Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Perimeter Patrol

After being housebound for 48 hours I took myself for a walk to shake off the domestic demons that always sense weakness and pounce. It amounted to a patrol of the hood's borders, a checking of the picket lines. I walked for 25 minutes before I took a picture. On Union Street, at very low tide, the Gowanus lay low and sluggish.

On its surface was the most beautiful bloom of oil. It was mesmerizing. Each patch grew and stretched and kaleidoscoped in the light. I stayed a while. I made movies.

Then I turned right and north up Baltic Street.

Which has turned into a mural allée.


The snow was hardpacked and some sidewalks were clear. It was very cold. I wore tall red Hunter boots which are impervious to the gray slush corner dams.

                         You've all seen pretty snow pictures, but on main drags it's always like this.

At Damascus I bought a new milk pot, which is actually a Turkish coffee pot. Note icicles.

The Shitibikes were iced in (I like the bikes, I hate the branding). 

And a beautifully empty Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park, stretched ahead. The wind and cold were amazing. I wrapped my long scarf over my knitted cap and round my ears and face.

The last weeks of vacillatingly warm temperatures popped some buds. These are birch catkins before the long catkin itself drops out. Like pussy willow. I am not sure how the intense cold will affect buds at this stage.

The grasses are beautiful. I don't know what this grass is. It reminds me of Themeda triandra, rooigrass; my totem grass, if there is such a thing. Grass of childhood, koppies, grasslands. They say it stays in your blood.

Not a soul.

I did not stay long.

The Men in Black Building on Governor's Island guarded the choppy harbor (it's actually a vent for the Red Hook tunnel - not its real name - 140 feet underneath, connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan, via the longest underwater tunnel in North America).

An hour and a half after I set out, I was on my way back along Columbia Street, where I passed Eshete the Ethiopian cat man giving his cats dinner on flattened cardboard boxes. He was even more bundled up than usual and his regular friend from the neighborhood was sharing some hot food with him.

I headed home, grateful for hot showers, a friendly face, dinner to come and a choice of beds and down comforters to sleep in and under.



  1. Having lived in a temperate climate all my life I can't imagine living through those cold winters. I applaud your hardiness!

  2. The grasses seem especially pretty this winter ... maybe it's the crazy winter making me happy to see something that remained normal.

  3. I can't imagine or visualize that depth of cold....I nearly overheated there in July!


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