Tag Archives: white oak

In my skin

as it were – and having exercised my brain enough for today I thought I would exercise my legs by making my way down the scant-mile-long trail to the river.

Magic hour. Just before nightfall. It is a wonderful path, carefully marked with delicate ribbons by Chuck, who takes care of the property.

I’m hoping to scare up one of the wild turkeys that have been seen around here or at least a deer but no animals, just the mad sound of bird song all around.

Dame’s rocket in abundance. Also called mother-of-the-evening.

A mysterious grove of mossy logs.

A spruce cone.

An old fallen pine with just about the right dimensions for a ship mast, like the ones I’m writing about in my current chapter.

Kismet! This trail has a bouquet of young white oak leaves.

On the way down the last steep slope I can hear the waves rushing. After trying to explain inosculated trees to some painters here and sounding like a knowitall jerk I come across a pair right by the side of the trail here, a young white ash and a hophornbeam, seemingly making out.

They’ve been marked by ribbons as though ready for their close up. And a knotted rope placed there to help in the descent.

Finally, the beach. First, an Eastern cottonwood stretches itself out on the shore.

Is this beautiful enough for you? The Hudson is a beast.

How about this?

I find an ancient brick, probably from one of the historic Hudson River brickyards back in the day.

Handsome driftwood.

The smoothest beachrock in the world.

Heading back in the near dark, mysteries. An old foundation. Who came here before?

A forest containing a sad story. Pine bark beetle.

Things live here though. A hidey hole.

Multiflora rose, still holding tightly to its blooms. I don’t care if you’re invasive as long as you don’t invade me.

The first honeysuckle of the season, bringing back memories of childhood.

An old gate to the estate that hangs open as if to welcome me.

Closer, closer. The old carriage house.

Fluffy viburnum.

Lilies of the valley. I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen them.

More mysteries. Cannonball stones on the lawn. What?

Finally, the linden with its delicate lime green bracts.

And I’m back to the Caretaker’s Cottage.

Home sweet home, for now.


Filed under Jean Zimmerman

I am in Heaven

and thus not able to file regular blog posts. You’ll understand. Catwalk Institute is a ravishing place to have a writing residency.

I think I will be far too consumed with writing chapters of Heartwood here to do much else. Perhaps exercising my daydreaming muscles too. Part of the creative process, don’t you know.

My cheerfully monastic room has plenty of shelf space for my anvil collection (think I brought enough books?).

Hoping to claim the gardener’s shed as my work lair for the next three weeks.

The tiny little space seems custom made for me and my laptop. There’s even wifi.

On the way, lovely little nooks and crannies in which to lose myself.

Whimsy abounds.

Places to walk, think.


I am sure that I will spend time meandering around the far-flung reaches of the sixty-five acres of the estate stretching down to the Hudson River, which happens to be visible from the living room of the Caretaker’s Cottage, my digs.

Practically the first thing that greeted me was a majestic white oak.

Met Chuck the caretaker of the property, who told me he “was born a tree.”

He seems to know everything about everything. We toured the place and talked about the phlox.

The carpenter bees (“they like to play”). Chuck introduced me to one named Herman. We saw the cattail pond only partly invaded by phragmites. We ID’d a mourning cloak butterfly and a Chinese fringe tree.

The fat old deodar cedar.

And its fat baby cone.

Chuck told me he made a wooden sign for his home with the legend, “Breathing in I am a tree. Breathing out, I am rooted in spirit.” He was kind enough to prop up a kindred spirit.

Whatever I do I’ll be sure to take it slow, preferably strolling in the shade of a handsome old black locust.

Physically, at least. My brain has already begun firing on all cylinders.

Wish me the best. I am so fortunate to be a Fellow here.


Filed under Jean Zimmerman