Lilac Time

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 2.48.39 PMI should just set up a tent and move into the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Do you think they’d let me? I can’t really see why they shouldn’t. It’s gotten to where I need a fix at least every couple weeks, and if I can’t get it, I get real cranky. This is what happened yesterday. I’ve been waiting for the cherry trees to blossom, following the Garden’s CherryWatch Blossom Status map, which updates every few days to show how far along the blossoms are (that’s a screen capture at left). For days, the trees were in pre-bloom, then first bloom, and then, suddenly PEAK BLOOM, which means GETOUTTAMYWAY, PEOPLE. Because, you know, I have to see the blossoms NOW because they make me feel happy and loving and peaceful. Which, in fact, they do. And they did, even on a foggy day like yesterday. Oh, did I mention the lilacs? Holy garden of Eden, I wish I could do this post as a scratch and sniff, because the perfume of the largest grove of the largest lilac bushes you’ve ever seen is simply to die for. Enough talking. Time for pictures (oddly enough, I didn’t get a lot of cherry pictures this time, but this is also a great time of year for the afore-mentioned lilacs, as well as tulips, birds, and assorted humans). Click on any image to view as slideshow.

I Found My Thrill On Daffodil Hill

I’ve lived in New York a long time. A LONG time. I’ve been in an urban environment pretty much my entire adult life, and there are times, let me tell you, there are times. . .

Thankfully, I have the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for getting away from it all. The BBG has become my happy place, and will remain as such, I’m sure, as long as I live in Brooklyn. I’m glad to report that things aren’t entirely out of whack, seasonally-speaking — only somewhat. A few cherry trees are in bloom, but most just hint at the glory to come. The lilacs and roses are nowhere to be seen, which is good; it’s March, after all. But the daffodils, yes, the daffodils are doing exactly just what they’re meant to do. The magnolias are magnificent; the white star magnolia gave off the most delicious, delicate, spicy scent. Aaahhh! There are camellias and primroses and periwinkles. The bark of a crape-myrtle. Turtles and ducks making the most of an unseasonably peaceful day. I heard a bird call and looked up, up, waaay up to see a spot of vivid orange against the branches and clear blue.

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Winter Garden

Dust of Snow
 – Robert Frost
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

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The birthday present I gave myself today was simply a trip to my beloved Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The need to spend more time gets stronger and stronger. This afternoon’s visit lifted my spirit on this January day.

Taking A Second Look. . . Up!

Every other Tuesday is #LetsBlogOff day, when participating bloggers write posts on the same pre-determined subject. Today’s topic: “Taking a Second Look.” Feel free to join in, by the way: it’s all explained here: http://www.letsblogoff.com.

The thing about New York is that you have to remember to look up from time to time. Everybody knows this, but still we tend to look straight ahead or slightly down, so determined are we to cut a path, to stake a claim — to a swath of sidewalk, to our place in the world. In a city so stuffed with distractions, you have to narrow your focus or you’ll never get anywhere. But looking up is essential, for that’s where the gargoyles are, the Art Deco details, the inexplicable romance of the water towers. Up is where the clouds are, where the stars are, and where our heads should be at least some of the time.

I’ve lived in my current home for nine years now, and estimate that I’ve walked by one particular nearby building about 1000 times (a rough guess, but it’ll do). Here’s a reasonable approximation of how I normally see this building when I’m rushing from here to there or back again:

The other night my romantic husband sat me down on a bench across the street from that building for no good reason other than that he wanted to extend the nice evening that was ending what for him had been a stressful day, and just sit, together, in the night. I’ve passed this bench about as many times as that building. Sitting there, for the first time, I saw everything from a slightly different perspective. The bike rack, the Thai restaurant, my romantic husband. Looking up, I saw something I’d never seen at all before: the charmingly-angled second floor facade of an otherwise nondescript building.

And so I saw the charmingly angled building. So what? It’s hardly architecturally significant; at most I suppose it qualifies as cute. And yet it tickles my fancy. And for some unanswerable, ephemeral reason — maybe for no reason, really — my life seemed the smallest bit better for sitting on that bench with my romantic husband, drawing out the evening just a little longer, looking at the shiny moon, feeling the air while I wasn’t moving through it. Better for the act of noticing, and for the things I noticed.

There’s so much to see when you look up. . .

**Sigh**

At Lookout Point


At Lookout Point
The seagulls arrive
For the early bird special.
Catch of the Day: starfish.
I wonder how a seagull
Filets its fish,
But none of them will let me see;
I get too close and they skitter away,
Much like I do from you
When I’m not sure there’s
Enough of me to go around.
I look up and see a gull,
Neck exposed,
Swallow a starfish whole.

Later we eat at that place in Queens
The one we’ve been driving by for years.
“Ali Baba!” we cry
Every time we pass,
And say we should go there,
Knowing we never will.
Until, well, here we are,
Early enough for the special.
It’s better than we’d imagined,
And also worse
And there’s plenty to choose from.
All we have to do is figure out what we want,
And make our wishes known.

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