~bird bath~

August 12th, 2017

New York Minute: bath time at Central Park’s Hallett Bird Sanctuary.

~necessity, invention, etc~

August 10th, 2017

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Annual dog days Ratatouille extravaganza always reminds of a visit to a friend during her residency at the Headlands, wherein I had this dish, as made by a sweet ex-Chez Panisse chef. She kindly shared her secret (roast each vegi separately before combining), which I cavalierly ignored for this batch–made in a kitchen currently sans oven (and gas), thus on an induction plate, in a turkey roasting pan.

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~new york minute~

August 2nd, 2017

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I decide to skip the subway and walk north from City Hall–I’m only going a mile or so, what’s a little rain? Fat drops land on the sidewalk, leaving wet polka dots the size of silver dollars. It picks up. My shoes start to squish. As I pass the 6 train at Canal Street, I hesitate. Nah, just walk, you’re not made of sugar. Moments later I’m huddled under a hotel awning with a couple strangers, watching umbrellas turn inside out and buckets pour from the sky.

A dude–30s, suit, entitled–slams the locked security door open and into me. He doesn’t apologize, just looks out at the downpour and retreats back into the lobby. I follow. He carries a giant black umbrella that features the hotel logo. It’s so ill-conceived I can’t make it out. I stand in the shadows in a growing puddle and silently mouth my best guess: NoMoSoHo?

The impossible lobby graphics behind him are weirdly prescient regarding our predicament.

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Another dude appears, also armed with that umbrella, and two kids in tow. He’s got a whole thing going on–gun tattoo on his left forearm, bullet on his right hand, chunky rings, LA hair, those ubiquitous cop sunglasses–especially ridiculous in the current weather. He’s a musician, or a musician’s personal assistant.

The kids are styled too. The elder, a girl of eight or so, wears tiny shorts and suede booties with stacked heels. Her bed hair feels considered. We all watch the rain for a long, long while. It lets up some, then gets much worse. “Let’s go to the Pan Cotiddion,” says the rocker dude, finally. “Where?” asks lil’ Jane Birkin. “The Pan… Cotidden.” “Where?” “That place with the tiny pancakes you don’t like.” And so they do.

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About that time it occurs that a lady might procure such an umbrella herself. I find the front desk and tell the man behind it the truth (I didn’t pack an umbrella and would like one of theirs), excluding the fact that I’m not a hotel guest. And just like that, I’m walking up Lafayette Street beneath a giant, silly design object (pictured by Basquiat’s door, for scale).

~donk day afternoon~

July 25th, 2017

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Monster Olds Cutlass Supreme, aka Donk.

Window sticker reads: “Yours can go fast, but mine can go anywhere.”

~sun & sphinx moth~

July 23rd, 2017

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~buggy breakfast~

July 20th, 2017

~biarritz meets the bronx~

July 19th, 2017

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~avian evidence~

July 12th, 2017

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~knock on wood~

July 6th, 2017

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On the way back down from a midday run, I paused to see if my eyes had played tricks on me as I’d passed the lodge on my way up the valley. But indeed, there in the grass beneath the postbox was a woodpecker, a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. It sounds like a vaudevillian insult, but they aren’t chickenhearted, just burnished golden and loving of tree sap, which they graciously share with opportunistic hummingbirds.

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My emissary was male–they have that lovely red throat, which they show off in courtship. He was strangely angelic folded in my hand, both familiar and mysterious. To Native Americans, a visit from this spirit animal is a reminder to march to your own drum, to the heartbeat of mother nature, to invite the shamanic. It’s also a totemic call to attention, to opportunity soon knocking.

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The message I conjured was in the woodpecker’s steady, focused communication, as in tapping Morse code or measured braille-like rows. Woodpeckers don’t sing, they tap (or tattoo) to claim territory, lure a mate, and alert their mate to predators and food sources.

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Whatever my visitor may foretell of coming days, he also gave me the gift of knowing him better. I’d not realized the black neck ruff is actually iridescent green, nor how much like pinfeathers are those that make up that bold red. I’d never noticed the iconic spots are so polka-dotty, nor seen that formidable beak at close range.

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The best secret, though, was the twin feathers at the tail’s peak that split black and striped, right down their center. I bathed, dried, and fluffed this bird’s feathers to best honor him in these photographs, and before I’d finished it felt as though he’d been given a final task before crossing over: allowing me to prepare him for it. Wood to woodpecker: honored.

~dog days~

July 4th, 2017

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