Esau Among the Leaves … and a Nature Walk in Prospect Park

Last week in Riverside Park, a little dog sat under a flame tree in a halo of light.

Holy dog.

What, really, can you do this time of year but celebrate leaves in every possible way?

The Red Shoes, or Little Dog with Feet on Fire

Aerial View of Esau Among Leaves

Wall-Walking Among Fiery Trees

Four red-heads (one human, three canine) dissolving into light and leaves

Fallen Stars

One Dog, Many Leaves

Magic Carpet

Some of the leaves have wings.

Through the Leaves - the River!

“To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or sea-side stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with fine art works, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall. Teach him something of natural history, and you place in his hands a catalogue of those which are worth turning around.”
– Thomas Henry Huxley, 1854

Little dog models big leaf cape.

I lifted Huxley’s  quote from Backyard and Beyond, the blog of Matthew Wills, a Brooklyn-based writer and amateur naturalist extraordinaire.  If you’d like to know more about nature in New York (like what the heck is that giant leaf on Esau’s back?), head over to Backyard and Beyond, where Matthew is offering a personalized tour of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. All you have to do is be the highest bidder for Matthew’s “Natural History Walking Tour of Prospect Park” at The Nation’s online fund-raising auction.

Good luck.

A Shadow Person walks a Real Dog on Fallen Leaves. Strange.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2010, Birds, Flora, In the City, November, NYC Parks, Riverside Park, Wildlife/Natural History

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12 Comments on “Esau Among the Leaves … and a Nature Walk in Prospect Park”

  1. Wren Says:

    Clearly, dogs and fall go together. Who knew?

    You did, obviously. Thanks for letting the rest of us in on the secret.

  2. p hoey Says:

    A great blog on pastoral urbanity–or is it urban pastorality? Or mebbe both at once? More! more more!

  3. Katrinka Says:

    How about a Catulpa bean tree leaf?
    Oh how I loved this blog entry — the fallen stars were exquisite. And how did you get Esau to sit still long enough to put those little pointy shoes on him?


  4. I loved this dreamy, poetic post and all the beautiful images. Esau looks so sweet and content sporting little Red Shoes and a leaf cape.


  5. The words and pictures couldn’t be more beautiful and moving.It gets better and better.

  6. Charlotte Says:

    A magical post. Maybe a remake of “The Red Shoes” is in order, with Esau starring, dancing with flaming red leaves and fallen stars. Love the quote from Matthew’s blog, which your blog plays a significant part.

  7. Rebecca Says:

    The five-pointed ones are sweet gum leaves, yes? Among my favorites.

  8. Matilde Says:

    The autumn in Central Park is fantastic!!The roads and the paths are colored by the magic of the leaves!! To Milan , unfortunately this magic is not seen ! I like very much the ” Magic Carpet “. Esau continues to be mythical in your photos !

  9. mthew Says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Melissa.

    Now, about that leaf. Based on internet clairvoyance, I’d say it was a Royal Paulownia leaf. They can be up to 2 ft. long when the trees are young. The trees, a.k.a. Empress tree, Princess tree, foxglove tree, are imports from Asia; have naturalized to the mid-Atlantic region of the US, and are often found on empty lots in the city (or the banks of the Gowanus here in Brooklyn). They line the Palisades, too. They have those lovely, trumpet-shaped purple flowers in spring, and brown oval seed pods that usually stick around on the branches. Named after a daughter of Tsar Paul I.


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