Sunday, June 25, 2017

8 Mile - Brooklyn Edition

I was supposed to go to the zoo in Manhattan this afternoon, and since my friend was first attending church in Manhattan I figured I'd darken the doors of my local church as well.
So I enjoyed a nice morning in Brooklyn.

A few minutes before I was going to have to leave for the Adventure by Subway, I thought to check my phone -- and I learned that my afternoon had freed up due to parade/traffic complications.

So it was a fine day for some nice walks around Brooklyn, interspersed with Relihan's translation of Consolation of Philosophy.  I headed the long way around the perimeter of Prospect Park to get to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
An Answer to the Age-Old Question, Do Trees Grow in Brooklyn?

The bees were out in force today; shown here on lavender, I believe

yellow-and-black on yellow in yellow

Water Lily

The water lily ponds today were graced by a visiting egret.

As tourists crowded around with cameras, the egret promptly took off for the southern pond.

One small step for Egret...

Got it!!!!
There were a fair number of dragonflies on the water lilies in the artificial pine barrens pond in our native flora garden.
Here's Looking at You, Kid

Dragonfly and Ladybug

Turtle Surfacing

Dragonfly on Water Lily Bud - Sneaking Up Behind 

Dragonfly on Water Lily Bud - Side View

Female cardinal
I saw a bluejay in the "native woods" area, but it got nervous as I turned on my camera, and I got only a very blurry picture or two before it disappeared from view.  Just outside, back on the paved path, I saw a beautiful male cardinal - again, I only managed to capture a splotch of red.  As I waited, a female cardinal arrived.  She, too, was fairly shy - but nowhere near as shy as the male.

Borrowing, Homage, Influence

Tolkien fans like to quote Lewis's comment that “No-one ever influenced Tolkien – you might as well try to influence a bandersnatch” (a claim that Diana Glyer has worked to soften or refute in The Company They Keep and Bandersnatch).

Some of them also like to sneer at Lewis for making references to Numinor in That Hideous Strength in homage to Tolkien's Númenor, apparently interpreting this either as a sign of an unoriginal mind, or even as outright "plagiarism" (a claim I find implausible, since Lewis acknowledges the source in his preface and seems to be merely attempting to situate his own original story in the same world with other legends - both the Arthurian and the Tolkienian). 

Still, in this context, it is interesting to consider the following passage from Tolkien's essay "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics":
For it is of their nature that the jabberwocks of historical and antiquarian research burble in the tulgy wood of conjecture, flitting from one tum-tum tree to another.  Noble animals, whose burbling is on occasion good to hear; but though their eyes of flame may sometimes prove searchlights, their range is short.
(Source: The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays.  Ed. Christopher Tolkien. HarperCollinsPublishers, 2006, at 9.)

This is, after all, heavy and unattributed copying from the 3rd and 4th stanzas of Lewis Carroll's 7-stanza poem, "Jabberwocky," including several distinctive words that Carroll himself invented.  Moreover, some are slightly misspelled (tulgy/tulgey, tum-tum/Tumtum), just as with Numinor/Númenor:
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe. 
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
  The frumious Bandersnatch!" 
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought. 
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came! 
One, two! One, two! And through and through
  The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
  He went galumphing back. 
"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
  He chortled in his joy. 
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.
(Source: Through the Looking Glass, in The Annotated Alice.  Ed. Martin Gardner.  New York: Bramhall House, 1960, at 191-97.)

To be clear, I do not criticize Tolkien for invoking "Jabberwocky" in this way; it strikes me as a fair use, just like Lewis's reference to "Numinor."  Indeed, although Tolkien (unlike Lewis) does not mention the original author/source, he clearly expects his audience to recognize the reference and infer that the critics he is criticizing are spouting nonsense.

I do think there is more room for nuance in the discussion.  I happen to like both Lewis and Tolkien, but surely one can love Tolkien and detest Lewis, as a matter of personal taste, without being monstrous in one's own criticism.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Wonder: encounters of the first or second kind

Continuing to reflect on Mythmoot IV.

