I stopped to take several photos of this fellow as I walked from Laceyland to Hazelthorne. Judging from the chattering and tail-twitching, I think he (?) found me to be a bit of an intrusion. This impression was strengthened when I turned my back to leave and was hit on the shoulder by the walnut shell you see in his mouth. Little bastard.
Facebook friends will have already seen this image, but I just love the colors. Purply-red-orange-brown, that's one of my favorite categories. Autumnal and Winter landscapes tend to have it a lot. Those are black raspberry canes; once Springs shows up in earnest, they will disappear behind walls of bushes almost as formidible as they. Human beings won't be the ones eating those berries. My family knows of several other, more accessible patches though.
My first three years in New York, I lived in ten different locations. Fourth in the series was a four month sublet with classmates in West New York, NJ. Yes, that's the name of the town. And yes, it does have a view of New York City. I was initially disappointed to learn the only way to get there was by bus, either NJ transit or gypsy, both leaving from the Port Authority. I soon learned the buses were dependable and constant, and eventually I began to enjoy the trip, especially out bound. One of the principle pleasures of the home journey was the experience of coming out of the Lincoln Tunnel and heading up the ramp to Kennedy Boulevard, where one got a view of Manhattan. That was a fairly tumultuous time in my life, and there was something so soothing about being able to see the city as a whole OVER THERE, and realize I could leave the tension, questions, and undifferentiated frenzy of Manhattan life behind for the day. The literal change in perspective provided a nice metaphorical one. Things just weren't that big a deal. Even now, whenever I leave the city through Lincoln Tunnel, I can feel a nice drop in blood pressure upon exiting.
This trip back to Indiana, I finally realized this wasn't my first time using this technique. While attending Earlham, when things were feeling especially fraught, I would, far too rarely, take a walk back campus. More than once I would get to the view seen above, where the college was all easily contained in my sights, and think "wow. It's just NOT that big a deal." Whatever 'it' might have been at the time--and if you think I'm overly ruminative now, imagine what I was like between the ages of 18 and 22--this visual trick was always therapeutic. It was a lesson I had to relearn at regular intervals. As far as I can remember, I never walked back there to have this experience, I'd take the walk for some other reason (looking for violets, wanting some exercise, feeling a bit caged) and the view would hit me as if for the first time.
I don't get out to West New York much, and though I have started to collect parks in the city where I get some long vistas, I'm remembering now how good it is to get visual perspective on the city as a whole. I'm going to Dumbo later today, to see a show (Bette Bourne, of Bloolips fame is telling his life story!) but I'll be sure to make some time to look at the city, and shrink it back down to its proper size.