Tag Archives: Birds

Lovely Day

3 Apr

Have you ever walked through Central Park on April 2?

No?  Well, let me tell you something, you should.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait right here while you mark it on your calendar for next year.  And if you’re coming in from out of town, you’ll want to be here by the evening before, no fooling, because you’ll need to be in the park before 8am, in order to avoid the herds of tourists.

Because the most important aspect of being in Central Park on April 2 is the ability to find a pocket of the park where you are completely alone.  Just you and nature and the city.  It’s a powerful, emotional moment, especially if you let the sonic wall that is the park’s birds in full song wash over you.

A secondary consideration to make, if you are planning a trip to be in Central Park on April 2, is that it should have rained the night before, so that there is fog and mist everywhere (this might require a degree of flexibility in travel plans).  It’s also another reason why you have to get up early, so that it hasn’t all burnt away yet.  Because, I now feel strongly that there are two times when New York City is at it’s loveliest: in the middle of a snowstorm (c.f. March Snow), and on a misty Spring morning.

Central Park not your thing? How about Bermuda? Click here for some island breezes.

Snow Birds

11 Jan

For a minute there, I almost believed that winter had forgotten about us up here.

Isaacs lavendar yesterday.

Isaac's lavender yesterday.

Isaacs Lavendar Today

Isaac's lavender today

I was watching the status updates on facebook of my friends down in the city: Playing in the snow in Brooklyn! Cozy inside watching the snow fall.  Snowball fight!

And we were up here, in the great snowy north, with no new snow.  It was mystifying.

And then, as soon as I dared to mention something to Isaac, oh?  What’s that?  A flake.  Followed by another and another.  By the time we got home from the grocery store, it was snowing in earnest.

Click here for more Snow Birds.

The Sounds Of Summer

10 Jul

With apologies to Simon & Garfunkel, at this time of year, darkness is my old friend.

Bird On A Wire

By the time I’m wrapping up my day at work, the building has shut off the a/c and I’ve been sitting at my desk, sweating from both effort and atmospherics, for on some days, over two hours. Leaving the sweltering confines of my cubicle and stepping out onto the half-lit, hurly-burly of lower Fifth Avenue feels refreshing.

Fly On A Fern

And by the time I step onto the by-comparison-silent sidewalks of Bay Ridge, the sun is nothing more than a spectacular neon bruise over Staten Island, bent into gaudy fractals by the evening’s weather pattern stomping across the harbor.

At The Top of Touch-Me-Not Mountain

The darkness makes it feel cooler, but it’s the sounds of the city settling into stillness that help erase the day’s woes. Let’s be honest, there are no sounds of silence anywhere in New York City. But stillness? Yes, stillness is something we can do. Stillness has a sound; many little noises melting into a gentle swell of quietness. Cats mewling for dinner, dogs yapping at planes, the Yankees game on my neighbor’s radio while she grills steaks for dinner, birds wishing each other good night, an easing of traffic, teenagers strolling hand-in-hand whispering as they head for home.

Dandelion

I’ve grown used to these noises and find them soothing. So it was a shock to arrive at our friends’ house in the Catskills on July 4th to the cacophony of the country; the rustlings and bustlings of animals settling in for the night, the whizzes and whistles of birds catching dinner, the humming and droning of mosquitoes, children giggling and screeching while chasing fireflies, dogs gossiping about the day’s events, thunder echoing off valley walls and finally, just past sundown, fireworks popping and booming in patriotic celebration of the day.

Shadows, Light

And what a revelation the morning was! What lies in a bird’s heart that makes it sing with such gusto and glee first thing in the morning? Is it the joy of seeing another sunrise? Happiness at being surrounded by so much greenery? The self realization that the ability to fly is a rare gift? It’s easy to be annoyed with birds in the summer, especially when one has gone to bed too late, full of the world’s most delicious barbecued pork ribs (seriously, better than any of the one’s I’ve ever managed to get here) and possibly one glass too many of rosé.  But one should never be annoyed with birds.

Ferns

What was in reality little more than 40 hours in the country felt like days and days by the time Isaac and I packed up and headed out for a hike on our way home. We were relaxed and well fed and ready to face another week of daunting proportions.

Sun

We arrived home just as Brooklyn was settling in for the evening. I walked to the back of the apartment, opened the fire escape window and reached out into the stillness to pluck two tomatoes off my plant. They were small, but perfectly ripe. I also pinched-off two wee crowns of basil.

Yay! \'Maters!

And then we stood next to the sink, half a tomato each held in our hands, and ate them with a dusting of sea salt and a few tiny leaves of basil, in silence.

Head below the jump for the recipe for Mint & Arugula Pesto.

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