My internet and cable service has been restored after two weeks without service due to hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the tri-state area. I was one of the fortunate ones that sustained no damage and had heat, electricity and hot water through it all. So, to be without cable and internet was just a mild inconvenience that surprisingly I did not mind as much as I had thought. I spent the time reading, writing, listening to music and of course taking photos.
Similar to my Urban Spring I created an Urban Fall gallery from my neighborhood of Astoria and filled it with photos of red and brown berries, pine cones, orange persimmons, seasonal flowers, trees and of course the leaves. To me leaves are the only living things that look more beautiful in death than they do in life. Turning from summer green to crimson, bright yellow to golden brown. As the life giving sap stops running and the leaves begin to wither and drop, they take on the incredible hues that we’ve come to associate with the autumnal season and decorate our homes with, for the Thanksgiving Holidays.
The days before Sandy were overcast and cold and the images taken on those days reflect the colors as muted and the days after the storm the skies were bright making the colors glow. I focused a lot of attention on the individual leaves as they lay on the ground with a grey pebbly concrete back ground contrasting against their vermillion veins. Others I captured windblown, flattened, wedged against the links of a fence or, tumbled into crisp crunchy piles along the curbs.
Walking along 23rd Avenue I passed by one of the many arches that are extensions of the Hell Gate Bridge and the New York Connecting Rail Road. An army of purple and red-green Ivy was crawling up over the stone surface. Underneath the arch, the vines were growing with wild abandoned over everything in their path. Covering cracked windows and doorways and smothering fences and debris carelessly tossed away; a wild and gritty urban garden scene.
The Saturday following the storm the sun came out and I walked through my neighborhood once again towards Astoria Park to photograph the trees, praying that they were still standing and not destroyed by the powerful winds of the recent storm. The morning was so clear that the moon’s facial features were still sharp and I had fun taking compositional shots of it between the branches of trees and as it played hide and seek with the clouds.
As I reached the park I was happy to see that there was very little damage and that the trees were all still standing. Including a crab apple tree bursting with miniature red apples that spilled from its laden branches and littered the damp leafy ground.
Several of the trees had shed all of their leaves and stood naked against the blue sky with muscular-bare-arm branches stretching and yawing toward the sky preparing for a deep dormant sleep. These branches were as smooth as steel and glistened in the sun against a back drop of azure blue skies. Others looked as if they were performing with their twisted bent trunks and finger-grasping branches in a “Martha Graham-esque” dance. Their beauty was mind-boggling and I wondered how they keep so natural and serene amidst all of the urban chaos that has sprung up around them. On my way home I walked back through the park and again under the bridge to capture the shadows and light falling on the giant concrete elephant’s feet of its stalwart arches.
Amidst all the chaos of nature’s fury her children prevail and show their strength and determination to keep living and be fruitful year after year, season after season.