Experiencing Wonder

The panel shared some of their earliest or profoundest experiences of wonder.  Michael Drout remembered being so taken with Wes þu hal? that he changed his major.  Verlyn Flieger was blindsided by the "Window on the West" in LotR, specifically that moment when "The level shafts of the setting sun behind beat upon [the thin veil of water], and the red light was broken into many flickering beams of ever-changing colour. It was as if they stood at the window of some elven-tower, curtained with threaded jewels of silver and gold, and ruby, sapphire and amethyst, all kindled with an unconsuming fire." John DiBartolo remembered his mother singing away his fear of the dark, an experience that may have led to his own career in music.

My own experiences of wonder most often involve natural beauty -- which can be present even in an urban environment -- and a certain quality of light that strikes me to the core.  C.S. Lewis perhaps came close to capturing its essence.
  • Perelandra's light, filtered by an opaque roof like the golden backdrop of a medieval painting,  is "rich and dim," so that Ransom's "eyes fed upon it undazzled and unaching.  The very names of green and gold, which he used perforce in describing the scene, are too harsh for the tenderness, the muted iridescence, of that warm, maternal, delicately gorgeous world.  It was mild to look upon as evening, warm like summer noon, gentle and winning like early dawn."
    -- C.S. Lewis, Perelandra (1944).
    (Source: C.S. Lewis. Perelandra: A Novel.  New York, London, Toronto, and Sydney: Scribner, 2003.  32.)
Indeed, hundreds of photos posted on this very blog, and thousands more on my computer, reflect my attempts to capture and share this particular luminous beauty, limited only by the quality of the equipment (point-and-shoot) and the skill of its operator (an untrained amateur).

Other memorable experiences of wonder:
  • One extraordinary night on the beach in southwestern Florida in November 2001 with my family, watching the Leonid meteor shower.  The dark sky was filled with shooting stars everywhere.  We started out excitedly pointing them out to each other, but lapsed into awed silence.  We stared up as if in dream, eyes wide, unsleepy.
    "Every star shining brightly / Just like a million years before / And we were feeling very small /Underneath the universe." -- Eurythmics, "When Tomorrow Comes" (video)
  • The day I rushed from the bookstore to a local park and read Stanislaw Lem's The Cyberiad   cover to cover, each story more dazzling than the last.* 
  • My favorite poems, which all do something extraordinary with language.
  • That feeling when you suddenly notice that you've been fully immersed and absorbed in the task at hand, to the exclusion of all other things.  And then you return to it with a sense of wonder that only enhances clarity and focus.  
  • The day I tested for my yellow belt in karate.  I'd forgotten my gi.  I'd forgotten the test had been scheduled for that day.  And then the test started, and I forgot that I didn't know how to do karate.
  • Sleeping out under the stars, in the open air, in the Grand Canyon.
  • The night during that Grand Canyon trip when I awoke thinking it was noon.  But the air was still and the sky above was dark; only the low, unseen moon had sent a shaft of light horizontally through some slot or crevice to my left (out of sight around a sharp bend in the river) to illuminate the entire cliff wall to my right.  
  • A production of Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory, where we walked across the blasted heath, past a ruin with three tall arches, to reach our seats all around the long dirt stage.  In the opening scene, the witches levitated in those arches, gently bobbing up and down.  
  • My first time seeing The Lion King musical live.  I entered at intermission, not knowing what to expect, and suddenly the air was filled with birds and with song, as the cast walked down the aisles waving puppets on long poles and singing.   As the story unfolded, the puppetry was magical -- I'd suddenly notice a puppeteer next to a life-sized puppet and think "When did he get there?" and then immediately be re-immersed and lose awareness of the puppeteer again.  It was like Faerian Drama for me.**
  • Seeing The Lion King again with my little nieces.  
  • When fireflies light the actors' final bows at the end of a peripatetic Shakespeare performance.
  • Dazzling wordplay, and brilliant parodies that transform an irritating pop song into something truly original, endlessly delightful and clever.   Weird Al's "Ebay," for example.  I'm always in awe of the line "I'll buy your tchotchkes; / Sell me your watch, please!"
  • The "surprisingness" (to use C.S. Lewis's term) of a well-remembered turn in The Lord of the Rings or other favorites.
  • A performance of Beethoven's Fifth by the Budapest Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center this past March.  
  • Seeing a river otter in the wild - it darted across our path to safe cover at the water's edge, only to reascend the bank and cavort in front of us.
  • The islands of the Galapagos - each one an alien landscape with its own character and fauna.
  • Sycamore trees on a winter afternoon:  Their bark is "silvery white, and yet it seems simultaneously to glow gold in the afternoon light.  On a sunny day, against the bright winter sky, with snow on the ground, the quality of the light is arresting."
  • So many magical evenings at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Here's a memory from September 2009:
Sounds of insects (crickets and others) swelled, at times drowning out the traffic noises. Bats swooped raggedly in the dusk. And I wandered off following the will-o-the-wisp fireflies among the trees.... Thinking, of course, of the Owl City song ("I'd get a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs as they tried to teach me how to dance. A fox trot above my head, a sock hop beneath my bed; a disco ball is just hanging by a thread...").

