Tuesday, October 6, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It has been more than a month since I have been able to have a walk in Central Park. This shocks me. A five-minute walk gets me to the Park.

Since my last post my life has not allowed me very much time out of doors. I have walked to and from the subway train station. On days off, I have hurried to get my grocery shopping done, I have taken the bus that travels across the Park via the transverse.

I have taken subway and bus rides to various doctor and dentist appointments. The long overdue general check up from my gp (aka primary care physician in the States) has revealed that I must alter my diet to reduce my "bad" cholesterol level. My "good" cholesterol level seems to be graciously high. My dentist is now midway through an expensive fixing of a vintage filling. The replacement will be a porcelain crown. That crown will cost the same as a brief holiday. I will chew in relaxation, reflecting on this juxtaposition of economies.

Work has filled my days and also interrupted more sleep patterns than I would wish. Well, why would anyone choose to have one's sleep patterns interrupted by dreams clearly inspired by work place concerns?

Back to today.

A day off. However, this day off also required me to be up around 6 in order to attend an early managers meeting ... across the Park. I got up, had a non-egg breakfast to respond to my doctor's instructions, and then got myself over to the East Side via subway and bus.

The meeting was much the same as many other meetings.

Afterwards, I visited my nearby former workplace, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, to see the Vermeer exhibit. The Met owns quite a few Vermeers. This fall, another painting, "The Milkmaid," is on loan from the Rijksmuseum. I will surely return to see this exhibit again before the Milkmaid returns to Amsterdam. It was grand to just pop in to renew acquaintance with this lovely picture today. It took me far, far away from work concerns.

Let me now start the photographs!

It was a warm autumn day, with a bright blue sky. I walked back home through the Park, and made sure to take a leisurely stroll down the flag stoned pathways of the marvelous Shakespeare Garden.

I have written about this garden before, and shared some photographs of its springtime face. It is just as lovely during each season of the year.

There were a few other folks wandering around the Garden, and several were taking photos.

There were many more flowers still in bloom than I would have imagined.

Of course, many of the plantings had reached the seed pod stage, yet colors were still plentiful. Lots of bees were buzzing. I was wearing one of my multi-colored hand knit sweaters and for a moment thought that some of those bees were switching their buzzing targeting over to my sweater. I made a quick and discrete retreat.

Even a few roses were still in full flower. The building just visible in the background is a chalet
-styled cottage that serves as a children's puppet theatre on weekends.

I could not resist taking a photo of this pretty mother and her twin girls in the snappy red coats.

Lots of the garden had gone on to its autumn coat. Somehow, this one reminded me of a circular staircase.

There was a bit of breeze and some of the wispier plants were blowing in it.

These stems could easily inspire a drawing or even embroidery.

The area around these lavender flowers showed evidence of some trampling by animals. I do hope that those were not insensitive humans.

I just could not resist taking a picture of these remaining orange beauties, with their jade green leaves.

I am not sure whether these are buds or pods. I just liked their shapes.

You can see just how clear and blue was the sky. And how the rose hips and branches made a design to inspire silk tapestry.

And the Shakespeare Garden also has its shady ferny areas. Again, nature clearly knows how to create beautiful shapes.

Earlier this year, I took a photo of this entrance to the Garden, as spring arrived. I thought it was just as beautiful today.

I continued my walk along the western side of the Lake, and passed under the translucent canopy of a wisteria arbor. The light was beautiful, just after midday.

And then I finished by walk, and began to think of what I would have for lunch.

I knew that I had some leftover soup in the fridge.
Beautiful Central Park does not stay beautiful all by itself. There is a large group of gardeners who care for it. Some are New York City workers, and some are paid by the funding by members of the Central Park Conservancy. I love this Park so much. I am very proud to contribute to the Conservancy

The rakes leaning against the tree in the above photo just seemed so graceful a reminder to all who passed by. Why not help this Park to remain the beautiful place that we love.
My long walk really did relax me, and took my eyes and mind far away from the job place.
I hope that you all will also enjoy seeing early fall in Central Park. By the next time I visit this route, I am sure that the leaves of the trees will be turning yellow, gold, orange, red ... and brown.
Best wishes.


  1. Only you couold make a city feel so rural and beautiful as this Frances, central Park looks like a cottage garden.

    I envy you the Vermeer, well I envy yuo MOMA altogether as you well know!

    Thank you for this you have blessed me with a peaceful start to my very early day the other side of the pond!

  2. Am having an early bird moment and was delighted to see your post. You've inspired me to post about busy-ness. Almost everyone I meet is rushing about and craving moments of stillness and peace. Perhaps we should all just give each other permission to take a break and get ourselves off to our nearest patch of green. Love the fern and the turning colours.

  3. Thank you dear Frances, to share a walk through Central Park! I enjoyed it and look forward to see it when the leaves turn. Always try to get your priorities right and try to visit the park as often as you can, it's vital Frances!

