One afternoon of springtime


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Last Wednesday, lunch time, I hopped on subway train headed to Branch Brook park.  I wanted to go to the Basilica Sacred Heart of Newark which was two blocks from the park to listen to the church’s music given to the public only on Wednesday.  Walking at the rim of the park I noticed that a few pine trees were very short as if they were very young however they had a lot of pine cones on their tops.  I had noticed that pine cones were clustering more on the tree’s top but I did not know the reasons.  Cones can stay on the tree for a very long time.  Perhaps there are people collect pine cones to sell?  Or maybe because cones on the lower parts of the tree fell first because they were older?

When I was little and lived in Vietnam, outside of my elementary school sometimes I saw peddlers selling cards.   The peddlers spread the cards on a small plastic sheet.  I often stood there admiring the cards.  Most of them were Christmas cards with some drawings, sketches, or photographs of cardinal birds, poinsettas, Christmas socks, English stone houses, and pine cones.  On the drawings and sketches there was a brush stroke of gold or silver glittering paint or glue to make them sparkling.  When my older brother gave me some pocket money I boutght a card, not to give it to any body but just to keep it and watch it.

Since then, I always like the look of pine cones.  When my relatives see me taking pictures of pine cones, they think I am silly.  They say pine cones look freaky.  In every walk in my life, I always slow down to view the pine cones if I happen to pass by them although I do not feel I need to buy them or collect them.  Sometimes I want to collect a few pine cones and paint them, decorate them, make them look pretty and photograph them.  They smell pretty when they are fresh too.

When I was little, pine cones were the images of a far away place and a promise of an adventure into some unknown culture and climate.  Now pine cones indeed bring me back to my childhood when I was a little poor kid standing at the peddler’s stall with a dream to wander.


Mùa Xuân

mùa xuân redbuds

Ở đây trời đang xuân.  Bỗng dưng có vài ngày thật nóng như thể mùa hè đến sớm làm tất cả các hoa chỉ nở lúc đầu xuân rụi tàn thật nhanh chóng.  Sau mùa đông dài đăng đẳng mùa xuân bao giờ cũng đẹp.  Cỏ lên xanh và cỏ dại nở ít nhất là ba loại hoa trắng, tím của pensée, và vàng của dandelions.  Loại hoa của cỏ dại có màu trắng nhỏ li ti đôi khi trắng cả một khoảng sân.

Vì nóng bất thường các hoa anh đào tàn hết nhưng loại hoa red bud lại nở rộ.  Hoa này có tên red bud nhưng lại màu hồng và ngã sang màu tím nhạt.  Chung quanh nhà tôi loại cây mọc dại này nở ít nhất cũng cả chục cây nhưng mỏng manh nhỏ nhắn.  Đi ngang công viên Branch Brook thấy một cây red bud cổ thụ gốc cây to hơn vòng tay của tôi nở li ti chi chít trên cành.  Chụp một tấm để các bạn xem nhé.

Thế mà đã bắt đầu tháng Năm.  Rồi dập dìu mùa xuân chim én về.


Bồ Công Anh


We are fabulously lucky.
We became dandelions.
Before we were even born
We keep wishing to be dandelions.
Next we found ourselves traveling
Out of the great unknown.
We rode in a train
Sixteen coaches long,
We sat prim and proper
In our golden yellow dresses.
Others came as black widows,
Little monkeys, and red birds,
And of course many ants,
Snuggled together and looking glum. 

–         Charles Seimic

Bồ Công Anh  

Mình may mắn tuyệt vời
Được biến thành cúc dại
Ngay cả trước khi ra đời
Chúng ta ao ước làm cúc dại
Rồi chúng ta thấy mình lãng du
Đến nơi xa lạ
Chúng ta đi xe lửa
Mười sáu toa xe
Chúng ta ngồi ngay ngắn lịch sự
Trong áo màu vàng kim
Những loài khác đến có nhện đen,
Khỉ nhỏ và chim đỏ
Và cũng có rất nhiều kiến
Dựa sát vào nhau và đầy vẻ buồn phiền. 



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Central Park New York

We altogether 12 people went in three cars, through Lincoln tunnel, turned right on 40th Street, turned left on 8th Avenue and went directly to West Central Park.  At the corner of 64th Street we found enough space for three cars parking along the street.  We spent a whole day wandering around the park.  While people played and climbed those huge rocks, I found a tree shade and spread my cotton jacket on the ground and . . . slept.  But I hardly was the only one.  I found a lot of people lying around and some actually slept.  It is cool, a little overcast, very comfortable for walking around.  When we returned to our cars we found each car was given a ticket.  We did not realize that we parked at the bus stop.  The fine was 115 dollars.  Ouch!

A few pictures.  We went just around 1/3 of the park.  Perhaps we will come back someday when we forget the pain of receiving the ticket. 

This lampost is on West Central Park Avenue at the intersection 65 or 66th street along the wall of the building Ethic Culture.

Birds in the Central park are very bold, perhaps too familiar with humans.  This little bird refused to fly away when I approached her.
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Horse carriage is one of the attractions.  The drawback is we have to smell the dung.  The middle picture is a glimpse of The Tavern on the Green.  The policemen are talking to a foreigner, it seemed he complained about something.  After that the policemen ran after a horse that came loosed.  It is interesting because the horse followed the traffic rule.  The street was one way so it would be even more horribly chaotic if the horse went against traffic.

The Frank’s cove.  It looks very much Japanese

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I walked around the ethic culture building and saw a few nice designs on a building next to the ethic culture building.  Some wealthy people had such amazingly little flowers in a trough.  I have the whole grove behind my house.  Bragging
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The birds said best place to rest.  Water lillies came in two colors, purple and pink.

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The two break dancers in a performance.  Lanscape in the central park.
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There are many performers in the park.  This young fellow is an amazing drummer.  The first time I have ever seen a black squirrel.
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I spotted this couple.  At a glance I had thought that she was topless because her shirt was pale pink almost like naked skin.
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I was not the only one who napped on the lawn.  This lady was one too.
The make shift house of a homeless person.  The plastic sheet is large enough to cover a bench and also has a canopy.


He needs to put his clothes on, don’t you think?


Thơ Langston Hughes

Luck – Langston Hughes

May Mắn

Sometimes a crumb falls
From the tables of joy,
Sometimes a bone
Is flung.

Đôi khi một mảnh thức ăn rơi
Từ bàn ăn hạnh phúc
Đôi khi một mẩu xương
Bị thải ra

To some people
Love is given
To others
Only heaven.

Với một số người
Tình yêu được dâng tặng
Đối với người khác
thiên đường độc nhất