the Yule approach–
long dark nights, short grey days–
the circle turns–
we say farewell, begin
come into warmth–
and light—twining seeds in
I have not seen many holiday decorations yet in my walks. But door wreaths have started to make an appearance. Although considered a Christmas decoration now, evergreen wreaths have an ancient history with the Yule season and Solstice. The door wreath has long been a sign of welcome and friendship as well.
This church has wreaths on both the railing and the door. You can’t see them very clearly in my photo, but the front doors are all wreathed as well.
I don’t know if my building will have a wreath or a tree, but we have Hanukkah lights.
And you can see more seasonal Thursday Doors here.
of the sun, spirit
extend us your wings
Eagles are one of the world’s largest birds, with massive wings that allow them to fly for a long time and with great speed, all with a minimum of effort. They can go many weeks between meals, and will eat whatever is available in their habitat–other birds, amphibians, fish, small mammals. They can carry up to four times their own body weight, but will often scavenge for food rather than killing live prey.
“Eagle eye” is not just a saying. An eagle’s vision is eight times sharper than a human’s–they see both much farther, and with greater focus. They can also see a wider range of colors, including the ultraviolet spectrum.
I decided to do an eagle this month because Nina sent me this wonderful wooden eagle that her father brought back from Jerusalem. I have a bird totem carved by my sister-in-law’s father that Nina thought would make a good companion–and it does.
Although I began by drawing bald eagles, I realized after a bit of research that Nina’s eagle was more likely a golden eagle, which was once a common inhabitant of Israel, but is now only represented by a few breeding pairs, for all the usual reasons–decline of habitat, human predation. So I drew a golden eagle as well.
My poem is a shadorma. The eagle has powerful symbolism in cultures all over the world. Thanks, Nina, for adding this beautiful totem to my living space!
Some seasonal images inspired by Andy Goldsworthy.
After our short city break for the KA No.41, we’ve taken a brisk, bracing detour out into the wintry countryside, where we encountered Ice Spiral by the celebrated land artist, Andy Goldsworthy. Enjoy this latest collection of artistic responses to Goldsworthy’s fleeting installation of ice, light, place and form.
“When I felt the cold from this week’s prompt, I wanted to recollect the bitter winter in rural Ireland from last year. When I look at these photos, all I can think about is miniature vistas frozen in time: pocketed air bubbles, mimicking silver dollar plants, are trapped among planes of ice like tiny moons; milky swirls of frozen water interjected with brambles, which loop in and out like a serpent on the hunt, and if the camera panned up, something would surely arise from the mist!”
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The city is full of sudden plantlife, unexpected oases surrounded by buildings, sidewalks, streets, schools, gates. A potted plant outside a doorway, a vibrant treewell, a median full of flowers, a community garden. A classroom for curious students, a delight for the eyes of a walker, a home for busy squirrels, chattering birds.
colors change between
here and now—they are only
made of light you know—
each shining moment has waves–
none of them ever repeat
I’ve photographed this beautiful gate and looked inside at the garden many times, but I never knew anything about it until I stopped and read the sign on the Amsterdam Avenue side. To be fair, it’s partly covered by a tree branch, and the benches below it are often full of people chatting or just resting along their way. What I discovered is that it’s part of the high school down the block, the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers. An outdoor classroom! I like that idea.
The gate itself has wonderful details, reflecting the focus of the space inside.
The students evidently open the gates to the community on occasion to share both their knowledge and what they have grown. I will keep a lookout for announcements of such an occasion in neighborhood newsletters. You can read more about it here.
The poem is my first attempt at Tanka Prose, as prompted by Colleen for #TankaTuesday.
And here’s a look at Riverside Park, which has finally decided it’s Autumn in New York.
You can see more doors and join in Thursday doors yourself here.
breath catches, consumed, clinging
to vanishing light
to the bare crowns of branches–
hope hangs tenuous, threaded–
taut, still, wintering
A seasonal dVerse quadrille for my December grid. De provided the word crown as inspiration.
In the beginning you can divide the questions
into a multitude of forms.
For your second act define your journey.
Offer your voice to the silence of light.
Remember to open the secret red door.
Do you know why?
It’s too early to be the end.