  4. I felt as if I was walking with you through the park in that beautiful garden (why is it called the Shakespeare garden?), and also wish I could have seen the Vermeer exhibition. Sounds as if you are having a hard time physically; take care of yourself. Self-determined mental space is so important, though I rarely follow my own advice! Ann from UK

  5. Lovely words and pictures as always. Take time for yourself Frances.

  6. Will you turn your best pictures into a calendar, Frances? And make it available to the Purple Coo? Two or three pictures each month of Central Park showing the changing seasons. There are sites that will enable you to do this with your own photographs.
    I would willingly subscribe and it would be a lovely memento of you and your beautiful photography.

  7. Central Park really is beautiful when seen through your photographs. How fortunate you are, to be able to share such a wonderful garden without all the hard work that goes into it.

    As always, I find your post gentle and calming; not at all the post I would expect from a woman whose work allows her so little time for the pleasures in life. Do try to take a little more time off, if you can.

    Greetings from autumnal Shropshire, Friko

  8. One day I will see it for myself. Quite a lovely walk and I am so glad you go t the time off to do it!

  9. It's good to hear from you, Frances, I was wondering how you were. Sorry to read that work has caused you some sleepless nights and that the porcelain crown is costing so much (as someone else who has also blown the budget on dental appointments at different times, I sympathise). I'm delighted you've found some time to walk in the park and to share your photos with us - I do love nasturtiums, they aways look so jolly.

  10. What a lovely walk today Frances. As always, you present an unseen side of NY. One hears so much about the dangers of Central Park, but you show us its beauty.

    Yes, one could make lovely embroideries from some of your photos, wish I had the time.

  11. How lucky you New Yorkers are to have such a beautiful green space in the heart of Manhattan. I think you deserve that day off, time for yourself to recharge the batteries.

    I really enjoyed your photographs of autumn flowers.

  12. It is quite amazing to think of all that natural beauty in the midst of a big bustling city - what a lovely walk!

    Pomona x

  13. So much to look at and enjoy here, Frances. Your photographs are beautiful. But is there really 'good' and 'bad' cholesterol? I had no idea, and would hate the thought of giving up eggs, as an almost-vegetarian (mind you, that possibly helps with 'bad' cholesterol, no?).

    And just a few words from one art-lover to another. Vermeer is one of my Very Favourite Artists of All Time. Such peace and stillness in his paintings, and such esquisite timelessness. He had a very small oeuvre, I believe, so you're lucky to be living in a city with quite a few of his paintings. Love that whole period in Dutch/Flemish art.

    And re the seed heads: Do you know the work of Angie Lewin http://www.angielewin.co.uk/gallery.htm ? She is the very mistress of the seedhead rendered on paper.

    A lovely post.

  14. What a lovely gentle autumn stroll Frances. It's so lovely to see so many flowers still blooming isn't it? My garden's still quite colourful as we haven't had much frost yet.

    The picture of those umbellifer seedheads was really beautiful. Thankyou for such a lovely little trip.

  15. So lovely to see you back on line here Frances. I am astonished just how 'country' your city can be. Cpark must be a wirld away from the busy streets. And you have many more flowers out than we do.
    I do sympathise on the workplace dreams, I wish that my stresses would work on my waistline and not on my sleep pattern.
    Beautiful words and pictures thank you.

  16. Hello Frances

    I'm so envious of your visit to see the Vermeer - if I won big on the lottery I'd spend my millions on a Vermeer.

    Lovely pictures too. Sweet dreams.


  17. It's amazing how you seem so far from the madding crowd there. Lovely pictures, Frances, thank you.

  18. Branches against a sky is my favourite view. You make it a beautiful walk. j x

  19. Thanks for taking me with you.I never thought NY could be so green and peaceful.

  20. In my former working days, when I would dream about work while sleeping, I always felt that I should be paid overtime!! Hate getting crowns! And, Frances, I love all your autumn photos. Lovely!

  21. Hi Frances - Boudicca23 here from the Coo, only just stumbled on your site today! I've only been to New York once (actually I was there the week before 9/11, we left the day before the towers came down...) and I was totally smitten with Central Park. It was absolutely not how I had imagined it at all - so much bigger! And just full of all-round fabulousness. I've just taken a walk myself around Winkworth Arboretum near Godalming in Surrey in order to take photos of the trees and will be posting them shortly. Looks like we both had the weather for having a bit of a chat with nature!

  22. Wonderful photos Frances and lovely words too. I am sorry you are working so hard but it clearly doesn't blind you to the beauty of what is around you. Take care of yourself. xx

  23. Thank you for that wonderful wander through your neighbourhood Frances. You sounded so stressed in the beginning part of your post and with good reason from what you write. I hope this walk sustained you through the following week xx

  24. oh lovely post, I love the sound of your life (apart from the dentist bit!! he he!!) I think I could be enticed away from cottage pottering, to live in NY! maybe the upper west side!! he he!! cant wait to see you NY christmas photos! I bet its magical, have a lovely weekend, fliss xx

  25. New York from a different angle, never thought much about Central Park & greenery, thank you.

  26. Central Park was not as I expected it to be, we did the tourist bit and took a carriage ride and then had supper at the Tavern in the Park, the whole experience was so unexpected. I don't usually like the tourist trail but it gave me a glimpse that made me return and walk and see what I had not expected to see.