Origins of Wonder
Tell me where is fancy bred, / Or in the heart, or in the head? / How begot, how nourishèd  / Reply, reply.
-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice 3.2

Since the panelists and most of the audience were more steeped in Tolkien than Lewis, some of them suggested that wonder is inherent in the human observer, rather than the thing observed.

It's true enough in one sense, especially for the materialists.  But those whose minds are open to the possibility of some kind of higher power and objective Truth may find Lewis persuasive on this issue.

He starts by recounting the de-constructive commentary of a pair of textbook authors who
comment as follows: 'When the man said This is sublime, he appeared to be making a remark about the waterfall.  Actually he was not making a remark about the waterfall, but a remark about his own feelings.  What he was saying was really I have feelings associated in my mind with the word "Sublime" or shortly, I have sublime feelings.' [...]   They add: 'This confusion is continually present in language as we use it.  We appear to be something very important about something: and actually we are only saying something about our own feelings.'  
Lewis, "Men Without Chests," at 2-3 (omitting Lewis's ellipses).

Virtually the entire essay is a reaction against this claim and an exploration of its implications.  I've attempted to assemble the core of Lewis's correctives here for convenience:
Even if it were granted that such qualities as sublimity were simply and solely projected into things from our own emotions, yet the emotions which prompt the projection are the correlatives, and therefore almost the opposites, of the qualities projected.  The feelings which make a man call an object sublime are not sublime feelings but feelings of veneration.  If This is sublime is to be reduced at all to a statement about the speaker's feelings, the proper translation would be I have humble feelings.
Until quite modern times all teachers and even all men believed the universe to be such that certain emotional reactions on our part could be either congruous or incongruous to it -- believed, in fact, that objects did not merely receive, but could merit, our approval or disapproval, our reverence or our contempt.  [...] The man who called the cataract sublime was not intending simply to describe his own emotions about it: he was also claiming that the object was one which merited those emotions.  But for this claim there would be nothing to agree or disagree about.
To say that the cataract is sublime means saying that our emotion of humility is appropriate or ordinate to the reality, and thus to speak of something else besides the emotion; just as to say that a shoe fits is to speak not only of shoes but of feet. 
"Men Without Chests" at 3, 14-15, 20.

Defining Wonder

The panelists grappled with definitions and near-synonyms (e.g., "marvel"), coming up with ideas such as: wonder is something that defies explanation and cannot be captured; it may be a way of perceiving the world and gaining Recovery; it may be aligned with mystery, curiosity, and awe; in literature, it may be something that is evocative rather than detailed. Words such as awesome and terrible came up as well, in their earlier or classical senses (something that inspires awe or terror).

For me, there is a fine line between delight and wonder.  Wonder is clearly not limited to delight, but it might be that wonder (in its positive sense) encompasses a particularly intense and overpowering experience of delight.

My own tentative working definition, after hearing everyone's experiences, sharing my own, and re-reading Lewis, is something along the lines of:  Wonder is what we call it when something -- at least momentarily -- shakes us out of complacency into humility, reverence and awe.  The encounter cannot leave us entirely unchanged.  It forcibly reminds us of our smallness, and may jolt us out of self-awareness entirely.  It arrests us, takes our breath away, or moves us to laughter or tears.  If nothing else, it leaves us more susceptible to the next attack.  In the most extreme cases, we may find ourselves unable to resume exactly the lives we led before, and we will be all the richer for it.

