Sunday, March 27, 2016

Between the woods and the water

We stopped in at Floyd Bennett Field and its deserted runways. A man was fly fishing in the waters of Jamaica Bay. Other men were flying model airplanes. One crashed.

I walked around to see if anything was growing. Northern bayberries had barely broken bud, but even these nubs were resinously aromatic.

Above, an evening primrose's basal rosette. 

Back in the car and a windy beach hike later, above the high water line at Fort Tilden these tiny seedlings were crowded in the sand. I tasted one - sea rocket. An indigenous shoreline plant with wasabi flavour.  How many will survive on these fragile post-Sandy beaches to reach summer maturity?

We drove through the other-worldly beach community of the Rockaways and turned sharp north again over the bay, crossed Broad Channel, and stopped at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Pussy willows had broken cover.

The Frenchman spotted this late winter ephemeral carpet before I stomped over it. From our heights of six feet-plus their masses of white flowers were barely visible. The plants are tiny, no more than two inches high, and the flowers are miniature. Draba verna, spring whitlow, introduced, not native. A group on Facebook identified them for me - I was unfamiliar with the plant. Draba belongs to the Brassicaceae family, so is probably edible, though would make for slim pickin's. If you live holed up in the Unabomber woods and are sick of a winter diet of beans and salt pork...maybe. I used a telephoto for these pictures and only saw the seed capsules later, on my computer screen - I bet they taste peppery.

Otherwise it was cold and very little was astir. Our earlier beach picnic was so chilly that I tied a linen napkin over my ears to prevent them from breaking off.

And then it was home again, after a detour though the neighborhood of Manhattan Beach. Lots of Russians, huge houses, and swans.

From the BQE, the Brooklyn skyline, changing fast. The raised subway line in the middle is my ride to Prospect park, from home.

That will be another day.



  1. ...Russians, huge houses, and swans.
    What a great list. Sounds like the title of a very odd novel, possibly by Kate Atkinson.

  2. The fly fishing shot with buildings in the background is epic!

  3. The fly fishing shot with buildings in the background is epic!


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