Gale Force

The wind won’t stop. Trash blows through the air, all around the towering projects, skitters along the sidewalk, chasing scraps of paper, cardboard boxes and gust-inflated store bags, black and white. I hide from the cold in my car, awaiting trees to guard. Today excavation goes on in the street, too remote from the London plane and yellowoods to endanger them. I’ve already checked on all the trees on my site, which are safely ensconced in their protective wood frames. 

The wind blows grit against the skin of my face, in my eyes. I nearly got whacked on the head by a metal store sign that had come loose and was flapping back and forth. Young people in safety vests walk the street with a garbage container on wheels and long handled dustpans, but they can’t possibly pick up all the trash as it swirls around them. The city doesn’t bother with public trash containers in the Bronx, it seems.

Workers build houses under the ground so the trench won’t collapse in on them as they work. 

These below ground cabins are muddy on the bottom but otherwise strike me in my innocence as looking very cozy.

The first thing I saw this morning was a man throwing a kitten out the door of his bodega, then coming out to shoo it down the street. The baby tabby shivered in the wind looking back toward the shop door before racing away into the wind. While this went on the usual troubled man stood outside the store by the ice machine, barking and muttering and throwing his head back on his neck.

Here on Webster at East 169 St., men in cars drive up to the tire emporium and jump out to admire the rims for sale. It’s a fascination for them. Stacks upon stacks of tires have been piled beneath the mosaic of silver rims hanging on the storefront . If you can decide, you can get the job done right there in front of the store.

A few blocks away the fortuneteller has had to take her sign down out of the wind. 

The soothsayer reads palms in the back of the smoke shop, waiting all day for a customer. I’ve never been in to see her, much as I obsess about my future. Maybe sometime, if this wind ever dies down.

3 Comments

Filed under Arborist, Culture, History, Home, Jean Zimmerman, Nature, New York City, Trees, Writers, Writing

3 responses to “Gale Force

  1. I was reminded by your remark about the lack of public trash containers in the Bronx that during a Sunday walk in Van Cortlandt Park in the 1970s I came upon a surreal sight: trash arrayed like spokes on a wheel with a totally empty trash container as the hub. Each spoke in the wheel was about ten feet long. Probably staged, but… Wish I’d had a camera.

  2. Anonymous

    I know who Anonymous is!

  3. Anonymous

    WIND GUSTS in NYC: 40 or 50 miles an hour during the day, equivalent to tropical storm winds. Even in Lancaster, PA, a friend’s tree was blown over in her front yard… narrowly grazing the roof of her house. (She’d be one who might have visited the palm reader.)

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