For the Kick-About prompt this week I did a collage inspired by Leger’s painting The City. When I consulted the collage box Oracle, it gave me some cryptic advice about a red door. Which led me to search in my files for any red doors I had photographed–perhaps one of them was the secret city door of the message. The one above I had obviously noticed on more than one occasion, as I had multiple photos from different dates.
It certainly looks as if it could hold a few secrets.
Here’s a preschool door–on weekdays there are strollers parked both inside and out. Who knows what secrets reside in the mind of a 3-year-old?
And here’s a handsome red church door, in an old building that I’m sure holds many of its own secrets.
As always, you can see more doors and join in Thursday doors yourself here.
Inspired by Leger’s vision of the city.
From the ephemera of the last KA’s flowers of fire, to the more concrete energies of Fernand Leger’s La Ville, it’s another showcase of new works made in a short time by an eclectic group of creatives. We have ‘all sorts’ of different work in the mix – and quite literally this time too! Happy browsing.
“I wanted to create an abstract image that conjured up the feeling of climbing some obscenely huge tower and looking down on the endlessly sprawling megalopolis below.”
“I don’t know why, but Léger’s work reminds me of liquorice allsorts, with a touch of fuzzy felts (remember them?) thrown in… So I spent an enjoyable afternoon playing with sweets, attempting to recreate something vaguely Léger-like, at the same time gobbling the residue – eating the art! Can’t recommend it highly enough!”
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a grid of
come closer, look inside now–
behind the door, more
The doors and windows of this Sherwin Williams paint store on Amsterdam Avenue always catch my eye and makes me smile.
The actual entry door is to the side, complete with the symbol and motto “cover the earth”.
Sculptured door update: this now appears to be a building lobby, with a central garden/atrium inside. But strangely, not only is there no address number to identify the building, but all the surrounding buildings have their own numbered doors with mailboxes for tenants inside. Is it possible they are sharing the inside space and this is the “package room” for multiple buildings? The buildings are all 6 story tenement-style buildings, most likely walk-ups, with businesses on the first floor, so none of them have lobbies or doormen. I like that idea, if it’s indeed the case.
It’s supposed to get to freezing here next week, but in the meantime the flowers in the park are still blooming.
As always, you can see more doors and join in Thursday doors yourself here.
a young farmer dressed in
blue—more likely to discover
through illness than in the heat of
battle—but death is death,
and war knows no
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, in Riverside Park, is a memorial to the Union soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War. Designed by brothers Charles and Arthur Stoughton, with sculptures by Paul E M DuBoy, it was dedicated in 1902.
It has been in bad need of repair for many years. Despite several attempts by local officials to allocate money in the city budget, the monument remains fenced off, “awaiting funding”.
Nearly 100 feet high, it was patterned after the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. Surrounding smaller monuments contain lists of New York volunteer regiments that served in the war, as well as the names of Union generals and battles.
I took these photos on two separate occasions, one a mid-morning last summer, and one on a recent early morning. The light was strange and kept changing on the recent day, at least as it appeared in the photos. It didn’t seem so at the time.
There are also three cannons on the walk way leading up to the monument.
While doing research on the Civil War troops, I discovered that most were farmers in their 20s, and that the Union soldiers were much more likely to die of disease than battle, as the camps were overcrowded and unsanitary. The reverse was true for those who served in the Rebel army–most of them died while fighting.
My poem was written for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday–the prompt was to use the butterfly cinquain form, and include a color in the text. But it was also written in remembrance, on this Veteran’s Day, for all those who have served their countries in the hopes of defending the dream of a free and just world for all.
As always, you can join in Thursday doors here.
Some fireworks to light up your November.
After the gothic shadows of our last Kick-About together, how about a bit of flash, dazzle and colour? Inspired by the delightful illustrations from various collections of Japanese firework catalogues, the Kick-Abouters are lighting things up with a vibrant display of new works made in a short time. Whizz bang ooh ahh indeed!
“My first idea for this wonderful topic was to do some machine stitching on paper, as I thought I could get some exciting and interesting firework patterns with this. However, my sewing machine had other ideas and although I have used this method before, my needles kept breaking and I had to opt for plan B – hand stitching. First I used acrylic inks as background and then added various threads, sequins and oddments from my stash. As I sat sewing it came to me that life is like a firework! It starts…
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