"You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”
“Thank goodness!” said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.
--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, ch. 19.

FN* There was an element of eucatastrophe to my acquisition of The Cyberiad.  Once I'd noticed that every single quote that I loved from my quote-of-the-day macro just happened to come from the Very Same Book, I went to hunt down a copy.  This bookstore was not the first place I'd looked, but it was my last great hope.  I searched the shelves.  It was not there.  In desperation, I went to the counter to ask if perchance they might have a copy in the back.  The clerk said No, everything was on the shelves, but on seeing my disappointment, he went off to check anyway and - to his surprise and mine - returned triumphant.  It was a sudden, joyous turn: a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur.  (Then again, this was before was a thing.  Or maybe it was a thing and I wasn't aware of it.  In any event, an online transaction would have deprived the clerk of the radiant smile he received from a girl who was thrilled and delighted beyond words at buying a book she'd almost despaired of finding.) 

FN** Serendipity got me in to The Lion King.  It was about 9 p.m. and I'd been peering in through the glass at the theater lobby, idly wondering if the musical was any good, when some guy walked up to me and asked whether I'd like to see the show.  When I said yes (wondering what he was up to), he handed me a ticket and walked away.  The seat next to mine was vacant, so it may have been that his date stood him up.  They were really nice seats, too.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Teaching Wonder

The theme of Mythmoot IV was "Invoking Wonder," and one of the plenary sessions featured all the special guests (academics and artists) sharing their earliest experiences of wonder and attempting to capture the term in a butterfly net of definitions or partial synonyms.

At one point, someone wondered aloud about how to "teach wonder" - and another panelist briefly chimed in to suggest that it would be desirable for parents to teach their children wonder.  As no one seemed to have any immediate ideas about how to do so, and there was a lot to cover, they moved on.

1. Parents and Children

Of course, asking how parents can teach their children wonder is exactly the wrong question -- it is children who teach parents wonder.  At the very least, they offer their parents an opportunity to experience Recovery as they explore the world around them for the first time.*

I remember an uncrowded afternoon on the Jersey shore, when a young child (perhaps 5 to 7 years old) was shrieking with delight and jumping around at the water's edge as her father looked on.  I was struck with her untrammeled joy at this extraordinary phenomenon - a vast body of water continuously reaching forward on the sand and drawing back again, each movement the same and different, a mysterious and powerful unseen engine at her service.   I was in my mid to late twenties, and I remember thinking, "Oh, that's why people have children."

This is not to say that parents are always in the best position to receive lessons of wonder  from their children.  Although they have the greatest exposure, they may be harried and frazzled, and otherwise distracted by the many responsibilities they have assumed in undertaking to shepherd a small human being to adulthood.  It's probably other adults who are free of those burdens -- the grandparents and the aunts, for example -- who may (if so inclined) most easily enter into a child's world and experience wonder side by side, as if through the child's eyes.

And thus I once traveled by rocket ship to India with a four-year-old, from a playground in the suburbs.


There is, of course, a kind of wonder parents may experience more strongly and poignantly than any other adult in a child's life, although these moments may be overwhelmed by the ever-rushing flood of everyday cares and concerns (including sickness, diaper-changing, and the like).  There's a sort of awe, reverence, and humility involved in realizing initially This beautiful perfect tiny helpless human being is entrusted entirely to me, and I believe there are many similar moments in a child's life and devlopment where a child -- simply by existing, growing, and acting as a child does -- can strike wonder in the hearts of its parents.

2. Teachers and Students

As for the academic setting, I'm inclined to believe it is unwise to try to teach wonder directly.  Students can easily parrot back the "proper" responses without gaining mastery of the material.  Instead, teach them rigorously on the basics, whatever the subject.

