Archive for September, 2012
Paul Winter Image, from Internet
Where but Princeton would the best of music and the best of poetry meet in a sacred space, to further the preservation of priceless open land in our state? On Wednesday, October 10, the sublime smooth jazz of the Paul Winter Consort will weave around the powerful global poetry of Jane Hirshfield.
Each enhancing the music of the other, music as notes and words as notes will soar to the apex of Princeton University Chapel and beyond, beginning at 7 p.m.
Princeton University Chapel Image from Internet
The beneficiary of this unique event, followed by a Meet-the-Artists Reception and Signing at Firestone Library, is D&R Greenway Land Trust. The non-profit’s preservation and stewardship accomplishments began in 1989, tallying over 23 miles-and-counting in this, our most populous state.
Poets and students in our time have thrilled to the Paul Winter Consort’s poetic evocations at the Dodge Poetry Festival, all those years in Waterloo Village, and now and soon again, in Newark. Coleman Barks and Jane Hirshfield, both, have experienced Consort Magic integrated into their work (and that of ancient poet, Rumi, translated and evoked by Coleman.) At Waterloo, ‘the big tent’ seemed to levitate during these juxtapositions. In Princeton University Chape, as during Winter’s Solstice Rituals at St. John-the-Divine in Manhattan, apses and naves seem to surge with sacred waters, the venerable stones themselves seem to take on volume, as known yet always unexpected Consort tones surge and ebb around visitors.
Firestone Library Image from Internet
The Consort concert in the chapel begins at 7 p.m. The Meet-the-Artists Reception and Signing in Firestone Library takes place from 8:30 - 9:30.
This will be a night of the blending of paradigms, all for the cause of nature.
Tickets, supporting D&R Greenway’s Preservation and Stewardship Mission, may be phoned in at $!5 (Open Seating) and $35 (Reserved Seating) to Princeton University Ticketing. 609-2584TIX, or 258-48489 between 12 and 6. CDs and Books will be on sale at the evet. For $75 Reserved Seating, followed by the Meet-the-Artists Reception and Signing in Firestone Library, phone D&R Greenway at 609-924-4646. OK to leave message with credit card details and phone and address information.
Note, performance is in the Chapel off Washington Road, on the University Campus, not at D&R Greenway. Ticket information will be mailed upon receipt of funds. Checks are made out to D&R Greenway Land Trust and mailed to One Preservation Place, Princeton 08540.
Poet Jane Hersfield was graduated in Princeton University’s first class to welcome women. She describes herself, as a freshman, as “that entirely naive and deeply shy young woman.” Jane muses upon what her freshman self would have thought, had she been told that “I would be returning to read my poems in such a space, [University Chapel], let alone in the company of the transcendentally gorgeous Paul Winter Consort, whose music makes a chapel all on its own.”
Baffled, as are many of us, that “the acutely felt environmental awareness of spring 1970 remains still under-realized,” Jane expresses gratitude that Scott and Hella McVay and D&R Greenway are bringing this event into being.
“For me, [she focuses on] the awareness of the interconnection of all life on this planet, and the sense of responsibility that emerges from that awareness,” which Jane Hirsfield terms “polestar things.”
Paul Winter generously ‘piped’ D&R Greenways Poets of the Trail to the podium, when the Scott and Hella McVay Poetry Trail opened upon the land trust’s grounds in Greenway Meadows.
Never did his saxophone sound more sweetly than upon that golden evening, beneath century-old trees, with wind and birds on the wing as accompaniment. 48 poems await visitors on that trail, any time, whether or not D&R Greenway is hard at work in its 19th-century (Robert Wood Johnson’s) working barn. The evocative trail rises among stately sycamores, opens out into warm-season grasses. It curves along a gentle ridge from which the Sourland Mountains are visible, then turns and returns to an oak that could be the sister of the Merer Oak. The trail is punctuated with rustic benches for contemplation.
Jane Hirshfield’s Zen consciousness is right at home on the Scott and Hella McVay Poetry Trail in Greenway Meadows. Her voice and presence will lend new and unique echoes to the mellifluous notes rising from Paul Winter and his Consort.
As with his music with the whales, the cause of nature will be furthered in the chapel on October 10 - do join us!
