Monday, April 8, 2013

Pelham Bay - win some, lose some

Perhaps we should have turned around right here. At this traffic circle - a beautiful traffic circle, actually - where we hopped off our bus to start our trek on foot into Pelham Bay Park. The trees on the grassy island in the middle of the road to City Island are enourmous oaks, and these spring beauties - Claytonia virginica  - grow in the grass and leaf litter at their feet. They were by far the most exciting thing we saw all day.

We got to the woods, at last, after passing Orchard Beach, whose faux Greek facades look like they may have been glamorous in the 50's, but which are now shuttered, and hidden behind chainlink, and fading in a deserted way, like an old movie set that no one bothered to take down.

The woods are better, though Sandy's havoc was evident.

We had been here a week earlier, last year, and spring had already arrived, then. There was very little of it, yesterday.

A couple carved something into a tree's bark. No, we did not say anything. There was so much flotsam and jetsam dumped nearby by the high storm tides, so much human muck about, that there seemed to be no point. We were in someone else's country, and we are both a little battle weary.

The tide was very far out - I had no idea that these inlets were so shallow. 

The grass was like fur rearranged by wetness.

There were small fish in that pond. Later, we saw slender and transparent shrimp in another tidal pool. Very surprising proof of life in this dry brown wind-whipped world in the Long Island Sound.

We found a rock out of the wind and ate our sandwiches quite quickly. We were tired, and I think we both wondered why we had come. I have to come out here again (girding my loins for the epic subway ride from Brooklyn), when spring really has arrived in its forgiving greenness. Below - the red bits: this was the only evidence of knotweed! I wonder how fast it will grow, now. Last year it was already about eight inches tall.

We did see  a couple of woodpeckers, and some chickadees. And on the way back I saw these skunk cabbages. Technically edible but not on the menu, for us.

Still, a surprising and succulent sort of green. 

Today is gorgeous, and rain and warm temperatures should loosen everything up. 

This week I must pay a visit to the new, lauded (for design) visitor's center at the Brooklyn Botanic garden, which has a kitchen - I mean, a real one.

 You know what I am thinking. Don't you?


  1. Things have been so early for years that normal years seem late. I've rarely had daffs up in April. They've been march since I started the garden. How bout a plant thermometer - put the species your looking for in a pot and after it comes up, wait 7-10 days and head out. :-)

  2. The forgiving greenness of Spring. Skunk cabbage rising triumphant from papered oak leaves...Thank you for the poetry of your words and images.

  3. Sandy revealed the shocking amount of plastic crap being purged into our waterways. A walk along the rivers, bays, etc. ends up being deeply depressing. Plastic-bottled water drinkers, a little forbearance please.

    Ramps are coming out now.

  4. I was there and it did kind of suck. But your pictures still make it look good. :-)

  5. A kitchen at the BBG?? Marie - waste no time! Get in there and cook/teach/demonstrate/enlighten/invite me (sorry!)
    Did I read your mind (apart from that last bit obviously)?


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