Monday, April 18, 2011

Gone Golfing

Last Monday was one of the few warm days since March one, and I intended to use it to photograph Van Cortlandt golf course for some possible future paintings. I was under pressure to get my shots under a cloudy sky, and only a few hours till the sun would burn off the clouds. Problem was that I couldn't find any visual access to the course from behind the fences and brambles. So, I followed the trail that followed the fence. 

I made my way around the southern reaches of the long, finger-like -err, what's the word, I don't play golf, uh, fairway? Throughout I found places where human desire and manual dexterity folded back chain-link so that I could jump on the green and steal a few shots.  And that's what it felt like -crime. The distinction between the course and the surrounding bramble creates a strong division, and I understood which side of the fence I belonged. If I am ever to progress toward making paintings of courses, I will need appropriate access, which I hope does not come with the 50 dollar tee fee, a permit, and a golf ball driven off my head.

Off the trail was a swampy pond-side vista. It struck me as a man-made pond that once graced a private landscape, but has since gone wild.

The willows' green is really quite remarkable, delivering such intensity that gray morning.

I crossed a ramshackle bridge covered with bird seed.

And the birds couldn't wait for me to pass.

The skunk cabbage was up, unfurling.

Maple flowers had littered the ground.

Ficaria verna, a buttercup, also known as Lesser Celandine.

It's a well known invasive. If you're out in early spring, you'll see this in wet woodlands.

Blue jay feather catches my eye.

I find myself between two greens, the liminal browns I suppose, on a path intensely dark.

A stream runs between the path and the course to the west.

Exceptionally flat and exceptionally straight. I start to think about where I am.

And the evidence of the old railroad makes itself known.

I realize that I must be on the Old Putnam Line, which I saw marked on a google map.

To the side of the trail, hundreds of trout lilies. The same were recently pointed out to me by my friend Jane, in who's garden they have formed dense mats under some trees. She hadn't seen them there in 40 years of gardening. I was aware of trout lilies -the flower, but never noticed the leaves, and then Marie put it all together the other day at 66sf.

When I approached the tunnel, I had to decide how much further I was willing to go. A little, I decided, and two hundred yards further I did turn around, and that was when I saw the rabbit.

My intention that morning was never to explore the park, so I made my way through a hole in the golf course fence, hustled up a green embankment, jumped over a section of fallen chain link, to the trail which we had been re-rerouting a few weeks earlier. From there I headed to the van, as I was beginning to feel ill, too hot, even for such a warm day.

I'm still not over the cold that developed that day, as it makes its way into the depths of my lungs. I blame the blasted winds that seem to be pummeling us daily, and especially on those days I need or want to be outside, such as mulch day at the Greenwood or yesterday at the beach farm. That post soon.


  1. Bunny!

    Liminal - very nice word.

    Beautiful pictures.

    Golf courses creep me out. Why is that?

    Thank you for the link...

  2. Gorgeous photos as always!
    Feel better soon-

  3. Thanks Aimee, I'm in the liminal zone between sick and better.

    Marie, I can't say why they creep you out. Is it the denizen or the landscape?

  4. I think it's the shoes...:-)

  5. and plaid pants...


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