Friday, July 3, 2015

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary, Speyeria cybele, Pittsburgh, 2015

While out in search of more (ever more) heal-all, Prunella vulgaris, I came upon a flutter of butterflies feasting on milkweed nectar.  See, this is why you can't just spray the fuck out of everything just so that you don't have aphids or slugs because you kill everything.  EVERY.  THING.  If you allow areas to simply go wild with native species, then you have an abundance of life.
Anyway, once home I searched the butterflies and discovered that they are Great Spangled Fritillary, a bright coppery colored downy butterfly.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Loose Strife

Purple Loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, Blackwater Pond, MA, 2015

Blackwater Pond is a hell scape of blood sucking flies, ticks, and mosquitoes.  It is also a floral paradise, which probably explains the insects, at least partially.
I discovered loosestrife just beginning to bloom along the edges of the pond, and soon the shore line will be covered in it.  While considered invasive because it's not native to North America, it has enough medicinal value, and beauty, to make it a good addition.  Had I known that it makes for a good eye wash, I might have picked and dried some while we were there.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ida H. Hyde

Ida H. Hyde, Headstone, Woods Hole, MA, 2015

We had time to kill in Woods Hole waiting for the ferry over to Martha's Vineyard, so we decided to wander around the cemetery there.  There were a lot of interesting grave markers, some with lengthy and very descriptive epitaphs, but it was this erratic boulder with a plaque affixed to it that really caught my attention and made me wonder:  Who was Ida H. Hyde?  It turns out that she was an astonishing woman of uncommon perserverance.  Her singular focus to study nature and biology weathered her through a lot of hardships, not the least of which was the nearly insurmountable gender bias she encountered at university.  In the end, her work and dedication spoke for itself.
I'm so glad that I came across her final resting place, and learned more about this extraordinary scientist.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Nine, Ten days

Seneca Zombie Formalism, 2013, Romulus, NY

One last parting shot.  I will return to the blog in nine, ten days.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Vacation: All I Ever Wanted

C & B on the Beach, Prime Hook, DE, 2014

Well, tomorrow we leave on vacation.  A week on Martha's Vineyard.  For the first time since we went to Italy in 2006, the dog will not be joining us.  No, we're taking both of our mothers instead - and there isn't enough room to take the dog, not with all of the baggage, both literal and figurative, that the old ladies bring. 
I hope all goes well, but I'm packing plenty of wine in case I have to start afternoon drinking.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Denyse Thomasos

Yves Bleu, Denyse Thomasos, 1999

I will never be accused of being on the cutting edge of the art world, being, as I am, always late to the party.  In the case of Denyse Thomasos, I did not learn of her and her astounding achievements in abstract art until three years after her sudden death.  Her architecture abstract paintings are ideal in form and representation.  I've never encountered anything quite like them.  They are as close to perfection as the world can be rendered in the abstract.  The above work, Yves Bleu, is very much what a city feels like in the rain.
Thomasos taught at Rutgers University, coming to America via Trinidad and Canada, but like all truly great artists, she belonged to the world.   

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


The Face of Liberty, New York Harbor, 1885

One hundred and thirty years ago today, the Statue of Liberty arrived in pieces at New York Harbor.  Frederic Auguste Bartholdi's masterwork, situated as it is at the gateway to New York city, has served as the welcome to millions of immigrants who've made their way to our shores.
I've been to NYC, and to Liberty Island and the nearby former immigration processing center, Ellis Island.  My Italian ancestors passed through Ellis Island in 1913.  My grandmother was then five years old.  Coming to America in some ways overwhelmed her in such a way that she never fully recovered.