Sapsucker Woods, 10/8/10

We went up to Cornell to pick Will up for the weekend and finally managed to time it so we could visit Sapsucker Woods and the Cornell lab of Ornithology. Wouldn’t you like to work here? I told Will he should visit when he needs a serene place to study.

Bill, basking in the sunlight and contemplating moving in.

This wall is 30′ long and 2 stories high, looking out on a pond, and the other window overlooks several bird feeders and wildlife plantings.

We rambled around the grounds and trails for a few hours. I felt kind of disloyal birding Sapsucker Woods with the National Geo. guide instead of Peterson’s. Not a whole lot of bird activity, but the paths led to a few surprises.

I loved this peaceful vista over a little pond, the path covered in fallen leaves.

As we wandered, I saw this huge stone egg and said, “That looks like an Andy Goldsworthy sculpture,” … and I was right! It was so amazing to come across a piece by my favorite artist, and even more wonderful for it to have come as a complete surprise to me.

And just to prove that I really do exist:


Me and 'Sapsucker Cairn'



Categories: Field trip, Mammals too | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Sapsucker Woods, 10/8/10

  1. I cannot fail to feel at peace in so many places in Ithaca, including here (Cornell Plantations is my favorite, however—I’m in it for the flowers :-)). Awe and peace, awe and peace. Maybe that’s the best therapy: visit there [deep sigh].

    Glad you made great use out of the trip to pick up Will :-).

    And you and Bill keep having these honeymoon moments~!! 🙂

  2. …*and* you know Andy Goldsworthy’s work well enough to recognize one of his cairns on sight. Wow, we have a lot in common.

    Remind me to tell you about the revelatory exhibit of his that I was lucky enough to stumble upon years ago, when I happened to be in Ithaca for a wedding.

    • Well? Tell!

      • OK, well, I happened to be in Ithaca for a wedding around 2000 or so. And I happened to park by the Cornell Art Museum, and I noticed a sign for an Andy Goldsworthy exhibit. And I happened to have an hour or two to kill. So I went in.

        Lots of the prints that ended up in “Time” were on display. It was magnificent. But the thing that made an even greater impression on me was a room-sized display. You viewed it from the second floor, sort of like the viewing gallery over a squash court. You’d look down on this large room full of sticks: from twigs on up to branches as big around as your thigh. The branches were arranged into Goldsworthy’s trademark cairns: large sticks at the bottom, with the size gradually decreasing until the round hole at the top was formed with the smallest ones.

        The bases of the cairns were connected, and the entire room was full of this sinusoidally undulating sheet of cairns.

        Now here’s the thing. They were sitting there, but they were anything but static. Those sticks were flowing through the room. And the hole in the top of each cairn? Each hole defined the circumference of a vertical pillar. The pillars didn’t exist, but I could see them, solid as could be. Because those sticks were flowing in a river through the room, *and they were flowing around the pillars!*

        Years later I heard the term “negative space” for the first time. I’ve never heard that term without thinking of that exhibit, because it is to me the perfect example of negative space.

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