of the photos I took this morning in NYC. Yes, I was out. I go to the river every morning before I start work, by which I mean, every morning. The exceptions are morning when I have some early appointment, but the exceptions are not weather. Weather is part of the point.

Because I learned this in a sudden epiphany years ago: gorgeousness and pleasantness are not the same. What happened was, I went with a friend to Storm King Art Center. It was summer, July or August, a very hot day. Storm King’s a vast outdoor sculpture park, conceived and operated to present, well, vast outdoor sculptures. We’d been roaming over the rolling hills for about half an hour, sweating as we ambled from diSuvero to Noguchi, when it started to rain. My friend was all for running into the small house they use to show small works. But this was just a warm rain, no thunder, no lightning, and we’d been so hot and sweaty. And a Henry Moore was glistening white and wet in the distance. My friend went in; I stayed outside, meandering around on the soggy grass, seeing the glistening Moore, watching drops plink into puddles in Noguchi’s carved stones. And I realized: physical discomfort is unavoidable, and everywhere. My back hurts after a couple of hours at my desk. I have to grab for air playing basketball. Nothing, as long as I live in this physical body, is without cost. So why not get wet in a fabulous rain near plinking Noguchis?

This philosophy has served me well. I got to see double rainbows in Mongolia after a cold wet night.

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I tramped through — and fell down in — slippery mud in the terraced rice fields of Yunnan, and I saw this.

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And I went out today in Snowzilla, and found many things.

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Outside from inside, just before I left.

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Holly

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Snowplow tracks

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The river near my bench

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Light and its reflection

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Grating

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Sledding kids (what a good daddy they have)

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Trees and wall

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Benches

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Trees

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I wasn’t at the river alone

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Hard-working building super

Fourth Saturday

Wind gusts, tires’ chains clink,
Snow tapping on jacket’s hood,
Snowplow’s mighty roar.

Horizontal rail,
Slanted snow, roiling river,
Twirling windborne leaf.

Sledding children laugh,
Spin down pine grove’s slippery hill,
Tumble into drift.

Third Saturday, two days late

Drops begin to splash.
Gray coagulating mist
Splattering pavement.

Bright painted ferry
Plows down river through thick fog.
Red and yellow ghost.

Rain stops, clouds break up.
Town-crier seagull flaps north.
Blue sky is announced.

Second Saturday

Tower on far bank
Glows in shaft of morning sun
Against charcoal sky.

Tide at highest point.
Just twelve pilings visible.
Hundreds more submerged.

No ships. Slow south wind.
Long low swells slide into shore,
Slip along seawall.

First Saturday, six days late

Betcha thought I didn’t do these, huh? I did. But I lost them. But I found them. Just in time to post them before this week’s!

Blue and white striped tug,
Black tires nailed to painted hull,
Frothy wake behind.

Tide’s out, river’s low.
On pilings, flock of seagulls
Sit like sentinels.

Cormorant pops up.
Looks left, right. Nothing to see.
Arcs and dives again.

Fiftieth Saturday, one day late

Pair of soccer balls
Float slowly on river's glass,
Glow in morning sun.

Two paddling gadwalls
Slicing through waveless water
Raising tiny wake.

Long low swell rolls in,
Angles against seawall, breaks,
Single wave rolls out.



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