February 20, 2017

Through the trees

Posted in My neighborhood, Uncategorized tagged , , at 12:54 pm by chavisory

fullsizerender

March 13, 2013

Evening through the Looking Glass

Posted in My neighborhood tagged , , at 12:50 am by chavisory

lamppost

Late winter walk in the park.

September 30, 2012

Autumn creeping

Posted in City life, My neighborhood tagged , at 3:06 pm by chavisory

August 2, 2012

Just when you think you’ve seen it all…

Posted in City life, My neighborhood, Weird stuff tagged , , at 3:24 pm by chavisory

Yes, that is a tomato plant growing out of an elm tree.

I love you, Central Park.

March 28, 2012

Spring’s Cathedral

Posted in City life, My neighborhood tagged at 10:17 pm by chavisory

Spring's Cathedral

From my first evening walk of spring, in the last week of winter….

September 15, 2011

Coffee shop cat

Posted in City life, My neighborhood tagged , at 12:20 pm by chavisory

Trixie, guardian cat of the Hungarian Pastry Shop.

June 26, 2011

Catnapping

Posted in City life, My neighborhood tagged , at 11:15 pm by chavisory

This is Obi-Wan, who lives around the corner from me.  His human lets him out in the daytime to terrorize the pigeons in the community garden.  I caught him sleeping on the job.

April 25, 2011

Innocence

Posted in My neighborhood, Reflections tagged , , , , , at 1:18 pm by chavisory

I just finished a book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard, which I picked up after I saw it referenced in two different places within a short period of time.  I don’t believe in coincidences; it’s been my experience that when the universe presents things so plainly and repeatedly to me, it’s because they’re going to mean something significant to me.

I requested a copy from the library first, but returned it and went and bought a copy after I loved the first chapter that much.  My apartment is small; I have to be selective about buying books.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is written very much in the heritage of Thoreau’s Walden.  In 1971, Dillard lived near Tinker Creek, in Virginia, and wrote about finding immense significance in the abundance, intricacy and violence of her ecological neighborhood over the course of a year.  It’s a wonderful book to read in the spring.

I was particularly struck by what she says about the human quality of innocence:

Innocence sees that this is it, and finds it world enough, and time….It is possible to pursue innocence as hounds persue hares: singlemindedly, driven by a kind of love, crashing over creeks, keening and lost in fields and forests, circling, vaulting over hedges and hills wide-eyed, giving loud tongue all unawares to the deepest, most incomprehensible longing, a root-flame in the heart, and that warbling chorus resounding back from the mountains, hurtling itself from ridge to ridge over the valley, now faint, now clear, ringing the air through which the hounds tear, open-mouthed, the echoes of their own wails dimly knocking in their lungs.

What I call innocence is the spirit’s unself-conscious state at any moment of pure devotion to any object.  It is at once a receptiveness and total concentration.

We’re so accustomed to thinking of innocence as a negative state: as a lack of knowledge, a lack of sexual experience, a lack of maturity, something to be overcome.  Even in more desirable terms, “lack of guile or corruption; purity,” in the phrasing of my New Oxford American Dictionary, innocence is defined by absence, by lack.  In Dillard’s conception, by contrast, innocence is a positive, nearly palpable state of intensity, a potentiality, a spark, not only the absence of self-consciousness but a presence–devotion–and the capacity for active pursuit of joy.

I wish that we valued innocence more in this way, rather than infantilizing and dismissing it.  For example:

A picture of devotion, fittingly, to a man who gave us so much by pursuing it himself.

February 21, 2011

Last snow day

Posted in City life, My neighborhood tagged , at 3:16 pm by chavisory

I know better than to get my hopes up when we have a warm snap in February that it’s going to last.  I do, I do, I do.  Still, my heart sank a little when I woke up this morning to an unexpected coating of new snow on my windowsill.

{Sigh}.  The lakes and mountains of dirty slush were almost gone.  The mountains of uncollected trash were, too, although piles of dead Christmas trees still depressingly remained, their fragrance dissonant with the bright sunshine, green grass, and warm breeze in which I went out for a walk in t-shirt and hoodie just a couple days ago.

Now we start all over again.

But these are actually pictures from that last big snow day in January…when it was still pretty and childishly exciting…of my tramp through the park to Harlem Meer and the Conservatory Garden.

Snowy branches straight up against the sky.