Above were just a few of the hidden paths, nooks and crannies. Central Park is 843 acres, there’re a lot of them. The set below are from just outside the park, on my way home.
It isn’t raining or gray and I’ve been so damned sedentary since I hurt my back that I needed to go for a walk this morning. Dropped Flower Child off at her art class, and headed into Central Park with my camera. A nice day for a walk–you’ll all be relieved to know I wore my sensible shoes, with support, without heels. Glad I had a hat and was wearing layers because it is windy out there. Just shy of cold when the sun goes behind a cloud. As expected, it was crowded with bikers, runners, kids, dogs, bird watchers and photographers. But one of the nice things about Central Park is how big it is, if you don’t go to the popular, touristy spots, you can still find some peace.
Except for the two runners who were stopped right where I wanted to take some photos of the newly seeded ball fields. One even treated me to the sight and sound of her blowing her nose onto the ground. You know, one finger laid across one nostril, lean forward and blow out the other one. I’m sure someone will tell me how it’s necessary, you don’t carry tissues to go running. You know what? It’s fucking gross. I’ll bet she had her cell phone tucked in somewhere, she could throw a few Kleenex into the case. By the way hon, if you’re reading, you might want to get checked for a sinus infection.
I would love to photograph the playgrounds, but they’re rarely empty, and it’s creepy to stand there and take photos of other people’s kids. I like to get shots of birds, but that rarely works out for me, I don’t have great photography skills. If you’re a longtime follower, you might know I’m obsessed with trees, especially the patterns of the root growths, and this time of year, just beginning to bud, when you can see the shapes and shadows made by the branches. Plus, I find trees to be cooperative subjects, they rarely blink or move at the moment I press the shutter. I also shoot a lot of the various bodies of water. They’re always moving, but that makes them interesting to me, even the blurs. I took a lot of pictures, I’ll probably break this up into two or three posts.
Trite as it sounds, sometimes as a parent you have to make hard decisions. Husband and I had to make one of those last week. Flower Child’s school has an annual overnight camping trip. After much discussion, asking questions about the plans for trip, student teacher ratio, and watching how she’s been doing and feeling, we felt we had to say no. It was the right decision, but it sucked to come to it anyway. I got a phone call from one of her teachers after the decision was made, one I don’t speak with regularly. He asked if there was any information he could offer to help us to feel better about the trip, etc. I absolutely believe he was coming from a good place, but it sure made that voice in my head–the one that whispers about how unfair things can be–a whole lot louder.
Yesterday I planned to go to the craft store with Flower Child so she could pick out a small pad of sketch paper. Hopefully we’re going to get to the park today so she can find a tree she likes and sketch it. The pad she had at home is too large and heavy for her to carry or manipulate in the middle of the park. She has always loved art. She loves to draw, and has been doing a lot of it recently. Since getting the iPad for schoolwork, it seems like she has enough energy and strength left at the end of the day to put more into it and enjoy it. Watching her have fun and progress with this is a particular pleasure I can’t put into words.
When we left the apartment, we saw there was a nearby street fair, first of the season for us. No reason we were in a hurry, so we walked the fair for a bit. Most of the fairs run for about 10 blocks.
Really, there’s only three blocks worth of booths. Two blocks of wares that keep repeating, and every so often something different thrown in. Still, on a nice day, and before you’ve had 5 straight weekends of traffic being messed up from them, it’s a nice thing to do. We went past a booth of inexpensive art prints, Flower Child spent some time looking at the Van Goghs (she loves his work). As I looked at the Starry Night print, I thought of how much Flower Child would enjoy being somewhere she could see the stars at night. Cuppa guilt, anyone? I splurged on a couple of arepas (delicious for about 45 seconds, after you’ve burned your mouth on the first few bits but before you’re eating cold sweet corn grease) and went on to the craft store after strolling for four blocks.
