Posted tagged ‘peacocks saint john the divine’

Peacock Boys at the Cathedral

April 17, 2020

Walking the pandemic

Peacocks have freely wandered the grounds at Saint John’s Cathedral in Morningside Heights since the 1980s.

The three peacocks currently in residence, Jim, Harry and Phil, are older gentlemen now, but age is no obstacle to the call of spring. There are no peahens on the premises, yet the three peacocks still rise to the season, displaying their gorgeous tails, squawking and strutting. I went seeking them on this beautiful chilly morning.

Someone peeks around the corner …

I see you.

And lets out a joyful sound. More like an ear-splitting honk to human ears, but presumably a romantic “come-hither” to available peafowl.

Glass-shattering squawk.

The other blue peacock was hidden behind a truck and I had almost given up on finding the third, when a flash of white drew my eye to a far corner of the extensive grounds.

It was Phil, the white peacock, flapping to the fence rail.

He landed awkwardly, then posed for a moment.

And launched himself down onto the other side.

He grazed a bit in the grass.

I left him there and walked away. Again, a flash of white caught my eye. In his quiet corner, just off Amsterdam Avenue, the peacock displayed his beauty for no one.

Thanks to Saint John’s Cathedral for keeping their grounds open to the public and providing the neighborhood with respite from its cares.

Two-Eyed Prophecy of Spring

March 14, 2011

To gain wisdom and a vision of the future, Odin drank from Mimir’s well, and plucked out his own right eye to pay Mimir’s price.

Odin's right eye still stares up from the bottom of Mimir's well. Illustration by Willy Pogany from The Children of Odin, Padraic Colum's beautiful retelling of Norse sagas

Here is my two-eyed prophecy for New York.

I have read the signs, natural and man-made, that tell the truth of the world, and the signs say:

Spring is coming. Prepare, prepare.

Spring! Spring! Spring!

Look at the signs, and interpret for yourself:

The Sign of Flowers:

First flowers in Riverside Park

The Sign of Spring Training:

Hitters on the Hudson.

The Sign of Multi-tasking Outdoor Muses

Playing the trumpet while reading the paper

The Sign of Al Fresco Dining

Starling gang fight over free pizza

The Sign of Strange Sports

Stylin' Frenchmen play bocce ball in Morningside Park.

The Sign of Mister Softee

La dee da la dee da la dee da … Somebody, please, get that tune out of my head!

The Sign of Bare Legs Despite Still-Bare Branches

Bare branches, bare legs

The Sign of Peacocks at Saint John the Divine

Blue guardian of the eastern wall

Skulker in the southern garden

And on every street: The Sign of Tiny Winged Macho Men Singing for World Domination

Small but fierce

These signs deciphered mean: spring.
O my prophetic soul!
Mark me:
Within a month, the secret garden of Saint John’s will explode into pinks and yellows.
All over the city, what grass there is will green.
In the parks, birds and squirrels will nest.
And the crack of baseball bats on balls will be heard throughout the city.
Rejoice.
Though the way be dark before us and cold rain fall,
yet spring approaches.

April 2010: Garden on the grounds of Saint John the Divine

Coyotes: Columbia University and Central Park

February 8, 2010

Three coyotes were spotted on Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus on Sunday morning. You read that right. Three! As far as I know, this is the first time a pack of coyotes has made its way into Manhattan. I’m impressed.

Police officers responded, but only spotted one, walking behind the Schapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research.

I hope Saint John the Divine keeps their lovely, free-ranging peacocks indoors for a while.

White peacock at St. John's by jskrybe/Flickr.com

Well, a trio of coyotes in the hood certainly puts a whole new spin on the Central Park coyote. Did a pack cross into Manhattan together? Is the Central Park coyote a member of the three-dog Columbia coyote pack? Just how many coyotes are there wandering about in upper Manhattan?

As far as we know this Monday morning, however many there are, they’re all still free and livin’ la vida loca in the heart of the city.

Last Friday, Esau and I went coyote-hunting in Central Park’s North Woods. No coyotes, but plenty of flyers with a cute drawing of a raccoon surrounded by the ominous words: Rabies Advisory:

Leave wildlife alone

All the official-looking people we talked to affirmed that the coyote was still out there…somewhere.  A Central Park Conservancy guy, tooling around in a golf cart, responded to our questions by asking if we knew Paul. No, we replied. Should we?

Apparently, Paul and his dog were walking on the Great Hill Thursday morning when they noticed a peculiar-looking dog, watching them from the other side of the mesh fencing. The coyote. When they resumed walking, the animal shadowed them, matching their pace and direction from its side of the fence.

At the ravine, we are amazed by the size of this root ball from a tree downed in last August’s freak storm.That mountain behind Esau is all root ball. Yowza.

Giant root ball

We wandered to the pool, where Bruce Yolton took last week’s photos of coyote on ice. We didn’t see the predator, but we did see some nice-looking prey:

Mallards in open water

When they’re not swimming, the mallards loaf around on the edge of the ice, like neighborhood corner guys, waiting for something interesting to happen.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure these quackers would recognize interesting unless it jumped up and bit them. Literally. They certainly seem blase about Esau’s presence. I’m guessing they’d make easy pickings for a hungry coyote.

But then, NYC is full of easy pickings, whether in the parks or on the streets. Especially on trash night when the big black bags are piled high. If Esau has caught rats on 108th Street, while leashed, a wild coyote would surely have a field day, and do us all a favor, in the process.


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