HERE IS OUR OFFICIAL ENTIRE RELEASE:
Princeton University Chapel October 10 for D&R Greenway Fund-raiser
Paul Winter Consort and Poet Jane Hirshfield
Princeton, NJ – D&R Greenway Land Trust invites the public to hear Paul Winter, with his Consort, interweaving their iconic music with the soul-stirring words of poet Jane Hirshfield, on Wednesday, October 10. ‘Music and Poetry of the Earth’ will unfold in the Princeton University Chapel, beginning at 7 p.m. Jane Hirshfield’s books and the Consort’s CDs will be available for purchase after the performance. A meet-the-artists reception in Firestone Library will follow, from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. Reception fees benefit the preservation mission of D&R Greenway Land Trust. [www.drgreenway.org – 609-924-4646]
Tickets for reserved performance seating, –which include the Meet-the-Artists Reception, where books and CDs will be signed, cost $75. Reservations are available directly through D&R Greenway Land Trust:(609) 924-4646. Credit cards are accepted for phone orders, or checks made payable to D&R Greenway Land Trust. For [non-reception] performance seating, ($35) and ($15) General Admission seating, call Princeton University at 609-258-9220. To order $35 and $15 tickets on-line: http://www.princeton.edu/utickets/, or arrange in person at the Frist Campus Center Ticket Office, Monday-Friday, from noon-6 pm.
‘Music and Poetry of the Earth’ is co-sponsored by the Princeton University Chapel, the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, and Scott & Hella McVay. Scott McVay is a co-founder of the Dodge Poetry Festival, where the Paul Winter Consort traditionally performs with poets. Winter and Hirshfield first performed together at the 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival. Hirshfield will be a featured poet at the Festival at NJPAC in Newark, October 11 and 12.
Coming to Princeton is a natural for Jane Hirshfield, who graduated in Princeton University’s first class that welcomed women. Inspired by both Eastern and Western poetry, Hirshfield’s work utilizes a short form, hinging on a singular turning point or moment of arresting insight. “It is a pleasure and a privilege to join the Paul Winter Consort and broader community in support of D&R Greenway and its work in preserving and making available open space in central New Jersey,” says Hirshfield.
Paul Winter declares, “I am excited about performing in the magnificent chapel, with its magical acoustics.” The realm of this stellar musician has long embraced cultures and creatures of the entire earth, explaining his attunement D&R Greenway’s mission: “I have admired their work since I had the privilege of playing at the opening of the Scott and Hella McVay Poetry Trail there in 2010. I feel a deep resonance with this well-run organization’s efforts to preserve land in central New Jersey — more than 17,000 acres! My collaborations with the McVays go back to the ’70s, with our mutual interest in whales and poetry. This we have celebrated during twenty-five years of collaborations at the Dodge Poetry Festival.”
Paul Winter, Paul Winter Consort
Paul Winter credits the songs of the humpback whales for opening the door for the six-time Grammy-award winning Consort, in the late 1960s, to what he refers to as “the greater symphony of the Earth.” Since then, the extraordinary voices of whales, as well as those of wolves, eagles, elk, loon, and a score of other creatures have become part of the Consort’s celebrations, awakening people to the plight of endangered species. Winter’s tours and recording expeditions have taken him to fifty-two countries and to wilderness areas on six continents. The musician has traveled on rafts, dog sleds, horses, kayaks, tug-boats, and Land Rovers. The Consort’s new work, launched last spring, Flyways, celebrates the immense bird migration from Africa through the mid-East to Eurasia.
As artists-in-residence at the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, New York’s St. John the Divine, the Consort has for three decades presented annual Winter and Summer Solstice Celebrations, as well as the ecological liturgical work, Missa Gaia/Earth Mass. Winter has performed in major concert halls around the world, including Washington’s National Cathedral, the Grand Canyon and the Negev Desert.
Poet Laureate Kay Ryan describes Jane Hirshfield as “a writer who demonstrates in every possible way that this life matters.” During her twenties, she was a full-time student of Zen for eight years, three of them in a monastery in silence. She is featured, with W.S. Merwin, –recent U.S. Poet Laureate–, and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, in the PBS special, The Buddha. Hirshfield has authored nine collections of poetry; an anthology of women poets in praise of the sacred; and a group of essays on entering the mind of poetry, among other works. Jane Hirshfield is a powerful reader of poetry and interview subject. She has been featured in two Bill Moyers PBS television specials, Fooling With Words and Sound of Poetry. In 2012, Hirshfield was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
“Tree” from Given Sugar, Given Salt (2002), Jane Hirshfield
It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.
Even in this
you will have to choose.
That great calm being,
This clutter of soup pots and books –
Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.
