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January 14th, 2010

The wheels of science turn slowly, but the NY State Ornithological Association has finally gotten back issues of The Kingbird online, including 2007 #4 which includes my article on Brooklynís Western Reef-Heron. See page 6 and 29 of the pdf.
More on Calvert Vaux Park here; the species list is now over 200.

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December 25th, 2009



Shine upon the Tenth Anniversary of the
Here decorated in celebration of


June 25th, 2009

DMTree 10


10th Anniversary 1999 Ė 2009

Count the Rings

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December 25, 2008



In a Season of Rebirth
Look forward to a New Year
Born in Hope
And Promise of a Better World
As the PHOENIX is Reborn
Of its own ashes
In a blaze of Cinnamon

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December 25, 2007

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December 25, 2006


On Christmas Day 2006 I ask:
Does giving balance getting?
Is there Christmas beyond desire?
Could there be an asceticism of Christmas?

And donít miss an extra-special recycled gift in the Arboretum Card Garden!


December 31, 2005

This Yearís Card


January 6, 2005







You can follow a star but youíll never reach it, not here on Earth.
At best you arrive, as the Magi did, at the designated place, but the Star remains supernal; directly overhead to be sure, but still beyond our Earthly realm. Epiphany signals the realization that what is above also dwells with us, but the Mystery of this Presence is that it is simultaneously immediate and remote.

Iíve spent the last five years following a star, or a bird, or something similarly far and fleeting. Still, like the top of a Tulip Tree, no matter how distant it may be it maintains some connection with the Earth. My gaze goes further than my feet can follow, but epiphanies will come from looking both ways: near and far, within and without.

Am I any nearer than I was?
Looking back at my Epiphany posts, the themes of manifestation, revelation and recognition are constant. Whether framed in terms of wise kings or empty birdsí nests, the posts from the first three years of the Arboretum explored nuances of those ideas, leading to 2003ís offering of my own sort of revelation in the form of answers to the yearís Christmas riddles.

Those were only games of words and notions. Last year I was faced with the very real realization that my life was in the process of changing, and though I could recognize that fact I couldnít really comprehend it until it was fully manifest. In that state of flux I found continuity in the Arboretum, although I was beginning to feel the format was flagging. I began the cycle again, but with an eye to collecting the previous posts and summarizing my five yearsí findings.

Iím not sure how well thatís worked; thereís been some genuine consolidation of thought, but in other cases Iíve basically just appended this yearís post to a laundry list of past ones. The immediacy of the living Year is what I was originally after, and sometimes it may have overridden my attempts at summing up. And perhaps thatís as it should be. At least Iíve provided a thread through the years.

As it is, Iím somewhat impressed by how much Iíve been able to wring from these clichťd occasions, but repetition does become an issue at a certain point. Not that some things arenít worth repeating, either for the sake of making the point, or for sheer beauty, like the chorus of a song, but eventually we become habituated. The Arboretum was meant to reveal the wonders hidden behind the habitual, but after five years it has become a habit in itself, and I run the risk of boring my readers, or myself.

A year ago on this day I looked into the New Year and saw change coming. That was obvious enough, but I didnít know just how and what. Needing a job was the main thing, but in the end the biggest change was (as is so often the case) totally unexpected.
I moved.
As I write this I am recently ensconced in a new residence. After sixteen years in a largely satisfactory situation, the offer arose to take a space in a building bought by some good friends from DMTree. Moving was the last thing I was expecting to do, but it was also something that I had a certain longing for, although it was hard to bring myself to make the break. That, coming on the heels of my long ďvacationĒ followed by the new job, has made the last year one of the most disjunctive in my life.

Through it all, as I said, the Arboretum provided continuity. Yet it was hard to pull together the posts amid changing schedules and commitments. And Iíve grown tired of the deadlines, and Iíd like to put my energies into some other things. So after five years Iím doing away with the Holiday format, and Iím rescinding my promise to report from Central Park. That doesnít mean I wonít post for a Holiday, or from the Park, but Iím giving no guarantees. For one thing, Iím now nearer to Prospect Park, so you may see something from there. And maybe youíll see more in general, as Iíd like to produce more visual material, beyond the photos and the once-a-year Christmas cards. And there are some more in-depth topics Iíd like to tackle; writing that will take me beyond the deadline-driven Holiday posts with their prescribed themes. Or maybe Iíll just be lazy, and give up altogetherÖ

Öwell, I donít think that will happen, but I do think itís time for a change around here, in keeping with the rest of my life, and in recognition of what has been achieved. I hope the repository of the last five years will stand as a source that may be dipped into at need, maintaining relevance to our passing cycles; otherwise, let the New Year write a story of its own.

So thatís my New Yearís revelation; I havenít gained the stars but I hope Iíve reflected a little of the light.
Light, they say, goes on forever, or at least until it strikes something. When that happens, the result is illumination, but also a shadow cast behind. If I turn away from the light itís only to shine a new beam into the dark. When all the World is illuminated, then every day will be a Holiday, and the celebration will go on and onÖ
All it takes is an epiphany.

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January 5, 2005

The Twelfth Day of Christmas


January 4, 2005

The Eleventh Day of Christmas


January 3, 2005

The Tenth Day of Christmas


January 2, 2005

The Ninth Day of Christmas