Sunday, September 21, 2008

Park(ing) Day

I bet y'all didn't know that this past Friday was national Park(ing) Day. Walking up Sixth Avenue, lo and behold, I encountered green grass and flowers!! What a delight! I'd remembered this event from last year and so quickly was able to assess what was going on. This is no eco-hippie sit-in. No people, NYC offered up 5o prime parking spots to let ordinary citizens (or rather architects and motivated artists) turn them into mini parks for the day.

But don't miss Park(ing) Day REDUX, taking place on October 18th. "This capstone exhibit will feature a rebuild of selected parking spots on a closed street in front of EYEBEAM Art and Technology Center on 21st Street, a mixer with the city's most imaginative public space interventionists, and photos."
Trust for Public Land

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ever Present - Never Twice the Same

The air has changed here in New York. It indeed feels like fall. Many plants will die, as they are covered in snow and frost throughout the winter, but will come back next spring, with a renewed, yet unique, life force.

While I've always been drawn to Pantheism, a philosophy that posits that divinity is present in every living thing, I recently learned the word Aisthesis. For ancient Greeks it meant that knowledge could be derived through physical sensory perception. "It is a taking in of the world, a taking in of soulful communications that arise from living the phenomena in that world." (Stephen Buhner) Psychologist James Hillman says it literally means "to breathe in."

Biognosis is another new word I learned. It means "to gain knowledge from life." But it is also the application of that knowledge of systems found in nature "to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology." That is just so interesting to me!! It's also called bionics or Biomimetics. For example, the invention of Velcro was from the observation of the hooked seeds of the burdock plant which caught in the coat of George de Mestral's dog when they were out on a walk.

We tend to be far removed from nature in our urban lives, it is worth being reminded that:

"Only to him who stands where the barley stands and listens well will it speak, and tell, for his sake, what man is" - Masanobu Fukuoka


ever present - never twice the same
It was wonderful to come across this adage carved in stone and laid inconspicuously into the dirt floor of a wooded trail in Wave Hill. What's Wave Hill? That's what I wanted to know...

Well, it's a spectacular twenty-eight acre public garden in the Bronx, with magnificent views of the Hudson River and the Palisades.
It features greenhouses, woodlands, and numerous themed gardens, including the aquatic garden below.

Now, I'm no botanist, but the wonder and enchantment! Here's a plant where the leaves turn fire red, emulating a flower.

And the infamous lotus, seat of the buddah, shown here in the end-stage of its temporal life.

and other delights....

The bees were extremely busy, and were mostly uncooperative when it came to having their picture this guy.