The Princeton University Chapel
Completed in 1928, the Princeton University Chapel is the third largest university chapel in the world. The Tudor Gothic building underwent a $10 million restoration in 2000-2002. There are more than 10,000 square feet of stained glass, as well as wood carvings and stonework. The chapel is listed as one of the great acoustic spaces of the U.S. and Canada, by the American Choral Directors Association.
D&R Greenway Land Trust
Founded in 1989, the mission of D&R Greenway Land Trust is to preserve and protect a permanent network of natural lands and open spaces, creating conditions for a healthy and diverse environment. It provides the public with appropriate access to these lands, encouraging active lifestyles and a greater appreciation of the natural world. D&R Greenway Land Trust also works to inspire a conservation ethic, promoting policies, educational programs and partnerships that result in a public commitment to land preservation and stewardship. In its 23 years, the Land Trust has preserved 243 properties, or 17,126 acres, valued at over $360 million. For more information, visit www.drgreenway.org
Carolyn F. Edelmann, Community Relations Associate
D&R Greenway Land Trust
“In wildness is the preservation of the world”
Packet Nature Blog: NJ WILD: www.packetinsider.com/blog/nature/
Princeton Patch Post: The Nature of Princeton
Spotters on the Cape May Bird Observatory Hawk Watch Platform cfe
Actually, it’s more like “Cape May For Two Days”! And yes, it was MORE than worth it.
Those two days centered upon the Cape May Bird Observatory [CMBO] Hawk Watch Platform.
After stopping at CMBO to renew my membership, and pick up a super-comfortable strap for my binoculars, I headed for the lighthouse and the Platform, even before checking into my motel room.
Helpful Cape May Bird Observatory Personnel on Hawk Watch Platform, cfe
CMBO maintains “counters”, “spotters” — professionals of highest caliber, who spot and count birds zooming past in autumn migration. The Platform fronts upon a pond. always graced by swans and frequently dive-bombed by peregrines.
Sunset Swan, Brenda Jones
I immediately recognized the silhouette and mellifluous voice of Pete Dunne, head of CMBO, author of wit, wisdom and experience, and yes, bon vivant. Also, natural teacher. So many facets of my birding knowledge have been inserted or polished by this man, over the years, at sunrise and sunset, and sometimes at 20 degrees with 20-mph-winds. I was overjoyed to reconnect, after my year plus of hurt-hip-induced absence. Pete, watching me walk, exulted, “We live in remarkable times.”
He went on to prove it by mentioning, “I was informed by phone about the nighthawks.”
Here and there, spotting scopes were trained on the skies.
But these pros of the Platform don’t need optics. A black spot miles away can be differentiated, as in Cooper’s or Sharp-Shinned Hawk, and they’ll even tell you how they can tell. Something to do with frequency of flapping. Pete: “It it were a Sharp-shinned, it would’ve flapped by now.”
Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Brenda Jones
But I say, these spotters, these CMBO mentors, are attached to birds by senses which have not even been defined, let alone located. Senses which go beyond eyes and even beyond Swarovskis.
Brilliance is a big part of being on the Platform. And fellowship. I hadn’t realized that (this concentration of) birders are family; that I had missed them to such a high degree.
There’s always humor, and even humility. At one point, Pete said, with a shrug in his voice, “Haven’t a clue….” There was a pregnant pause, followed by, “… bird.”
At the same time, in my two visits that day, early and latest, I was part of a bald-eagle count approaching 30. Even more importantly, –as I learned at early light the next day–, a 268- kestrel day.
There was a bare tree set among cedars, as studded with kestrels as a Christmas tree with ornaments. Every one vivid. Every one fluttering. These raptors swooped out, over and over, –not unlike flycatchers–, in quest of insects, one after another. And kestrels can hover — I never knew that. So vivid that they seemed iridescent, even spangled. What a privilege to be surrounded by them.
American kestrels have been ‘fewing and fewing’ in recent years. Their sacred edge habitat has been increasingly devoured by what others deem progress. I forgot to ask Pete, why there were/are so many right now. But this is one time when why doesn’t matter. Only beauty, power, rarity and presence.