The craft store was having a sale on sketch books. Score! Got two small sketch pads and a pad of tan paper so she can figure out how to use her white pastels. Then we were just looking at the different art materials. They had Bob Ross kits. At this point, she isn’t into painting, but I was telling her about him when a man walked by and we ended up chatting about art. He turned out to be an art teacher, made a couple of recommendations for paper for Flower Child, I added a large pad of newsprint paper to our pile. Who needs groceries? I took his contact info. Nice guy, maybe we can figure out a way to get her lessons.
We were out for a little under two hours, and I was feeling great. A beautiful sunny day, relaxing, no pressure-no rush strolling, got Flower Child what she wanted plus some, a nice New York moment in the craft store. When we got to our corner, I told her we had to take the dogs out for a quick walk. “Right now? Can we rest for five minutes first?” Pop goes my bubble. She was out of energy, literally exhausted from the couple of hours out and walking around. Oh yeah, this was why the plan was to buy the sketch pad one day, and go to the park the next. And this was why saying no to the trip was the right call, much as we wish it was different.
What happens to the trees in your area? We’ll see these masses for a couple of weeks. Then it slows to an occasional one.
You’ll still be able to spot an occasional, dried out husk of a tree in February–though those are usually brought out stealthily in the early morning hours, in the hopes that no one will know who left their tree up for so long.
For now, it makes walking the dogs at night a little hairy. Between the work being done on the underground pipes and the piles of trees at the curbs, the rats are having a grand old time running around. I think they like the bits left on the trees, or maybe they snack on the pine needles. Either way, it gives me a shiver. Big Senile Dog isn’t interested in the rats, but he loves peeing on all those trees. All of them. Little Incredibly Dumb Dog is way too interested in the critters, growling and lunging. She doesn’t understand they’re tougher than she is, and I’m not at all certain BSD would get involved to save her.
I guess my biggest post holiday question is, can I eat the candy Nerd Child left behind? So many tough decisions in motherhood.
I am writing. Yet to get back into a steady rhythm, but forcing myself to write. Trying to balance everything is tricky. Oh, for a room of my own! With good light for my tired eyes. And internet access.
How is everyone else’s year starting out?
And let’s not forget, New York City fail.
Gingkos recognize that it’s fall earlier than the rest of the city trees. Their leaves turn a beautiful shade of yellow, and the female trees drop juicy seed pods all over the sidewalk. If you aren’t familiar with gingko trees, you might not recognize the why I refer to them as a fail. They stink. I didn’t know what type of tree this was until I was thirty, because they’re referred to as vomit trees. Yes, the beautiful “fruit” that drops continually from these majestic glowing leaves, splattering the sidewalks in competition with pigeon shit, smells just like vomit.
See the tourists.
See the tourists head towards the pretty trees, cameras at the ready.
See the tourists look around, turning green, inching and then running away from the smell they can’t locate the origin of.
See the New York women.
See the New York women in their fabulous new boots, legs still bare.
See the New York women hopscotch around the smashed gingko pods more carefully than they skirt a subway grate.
See the problem?
Why do we have these trees all over the city? I don’t know. I always figured whoever planned and implemented the planting of these trees was unfamiliar with this phenomenon, and now the politics of chopping down so many trees would cause too much of an uproar. Except a couple of years ago, I saw the parks department plant more of these grotesque tricks two blocks away from me. Why, NY?
Big Senile Dog is a true chow hound. Completely motivated by food, he will eat anything that is food, could be food, smells like food, etc. Several years ago he ate part of the bottom of a broken bottle on the street. Cause, yanno, it once held food. Even he won’t eat the gingko fruit.
Do you have these monstrosities in your area?
In case you’re thinking we could reap the benefits of the beauty and avoid the stench by planting the male trees, think again. The male trees can morph into female. Like clownfish. Cute little Nemo is quite the sight when he decides he doesn’t want to be Nemette’s bitch anymore, and he grows larger, turns female, and kills her.