  27. It is wonderful reading you lovely post, and finding out about Central Park from someone who lives and breathes it. I have only ever seen it on T.V. , so this is wonderful! Suzie x

  28. Lovely as always.. Our blooms are all but gone now and our ferns have turned to bronze and the trees to reds, orange and golds.. Just beautiful.. And soon the snow.. My glorious snow.. I can't wait to see your city in the snow.. I bet it's beautiful!

  29. I am so glad you have a sanctuary in the big city Frances; it sounds like a very trying few weeks, and there is nothing like nature, wherever it is to be found, to momentarily take one's mind off things.

  30. Thank you, Frances, for this wonderful walk through one of the most beautiful parks in the whole wide world!

    I was enchanted by the fact that autumn crocus
    (meadow saffron? it's the same, I think) also found a place to bloom in Central Park! It grows wild in meadows here, and their appearance - usually in August - is the first sign of autumn approaching.

    So wonderful you got to visit Vermeer! I remember so fondly the great Vermeer exhibition in Washington's National Gallery, some years back: There were lines who stretched along several blocks, day after day. I got in by a lucky star.

    I do hope that your work schedule does leave you free for a few more walks through the park before autumn turns too cool to enjoy it!

    Happy Sunday wishes,

  31. Your recent trials and tribulations have certainly given you lots of food for thought, in more ways than one.

    I am sure all that dashing about to meetings and appointments has helped to convert your bad cholestrol into good. A good friend of mine has recently suffered a heart attack because she had too low cholestrol, so you see Frances, you are between a rock and a hard place on that score!

    At least you have the delights of your beautiful park and museums as solace.

  32. This makes me realise that I must have a walk in Central Park very soon indeed.
    You sound incredibly busy, but Buster and I will be up to visit you very soon.
    I saw the Vermeers at the Met on Friday.
    Very lovely indeed --though, needless to say, too many people there.
    I am greedy and want him all to myself.
    Your photos , as ever, are a great delight.

  33. Hi
    Wonderful pictures of many flowers from the central Park.It looks really
    Thanks for sharing ,
    Have a nice week,

  34. What a lovely stroll in the park.

    Re your comment on my blog - sad to say your 'crocuses' aren't Saffron so don't go picking the stamens. In fact they aren't crocuses, but Colchicums and they are very poisonous - look but definitely no touching.

    Oh I love Vermeer's Milkmaid - I saw her in Amsterdam. Those little spangles of light on the milk jug ... simply lovely.

    Best wishes

  35. I walked that walk with you Frances... And I know all about sleep patterns - how many days do I wake at 3-4am and find my head spinning with everything.

    I can't wait to come over to NY in November. And if nothing else I am going to pop into your department store and shake you by the hand and get a photo!


  36. lovely post Frances.
    I feel as if you were talking about me at first with the dentist and blood work!
    beautiful photos....

  37. So good to hear from you again Frances - it has been a while, but worth the wait to take this walk with you through your beloved CP. Lovely photos, I particularly like the rakes leaning nonchalently against the tree!

    The wonder of Vermeer's Milkmaid - I have seen her at the Rijksmuseum - a beautiul luminous painting - I can see you going back several times for further viewings!

    You sound so relaxed after your lovely long walk - nature and art really do lift the spirits!

    Jeanne x

  38. Very nice post! Love reading your text and I enjoy your NY's photos.

  39. Once again sheer heaven Frances, you not only paint beautifully but your verbal pictures are a joy to behold. That shade of green is my envy at Shakespeares garden...well at least I have the nasturtiums, the gillyflowers and am working on the rest!
    Cholesterol YUK! my GP has me on tablets for the foul thing. Have had to cut back on the eggs and as I am an egg addict....ouch!
    As ever, a glorious blog dear friend.

  40. Hi Frances:

    Sorry to hear about your tooth! I certainly know the feeling and need one of my wisdom teeth pulled very soon.

    How lovely you worked at MOMA! How terribly exciting and interesting. My husband and I went to school with a chap that is working there, I believe he is the Director of Events? What a tiny world it is we live in.

    Oh, and shall we petition Greengate together?

    And thank you for the lovely photos, it did look like a cottage garden.


  41. Another wonderful post.
    The Vermeers - I saw them as a young art student some (cough) 30 years ago on a class trip to New York. And every time I read your posts I want to make a return trip, to see Central Park, the Museums, the stores etc.
    Thank you for dropping by my blog!

  42. Another wonderful post.
    The Vermeers - I saw them as a young art student some (cough) 30 years ago on a class trip to New York. And every time I read your posts I want to make a return trip, to see Central Park, the Museums, the stores etc.
    Thank you for dropping by my blog!

  43. Oh Frances, I cannot believe I have missed this post. So glad I stopped by, gorgeous photo's of such pretty flowers.

    In these busy days of life I am so pleased you are able to unwind and take those beautiful walks in Central Park.

    Love Vermeer, and this artist is one my daughter's favourites too.

    Thank you for sharing with us dear Frances.


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