Posts Tagged ‘sidewalk’

On the Day of the Eclipse – Looking Down

Monday, August 21st, 2017

During the height of the solar eclipse this afternoon in Washington, DC, when the moon occluded 82% of the sun’s disc, a neighbor pointed out to me how strangely the sun’s remaining light was filtering through the foliage of the large Japanese maple tree in my front yard. Openings in the tree canopy were operating as pinhole projectors. The sidewalk became a canvas for dozens of elusive, feather-like crescent shapes. You sensed this was a strange visitation, one that would prove to be ephemeral.

(Click on photo to enlarge its details.)

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This final photograph, taken after the eclipse had passed and after a brief rain shower, shows the normal appearance of sun on the same sidewalk.

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A friend informed me that Billy Ray Cyrus posted on Twitter his photo of the same phenomenon.

Autumn Leaf Prints

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

On the way to work this morning I came across this stretch of sidewalk. How could I not stop in my tracks?

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The ghostly stains were the traces of fallen maple leaves.

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As I was to learn later from research on Google, it sometimes happens, when conditions are just right, that a strong natural dye in dying leaves (tannic acid) leaches out to mark each leaf’s temporary resting place on the concrete bed:

As the death-bed, whereon it must expire, consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.

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Winds come to blow away the leaves and what’s left behind are what some people call “leaf prints” — representations that are spooky in the same way fossil imprints in shale, and X-rays of human body parts, are spooky.

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These impressions are images of passage, signs of dissolution befitting autumn.

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Two other bloggers who’ve been captivated by this phenomenon report their reactions¬†here and here. An alternative version of my post is found here.

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Fall Gardens On My Block

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

This afternoon at 4:00pm:

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