If students can, after much grumbling and resistance, acquire the requisite knowledge, tools and frameworks, they just might be able to unlock wonder on their own, if they are inclined to wrestle with some difficult problem until the dawn.
25  And Yaakov was left alone --
      Now a man wrestled with him until the dawn rose.
26  When he saw that he could not prevail against him,
      he touched the socket of his thigh;
      the socket of Yaakov's thigh had been dislocated as he wrestled with him.
27  Then he said:
      Let me go,
      for the dawn has risen!
      But he said:
      I will not let you go
      unless you bless me.
28  He said to him:
      What is your name?
      And he said: Yaakov.
29  Then he said:
      Not as Yaakov/Heel-Sneak shall your name be henceforth uttered,
      but rather as Israel/God-Fighter,
      for you have fought with God and men
      and have prevailed.
Gen. 32:25-29.
(Source: Everett Fox.  Genesis and Exodus: A New English Rendition.  New York: Schocken Books, 1990.)


FN* As a non-wondrous example of Recovery, it was my younger niece who taught me to love prunes.  She did this by example, before she was able to speak in complete sentences. She begged her parents for prunes between meals one afternoon.  They looked at her sternly and said "OK, you can have three." When they turned away, she grabbed five.  She had not yet learned to be repulsed by prunes' appearance or by their association with the elderly!  And when I tried them again, I discovered why.


Very minor note:
In the first paragraph, I use the term "net" partly in homage to CSL:
[A story's] plot, as we call it -- is only really a net whereby to catch something else.  The real theme may be, and perhaps usually is, something [...] much more like a state or quality.  Giantship, otherness, the desolation of space, are examples that have crossed our path. [...]  In life and art both, as it seems to me, we are always trying to catch in our net of successive moments something that is not successive.  Whether in real life there is any doctor who can teach us how to do it, so that at last either the meshes will become fine enough to hold the bird, or we be so changed that we can throw our nets away and follow the bird to its own country, is not a question for this essay.  But I think it is sometimes done -- or very, very nearly done -- in stories.  I believe the effort to be well worth making.
C.S. Lewis, "On Stories" (1947).  
(Source: On Stories and Other Essays on Literature. Ed. Walter Hooper.  San Diego, New York, London: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1982.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

TIL ... (Insuring Children edition)

Reading the comments to a Washington Post article or op-ed can be variously amusing, dismaying, and/or educational.  Today, on the paper's seemingly non-controversial view that Too many children are killed for insurance money (although at least one wiseacre asked what number the Post thinks would be appropriate), commenters weighed in on bona fide reasons to take out life insurance policies on infants and small children.  Here are some highlights:
  • To pay for funeral expenses
  • "Ours have them because I have an autoimmune disease that makes me uninsurable. Thank goodness I had life insurance before I acquired health problems. We took out policies for our kids to protect their insurability, since once you have a policy they cannot cancel it and they also have to allow guaranteed additional purchases when the kids reach adulthood. Since the origin of my disorder is unknown, there may be a genetic component. Buying policies now protects our kids in the future." - mokinsbean
  • "Locking-in the low premium is good, but locking-in insurability is even better. Kids are generally healthier before they hit their teens, so getting a permanent policy while they are healthy can be one of the best moves you'll ever make." - Bastages
  • "[O]utside the rich, developed world, the elderly often depend on their children to provide and care for them. If you live in such a place, insuring your children makes good sense. It might make sense to those Americans who come from such places and have no old-age safety net other than their children." - 99miles
  • "As others have noted, there has been selling of relatively small amount life insurance for children for many decades. One goal was to lock in a low rate per $1,000 of insurance." - Davidhoffman6692
  • "1) the premiums will be very low, so the parent is locking them in for later when the child grows up and wants insurance for themselves, at which time the parent can turn over the policy to the grown-up child, who can then make their spouse the beneficiary; 2) the child could borrow against the policy to pay for education, maybe at a lower rate than other educational loans; 3) if the parent is sending the child to private schools, then the parent would recover the costs of schooling if the child dies while still a minor." - Arise-and-Shine
And of course this all-too-common scenario for the vast number of film-maker parents who insure their own children after casting them in lead roles for a major motion picture:
  • "You are making a motion picture and will incur a major loss if a key (child) actor dies before the movie is finished - you might well want to insure against that risk." - Wal Stir
But ladymidnight2u points out a significant caveat: "I would suspect that in that case all actors are insured, including kids, but only for that one project. Not merely until natural death occurs." 

