Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Miscellanea, with babe

She graces a 1947 accordion postcard extolling the virtues of Vivacious Florida. Cost three cents to mail this from Jacksonville to Fair Lawn, NY, and inside it is handwritten: “This is the place to be in the winter. Mr. Lowe.”
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Feeling like pie (American, Eskimo, etc.), but not feeling up to the crust? Sautéed apples, my friends, sautéed apples. Peel, core, and eighth your fruit, sauté with as much butter as you want and a bit of sweetener (brown sugar, maple syrup) and your choice of winter festive season spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom, allspice, etc.). Let the sugar bubble up until it starts to coat the apples; cook it too long you’ll get candy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, except the clean-up. Eat them as is or gild that lily with ice-cream, yogurt, oatmeal, pound cake, half-pound cake, etc.
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I was in a newly opened office space yesterday in Midtown. All the offices for the big dogs were around the periphery, with windows, as usual, but they were all completely faced with glass on the interior. There’s so much glass that blue duct tape has been put on the sliding office doors so nobody walks into them when the doors are shut. In the center of the floor is the typical pod farm, but with low rise dividers. Granted, the prairie dog villages of yore (say, 1999; so called because when something happened, like a rumor of the latest round of dot.bomb layoffs, heads would pop up above the nubbly gray dividers like prairie dogs sticking their heads out of the earth…) were gruesome, but at least you weren’t on display at all times. And, with proper skill, you could use one of the inner offices as a place to nap. No more. The signal characteristic of this new space was that there was no privacy at all, for anybody, except, I suppose, in the bathroom on the right. The Panopticon has been achieved.
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This morning before sunrise, a tree fruited with house sparrows was twittering and chirping in the rain. As I passed underneath beneath my enormous umbrella, all the birds stopped singing. Then I moved on, and the birds returned to their song. It is too early in the breeding year for mating songs, these were not the territorial, look-at-me-songs of the males showing off their nests. These were birds singing to stay warm, to greet the light of dawn.

3 comments:

amarilla said...

I often wish there was a word for a tree filled with a mob of calling birds, none of which I can see as I pass. Does this only happen to me?

M.Thew said...

If the birds are unknown, might it be a “question of birds” in the tree? James Lipton’s An Exaltation of Larks lists many of the group nouns for individual species. A gaggle of geese, a host of sparrows, a unkindness of ravens, a charm of finches, a leash of merlins, a descent of woodpeckers….

amarilla said...

A descent! That's my favorite. Maybe what I hear is a phantom murmuration of starlings?