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Mid-July 2005

Charlotte hardly expressed an interest in the concert at The Great Lawn (far background) - Tuesday July 19, 05

It's looking at an ant walking on the wall - Sat July 16, 05

These days 'Essex' is spelt with an accent between the E & S - Sunday July 17, 05

Time well spent - Saturday July 16, 05

Up on the raw, newly constructed platform which sits all the way to the top of 110 Central Park South, I stood and watched the sleeping heads of the two baby red tail hawks.
“Why am I up here again?” I asked myself as I unloaded my extremely heavy backpack. Who do I account to for my time expended on this insatiable quest for photographs? Several union workers welded and scraped and swept and bolted and read blue prints and communicated on wireless radios. They all had a purpose and it showed each day in the progress of the new building. In another year or so there’ll be people living right where I stood. There will be fancy dining rooms and spectacular views of the park and maybe even a nursery...right where one of my tripods stood. The workers time shall be by then, all accounted for.
The welder continued welding, and the bolter tightened his bolts, and the sweeper swept, and the blue print reader pointed and checked and circled.
Some pigeons flew out of the top of the Trump water tower and they went in a particular direction and was due back by a particular time, I’m sure--they too had all their time accounted for. The elevator began to ascend and it shook the building so I steadied my lens and asked myself once more; how do I account for all this time? Even the elevator man had his purpose and his time was well accounted for, but how do I account for mine?
Why do I even have to account for anything? I hate accounting personally. I looked over at the park and watched the tiny people go about their business—every person on a mission of sorts. My eyes followed a carriage horse as it passed a hot-dog stand and disappear under a series of leafy trees until it emerged around a bend that led to the East Drive. Even from way up there, I could hear every clap of its hooves on the steaming hot asphalt. Even if it was only a few degrees shy of 90 they still had to pull their wagon of demanding tourists in the sweltering heat. All their time spent in humiliation is well accounted for, but how about mine? I truly enjoy being up high on those manmade cliffs, especially when alone. It’s a reclusive feeling but not lonely. One can understand why hermits choose to live on mountaintops.
After coming down from the building I walked down toward the 59th Street Pond. I had to stand closer to that trail of carriage horses at the Sixth Avenue entrance as they got loaded with passengers and made their way into the park. Raising one’s voice in protest is so fruitless, but to remain silent to me, is so callous.
“Sir, don’t you feel like it’s wrong to be riding this carriage and putting this poor animal through this torture--especially in this heat?” I addressed one of four passengers that sat in the carriage. He immediately looked at the woman next to him and they all began laughing. The driver cut in simultaneously with a retort too typical to repeat, in an accent to familiar to mention.
I was left as a madman on the sidewalk who was not minding his own business, and the five happy humans disappeared into the park. I walked down to the pond and admired a turtle that climbed to the top of a pointed rock that was not flat enough to support its belly comfortably. It remained there almost balancing, but appeared to be quite content. I kept my heavy backpack on my shoulders as a pathetic way to sympathize with the enslaved animals; by doing this I may have been feeling a bit of their burden, but not a fraction of their humiliation.
A large housefly landed on a wire fence near to where I was observing the turtle and I photographed it. I shall always remain amazed how something so incredibly complex can be considered useless, and a tiresome pest. At that moment I considered that some of the people who believed this of a housefly, may be at that moment riding around on a carriage horse.
I attempted to walk up to The Model Sailboat Pond to see if my old friend Pale Male will show his face to me after so long, and also to check in on the Mother Duck and her nine ducklings but the weight on my back and the threat from the darkening sky forced me to redirect my path to the small hill across from The Essex House where I planned to observe Junior’s nest for the rest of the evening.
On the hill I met some familiar faces that soothed my spirit and made the lazy Saturday afternoon quite pleasant. Visits from a few handsome squirrels made the evening even more agreeable. But the hill is located just a few dozen yards from the Carriage Horse stand where the new shifts come in from the west on U-turns in the middle of 59th Street, and the departing shifts get hauled off with quick sharp lashes on their backs from their drivers. As much as I tried to tune them out I was just not able to. I saw a black horse galloping up to its place on the stand with it’s tongue flaring out of its foaming mouth and hanging backward pinched by the steel bit drawn hard against it. I searched the two dozen faces about me on the hill to see if I can share the observation but the topic of conversation was Harry Potter and it would have been a tough job to distract from that.
I pulled my gear together and as I did, spoke my grief silently to the squirrels, a blue jay and a Linden, and I was pleased to recognize that they acknowledged and shared my mental torture. I descended the small hill and headed home with several questions riding on my mind--two of which I still remember; how do I account for all my time spent, and where do I find a vacant mountaintop?
Once home after I discovered the photograph above I felt the former question somewhat answered, especially after reading letter after letter from so many strangers out there that wrote to say how much they look forward to seeing moments like this.
REwards like this certainly makes me feel like it was time well accounted for. Nevertheless the latter question still weighs heavy on my mind.

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Pale Male & Lola reports _____ Pale Male Jr & Charlotte reports

More Love - Saturday July 16, 05

Big sister(?) is pretending to be Mom to her little brother(?) - Saturday July 16, 05

Exercising - Saturday July 16, 05

Technically, since her left wingtip is touching the wall, this does not count as a complete 'lift-off' - Saturday July 16, 05

While I waited for a sighting of Pale Male this girl kept me busy keeping her in focus - Thur July 14, 05

A leaf barely breaks the surface tension on The MSB Pond. Every speck of dust appears to be so perfectly placed. To the little fly sitting on the leaf this is his little world and for that moment which could have easily escaped my eye, this must be the best place that he'd ever want to be--floating on a beautiful leaf to no where in particular - Thur July 14, 05

The west wall of The Trump Parc - Sat July 9, 05

The first set of ducklings came to The Pond on Sunday July 3rd. A few days later on Thursday a second set came into the pond but with no mother. The first mother attacked them when they came too close. Several calls were made and the next day the park rangers took the orphaned set out of the pond. They managed however to miss one out of the group and this little guy was left behind. Suddenly the mother of the first eight now has nine little ducklings. This is #9. Some people believe he sneaked into the brood without suspicion by Mom. I believe the mother adopted him. An entire orphaned brood she may not handle, and will do the natural thing which is to destroy them, for fear of jeopardizing her own brood. This one little guy she knows though that she can make a little room for under her beautiful loving wings - Sun July 10th. 2005.

At The Boat Pond - Sun July 10, 05

Obviously not afraid of heights - Sat July 9, 05

Underwing Moth on oak tree near Pilgrim Hill - Monday July 11, 05

Underwing Moth on oak tree near Pilgrim Hill - Monday July 11, 05

Underwing Moth on oak tree near Pilgrim Hill - Monday July 11, 05

Robin's Nest at the entrance to The Ramble. Chicks seems to have just been hatched. - Sunday July 10, 05

Trump Parc nest - Saturday July 9, 05

Trump Parc nest - Saturday July 9, 05

Trump Parc nest - Saturday July 9, 05

Trump Parc nest - Saturday July 9, 05

Charlotte - Saturday June 11, 05

Baby looking back - Tuesday July 5, 05