The op-ed also singled out New York for its maximum life insurance limits for juveniles, which presumably is intended to allow parents and guardians to purchase reasonable amounts of insurance for foreseeable bona fide purposes, while weakening the financial incentives to kill vulnerable children in their care:
  • Newborn to 4½: limit is the greater of $25k or 25% of the applicant's own life insurance.
  • Over 4½: limit is the greater of $25k or 50% of the applicant's own life insurance.
I suppose this allows parents who are very wealthy (or possibly, very worried) to get extravagant life insurance policies for themselves and their children.  If the applicant-parent is, in fact, very wealthy, presumably they won't be motivated by the financial windfall.  If the applicant-parent merely values life insurance very highly, this allows them to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak.  

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Putting on the Tux

Went back to Tuxedo with CLN to redo the hike I'd done with Grace & Bruce:  Ramapo-Dunderberg (R dot) to Tuxedo-Mt Ivy (R bar) to White Bar to Kakiat (W).  It's approx 6.8 miles r/t from the bus or train stop.

The terrain is enjoyable - a few moderate ascents, a mild and easily bypassed scramble, and lots of rolling terrain through the woods.  There are only two scenic overlooks on this particular path, but they are certainly nice ones.  

Also along the way, toward the end, you pass by many large boulders that remind me a little of Pawtuckaway State Park in NH (which I've blogged about once or twice), although the ones here are merely an amuse-bouche by comparison.  

Some trail maintenance may be in order -- there were several little streams or rivulets to cross, and relatively few strategically placed rocks or logs to make the going easy. There are also two tree trunks blocking the path on Kakiat, which we had to climb over.  (Many other tree trunks nearby were cut through for the path, but not these two.)  

There are also a few junctions that may be confusing: 

(1) At the trailhead, you have to look carefully for the red dot blazes (red dot on white background) - the official Ramapo-Dunderberg trail is next to (and slightly to the right of) an invitingly wide direct stony ascent.  

(2) A little  ways on, after the R-D trail takes a strong left turn to go due north, the path starts gently undulating.  Then all of a sudden you may start seeing yellow triangle blazes.  This is because the R-D trail takes a sudden, unmarked right turn (almost perpendicular) on meeting the Triangle trail.  So if you see yellow triangles, just backtrack about 20 feet and look for the turn to stay on the R-D.  

(3) From  the White Bar trail, it would be very easy to miss the turn off for the white-blazed Kakiat, although I was lucky enough to spot it both times.  Today, I remembered approximately where it was (not long after a few gate posts and two ranger stands).  For future reference, I noticed there are some biggish rocks at the right-hand side of the trail at that point.  Also, the white blaze on the trail directly ahead at that point bears the letters "W-B" (for white bar).  If you then look into the woods on the right, past the biggish rocks, you may notice a slender tree with a white blaze bearing the letter "K."  That would be Kakiat.  

Green fungi at log-end

These fungi looked like bread rolls

Ironically, we'd originally planned on hiking Saturday, but decided to switch based on the weather reports.  We have never been so wrong, as the old meme says.  Yesterday was by far the nicer day!  Today, we got some longish sprinkles, increasingly as the day went on.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Quick Loop

A  collectable action figure on display at Grand Central Station

I missed the early train, and the weather was a bit gloomy, so I didn't quite have the heart for a long trek.  Just did the quick loop from Cold Spring station: Washburn (white) - Notch (blue) - Brook (red) - Cornish (blue).

Atop Bull Hill

a slightly different angle gives a glimpse of the Hudson
As often in the spring, certain stretches of woods look magical, as if of Faërie:

a portion of the Notch trail

I got back to town just 6 minutes before a return train, so I did not dally.  Map My Hike clocked the walk as 6.92 miles, but that includes crossing over to the train station.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Fancy hair and lilacs

pre-bloom wisteria

families on the cherry esplanade

Starting a Cartwheel


anime characters posing for a photo shoot

parasols for a photoshoot

Sheer Joy - throwing handfuls of petals into the air