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Author Archives: Erik Schurink
Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel, a rete of steel—a radial zigzag; an arced fragment of New York’s subway rete; the red of an otherwise invisible electrical rete; and the window pane made visible by refraction, read by retes of rods, cones, and nerves.
In early spring-tide, when the icy drip
Melts from the mountains hoar, and Zephyr’s breath
Unbinds the crumbling clod, even then ’tis time…
Spring is back. Upstate is melting.
During spring break I went on a delightful hike with my family and friends, along the Ashokan Reservoir. The reservoir, like others in the area, was created in the early 1900s, I learned. It flooded the town of Ashokan and surrounding farms, to quench the thirst of the big city, downstate.
Home from the hike, looking at the photos taken that walk among as of yet leafless trees, frost and thaw, I feel the need to learn more about this watering can of the five boroughs.
My Brooklyn window looks out on a budding magnolia, and I know the garden hoses around town are starting to be unfurled by the thousands, as I write this.
Welkin… it sounds so strange, yet so familiar. The vault of heaven. I like it. Then I saw the del.icio.us “Wolken” link, with all these skies from around the world—photographed, labeled with location, date and time, as if the skies were classical architecture captured on a sightseeing tour, snapped by someone fascinated with vaulted ceilings. Imagine the joy of that tourist spotting that cloud over Brussels, Belgium, on October 10, 2005, at 4:30 in the afternoon. A welkin touched by a rainbow, touched as if by a seven-fingered hand frantically hailing the bus that didn’t stop, throwing itself up so high, it discovered the texture of Brussels’ ceiling—dissolving disappointment, discovering welkin.
Lynne and I had a wonderful chat about the artistry of “Wolken” and the word almost being welkin. Wolken is the word for clouds in Dutch, my mother tongue. Welkin and wolken—not quite synonymous, but they must be distant cousins. The next day, I went for a walk at lunchtime, with the podcast of the Writer’s Almanac of March 28th in my ears. Garrison Keillor read Gary Johnson’s “Up in the sky the lovers lay in bed…”
Next time I look up between the skyscrapers of this awesome city, I may just say: “Thank you, welkin. Thank you.”
Hmm… All at once. Yes, that’s the New York I came to New York for, the City worthy of being expressed with the completeness of ABC
as beleaguered city dwellers entertain follies
gothamites harass, ignore, jaywalk, kiss,
mutually nixing other partakers
shuttling through underground veins
See the map of this post from NYPL Donnell Library Center.