Among the other numbers on Monday (departure day) morning were 109 osprey. Osprey were everywhere Sunday evening, often ‘packing a lunch’ - fish in talons, aerodynamically situated so as not to interfere with flight. 17 sharp-shins. 10 Coopers. 30 Merlin. 5 Peregrine Falcons. and so forth…
I even spotted a tern I didn’t recognize, which Erin-of-CMBO eagerly identified as a Forster’s. She trained the Swarovski scope on this single bird at the end of a wooden dock-like structure to our right. “Only Forster’s terns have that black eye patch now. They’re really fun to identify in autumn.” As David Allen Sibley puts it, “Black eye patch of non-breeding plumage distinctive.” This Platform is where Sibley ‘earned his wings’, with Pete and Clay Sutton, his co-authors of Hawks In Flight, about to be re-issued. All three will be at the Cape May Birding Weekend, to talk and sign this re-issue of Sibley’s first book, before his NYT best-sellers, The Sibley Guide to Birds, and The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior.
Usually, white shrubs and vines surrounding the Swarovski-sponsored Platform are filled with monarch butterflies this time of year. There were fewer than I’ve ever encountered of these orange-and-black long-distance fliers. Even so, I was welcomed to the Platform by one which nearly landed on the bridge of my nose.
Icy yellow, with a tinge of chartreuse, or key-lime pie, the cloudless sulphur butterflies seemed more in evidence here and among the bayberried dunes of Higbee Beach.
One of the butterfly magnet shrubs has the lovely name of High Tide Plant. Elder is another name for it. I’m sipping St. Germain liqueur, late this night, as I bring Cape May back to memory and to life. Pretending I’m a butterfly, nectaring on the elder plant from whose flowers this French specialty is crafted.
I hear Pete observe, “That eagle looks like he’s about to leave for Delaware.”
American Bald Eagle, Brenda Jones
Delaware is very near, here where our River meets the ocean, and the Cape May Lewes ferry carries cars, birders, bicyclists, hikers and just plain tourists from one state to another. The ferry is a grand place for seeking out seabirds who “come to land only when nesting.” (Sibley)
I reluctantly leave the Platform because it’s time to walk The Point. Newly crafted ‘boardwalks’ (they’re not real board) lift birders off the marsh-scape, into the realm of warblers and other treasures. Somehow, they’ve conquered phragmites to an enormous degree, those towering invasive rushes that drive out all the native plants the birds need, not only in migration. In the place of reeds is a meadow or a prairie of New Jersey wildflowers. The air is fragrant with (the invasive) autumn clematis, tiny white starflowers spun along tangles of vines. It’s more interesting than honeysuckle, with mimosa ‘notes’.
Colors on all sides of me include a pinkish bronze (wool grass, which is really a sedge); purple asters; white asters; seaside goldenrod, white ‘rose’ mallows, white boneset, pink marsh mallow, white dotted smartweed, mistflower, wild ageratum, purple gerardia, etc. etc. etc.
I don’t know all these plants - a fine naturalist, the plant equivalent of Pete Dunne, was sitting on a bench and eager to teach me every single species, in English and in Latin. Carl Anderson. He explained that the bayberry-like plants were wax myrtle and hybrids of wax myrtle and bayberry — the leaves on the latter are broader and darker, and bayberries were definitely in the minority. Bayberries are essential fat/fuel to migrant birds. I felt like Alice In Wonderland, having drunk whatever and shrunk to be smaller than most of these flowers.
Birds were few, because it was mid-day. Fish crows ringed the beige lighthouse like a crown of thorns. A single egret minced about the edge of a pond. A sound I never knew, or maybe ever heard, turned out to be a single kestrel in a naked tree just above my head. The closest I’ve ever been to a kestrel.
Kestrel at the Pole Farm, Brenda Jones
Morning dawned with a beach walk among black skimmers beyond counting, followed by another couple of hours on the Hawk Watch Platform.
Black Skimmers in Flight, Brenda Jones
Sky Full of Skimmers, the Jetty, Cape May cfe
From ten to twelve thirty, Monday, I floated on the boat, The Skimmer, among Cape May marshes. We were in quest of rare birds there, too. What I best remember is a series of large turtle heads in Turtle Creek, and a very rare Tri-colored Heron before we turned back to the dock.
Leaving for home was almost unbearable.
All the way north on the Parkway, I would hear those Platform phrases, “Over the cedars.” “Really soaring.” “Got ‘im!”
The line I’ll remember most is Pete Dunne’s description of yesterday, to a fellow ’spotter’ who also writes a blog: “Here’s the first line for your blog, Mike. If you weren’t here yesterday, slay yourself now.”
Black Skimmer Aloft, Cape May, by Brenda Jones
What do you do when your favorite Motel, even weeks ahead, only has one night in which to welcome you? It’ll be nearly three hours down, ditto back.
But the birds are migrating.
