Friday, February 29, 2008

Christo Not!

The sun was out and I went in search of color yesterday, something other than red dogs, grey skies, and brown, leafless trees. And I found this … white. I vaguely remember “white” described as “the absence of color.” The Oxford American Dictionary defines it as: “resembling a surface reflecting sunlight without absorbing any of the visible rays; of the color of milk or fresh snow,”… or this building under construction in Mt. Kisco, a few towns over. This will be a huge Lexus car dealership. It has only recently been wrapped. Earlier this week it was just a skeleton of girders. It is located across the street from the soon-to-be, new BMW car dealership which sits atop a hill. I considered counting all the car dealerships in Mt. Kisco, but the thought alone exhausted me. The black frame at the top corners is part of the chain link fence surrounding construction. From where I stood I could hear construction noises; but where were the cars of the workers? Or, were they as ghostly as the edifice?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Folly or Not?

As I was searching for Chief Katonah’s burial spot today, inspired by Abe Lincoln’s posting, "Just a Stone" (January 25) I found this island and bridge. I want to call it a “folly,” from “folie,” the French word for foolishness. A folly is most often defined as an unfinished building, designed to enhance a natural landscape. Its cost underscores its foolishness.

This led me to ponder the island and bridge. Since neither is a building, is this a folly? Is the island a folly for the pond? Or, is the bridge a folly to the island? Is the pond so deep it needs a bridge? Without the bridge, would the island be a folly? Or would it be just an island? With a visage this lovely, situated on the edge of a property and visible to anyone traveling down the road, can it be remotely foolish?

What do you think? Here are some links to help you decide: Wikipedia; Architectural Heritage; Britannica.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Weather Report

Without it being in bloom, I can’t be sure if this plant is a Rhododendron ponticum or a Rhododendron catawbiense, both of which according Wikipedia are so similar they are difficult to distinguish. This plant has always been one of the favorites in my landscaping, particularly at the end of May when it blooms. But every winter it is a dedicated servant, giving me a weather report. At 19°F (7° C) its leaves fold in; the colder the temperature the tighter the fold. And, after nearly 25 years, I’ve become quite good at divining the winter temperature with a quick glance through my window. This photo was taken just at exactly 19°. This is only the second major snowstorm we have had this season, although we have had quite a bit of rain. Two other small facts. The Rhododendron catawbiense is named for the Catawaba tribe of Native Americans. The word Rhododendron derives from two Greek words “rhodos” (rose) and dendron (tree). A rose tree! No wonder I’m so partial to it! Does anyone else have a weather tree?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Commuting to Manhattan

For many, commuting from Katonah to a job in Manhattan is a daily ritual. The Metro North train is a more-than-civilized way to travel. Because most trains begin their journey into the city a few stops north of Katonah, the nearly empty train almost always offers a wide selection of comfortable seats for the 45-mile commute. At 59 minutes on the express train, the timing is perfect to have a cup of coffee, read the daily paper, and sneak in a refreshing nap before landing at Grand Central Station. This photo was taken "off-peak" during a holiday week when the schools are closed. The riders look somewhat more relaxed than they would at peak commuting times, although the train, filled with families on their way to an adventure in "the City," was much more lively than normal and seats were actually at a premium. Nonetheless, I had a good seat and a lovely conversation with a charming woman, originally from California, who was on her way to the City for a haircut.