Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Class was cancelled today so I took advantage of the free day by going to New York University's Bobst Library to do research for the two papers I'm supposed to be working on, as well as get clues about my thesis. I spent 6 hours there, but only got about half of those things done. Most of the time was spent reading about Winslow Homer during the Civil War and George Inness's thoughts on metaphysics.

Somewhere in the Winslow Homer books, I realized that I was in a building overlooking Washington Square, and during the Civil War, Homer spent some time living in New York City, in an apartment overlooking Washington Square. I looked out the window and realized that the park may have looked much the same 140 years ago, especially now that it was coated in a fine layer of snow.

It had begun snowing just as I arrived at the library, in the early afternoon, and as the day progressed, the snow continued a steady fall. Back to the books at hand, I suddenly came across a passage quoting Henry Ward Beecher:

Is there anything in the world so devoid of all power as a snow-flake? ...It forms in silence and in the obscurity of the radiant ether, far up above eyesight or handreach... We have sat and watched the fall of snow until our head grew dizzy, for it is a bewitching sight to persons specualtively inclined. There is a aimless way of riding down, a simple, careless, thoughtless motion, that leads you to think that nothing can be more nonchalant than snow... If you reach out your hand to help it, your very touch destroys it. It dies in your palm, and departs as a tear.

When I finally left the library, the streets were full of slush. The new snow was already corrupted by hundreds of footprints, and college students in the park were making snowballs. But the nonchalant snow was still coming down, icy and wet. I hope its still there tomorrow, because I want to take pictures of Central Park in the snow, and paint it.

1 comment:

rachel said...

oh sweet, sweet bobst. i want to tell you all the silly/horrifying stories i have about that place. that's fun that you can go there. it sure does have some beautiful views.

and yes, i want to go to merlefest with you. let the planning commence!