And the ocean beckons.
Shimmering Beachwalk, Cape May cfe
And I haven’t been on the Hawk Watch Platform since a year ago Easter, since this has been ‘The Year of the Hip.’
But my legs work now. I can carry my suitcase upstairs to my sea-facing room. I can walk on sand again.
My camera is not exactly rusting from disuse, but close.
Cape May Hawk Watch Platform after 2009 Blizzard cfe
The Hawk Watch Platform of Cape May Bird Observatory is officially open. Raptors are soaring. Shore birds staging. Monarchs might be nestled throughout the ivory blossoms of the high tide plant.
I have two good books, in a field new to me, food philosophy.
Seaside Seafood Supper, Inside Jetty Motel cfe
There won’t be enough time for all my favorite restaurants. But I’ll literally make a stab at it.
Osprey of May in Cape May, over CMBO Hawk Watch Platform cfe
And Monday morning, before turning north, I’ll be on the Skimmer again. This is a flat-bottomed craft that noses in and out of Back-Bay Cape May. Its knowledgeable Captain and Mate know where all the rare birds wait. Whether or not the ospreys have left, they’ll know how many young each nest produced. They’ll use delicate dip nets to introduce us to marshwater creatures, tenderly returning them as soon as we’ve memorized the names.
Everything will be shimmering.
And I’ll have new reasons to be glad of having endured this mightily successful hip replacement.
In a way, I’ll be migrating, for a too-brief interval.
Cape May vistas new and old will fill my treasury for the months ahead.
How Cape May Light Looks in Winter - CMBO image from Hawk Watch Platform
And probably, I’ll return, as is my wont, for Christmas.
The Jetty Motel is my favorite — go there. You’ll be made to feel like family. And, offshore, this time of year, hordes of black white and orange skimmers wait somehow, coming in for landings at sunrise, like the breakfast flock in Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Only vivid.
Make Cape May YOUR own…
Whale Watchers, Cape May, Brenda Jones
SALEM COUNTY’S BUCOLIC HISTORY - ALLOWAY CREEK cfe
NJ WILD readers know my favorite places to travel are the wild ones of New Jersey, –especially central and southern–, particularly near water, salt and fresh.
Often in quest of birds, rare yet plentiful.
You also know that the places I choose are havens on many levels.
However, I may not have emphasized enough that one can visit NJ WILD sites, even on major ‘Holidays’, without crowds.
Hancock House Historic Outbuilding - Revolutionary Site — cfe
If you pull up NJ WILD, it has a search feature. Write in ‘Brigantine’ or ‘Pine Barrens’; ‘Sourlands’ or Sandy Hook; Bull’s Island, the Delaware River, Island Beach, etc. You’ll be given a string of posts on their wild beauty, and directions are often part of the saga. For deepest solitude, plan birders’ hours — first light and last light.
In general, Take The Pretty Way, the back roads.
Salem Preserves — cfe
Tomorrow, a friend and I will launch her new Prius into Salem and Cumberland Counties. We’ll be treated to golden stretches of marshland; to shimmering rivers with splendid Indian names, such as the Manumuskin. We’ll ride on and laugh at the sound of Buckshutem Road. We’ll wonder, as you always must down there, where on earth will we eat? Of course, there’ll be the freshest of Jersey Fresh produce on weathered stands in front of farmhouses of other centuries. Of course, we’ll slide coins into Trust Boxes, as we settle agricultural jewels into our sustainability bags to take home.
We’ll see rare birds, especially eagles. Salem County held our only productive eagle nest during the grim DDT years, which my county (Somerset) is about to reinstitute, as it ‘adulticizes’ mosquitoes in the week ahead. Now, I am not kidding, in Salem and Cumberland Counties, we could see more eagles than we can count.
American Bald Eagle Floating - Brenda Jones
Osprey Claiming Nest, Brenda Jones
Cabbage Whites Nectaring — Brenda Jones
Especially ditto purple martins, but they had all left the Brigantine the last time I was there, weeks ahead of schedule. Theory is that our drought hinders the insect population to such a degree that martin migration is over. I’ll know tomorrow. If not, there could be hundreds of thousands of them, bending the marsh grasses, then darkening skies, along the Maurice River.
Alloway Creek, site of British Massacre of Colonial Soldiers, Salem County — cfe
Look up these sites, and find them for yourselves. There won’t be anyone else on most of the roads to the unknown, actually usually forgotten, Delaware Bay.
Salem County, Tranquillity Base cfe