Full of Beauties

Lily on the beach
Jet trails in the sky
Echeveria at Snug Harbor Farm
Stones on the beach

Maine, December 30, 2010

"If I have learnt anything, it is that life forms illogical patterns. It is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
Margot Fonteyn, Autobiography



We had a spectacular blizzard on Boxing Day. We watched the snow blowing across our windows with increasing ferocity as the day went on. In the morning, we woke up to a silent city buried under a blanket of snow. By midday, the whole neighborhood was outside shoveling snow. For almost the entire day, the streets were blissfully free of cars and filled with people instead. I love these unexpected moments where the routine is suspended, and we are suddenly free and life takes on another flavor.


Merry Christmas

Vanessa and Simon hosted the most beautiful Christmas dinner party yesterday.
Good food + good friends = CELEBRATION
I can't think of a better way to start the holiday season



The Cranford Rose Garden
Hydrangea paniculata
Patrick Dougherty's "Natural History"
The frozen pond with hanging cherry branches

The temperature has remained below freezing for the last three days. In the Brooklyn Botanic Garden today, dead hydrangea blooms looked spectacular, dusted with snow. Not long ago, as gardening fashion goes, these spent flowers would have been cut back, as nobody thought them worthy once they had lost their colors. With the work of such designers as Piet Oudolf, we have learned to appreciate the whole life cycle of plants. Each season has its beauty. I love the garden's winter landscape with its monochromatic hue. It's a quiet moment after the clamor of so many summer and autumn blooms. Shorn of their leaves, the trees become more sculptural. Their bare branches make lacy patterns against the sky. Their barks demand a second look, sometimes a touch. I read something beautiful today in a rather melancholy piece about the terrible things we have done to the landscape:

"Real land is never sad in its vastness, lost in its solitude. Left alone, cycles dress and undress it, chill-and-warm so it peaks, hardens, slides, swells. Real land hosts–voles, foxes, cicadas. Fires, moss, thunder. Rolls or gets steep. Sinks, sops, and sprouts."


Ancient Light

Photographs by David Malin, from the book Ancient Light: Portrait of the Universe

During my last semester at college, I took an Astronomy class to fill the required units for graduation. It turned out to be the course that I enjoyed the most in my college career. Recently, I discovered the work of David Malin, who is an astronomer as well as photographer. By attaching a camera to the telescope lens, scientists since the 19th century have been able to record things in the universe that were not visible to Galileo, the father of modern observational astronomy, among other things. "Since human beings evolved, we have been looking at the sky. When the telescope was invented, vision was expanded to see more of the universe and it changed our perspective of our place in it. In 1,000 years' time someone will come along with new technology and they will look at the same universe in a completely different light," says Malin.

For someone who spends most of her life looking at everything, I envy Malin's opportunity to look at the universe, not metaphorically but literally. What he captures in his sublime photographs is light that has travelled thousands of light years. I marvel at every one of these awe-inspiring photographs. There is something so infinitely beautiful in the idea of spending one's whole life looking at the dark empty sky to find the wonders of the universe. What's more impressive, over the course of his career, Malin has found two new galaxies: Malin Carter and Malin 1, which may possibly be larger than our own galaxy, the Milky Way.