Thursday, November 12, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

My long-awaited vacation break began last Sunday. I am feeling more and more relaxed each day, even though I still try to fit many activities and interests into each hour. The difference, of course, is that I am selecting each of those additions to the agenda.

I have been spending hours at my work table, crocheting some birthday and Christmas gifts, returning to a long-set aside sock knitting project, and very much enjoying the annual watercolor painting of my Christmas cards. None of these can be rushed, and it is delightful to let the time melt away.

So far this week, the New York weather has continued to be mild, and has encouraged my taking lots of walks around the neighborhood and through Central Park. I have been arranging lunches with various friends. These friends of mine are loyal, even though I confess that my usual work schedule really does play havoc with the possibility of our spending much time together.

Yesterday, I headed downtown to our Chelsea gallery district, to meet a fellow artist friend. We wanted to see a few exhibits and have lunch, and get well caught up on our conversations. One of the shows that we saw featured some of David Hockney's recent Yorkshire woodland landscape paintings. I had seen some of this series last week at an uptown branch of the same gallery. I would say that visiting the paintings does tell the viewer a bit about those woods.

I convinced my friend that it would be fun to take a walk along the nearby High Line, the elevated old railroad track that has been transformed into a sort of urban nature walkway. You all might remember I first saw this space last summer in full bloom. I was curious to see how it was evolving with the new season.

We saw lots and lots of dried or drying plant life. The picture below somehow reminds me of a William Morris design.

In the background of the next photo, you can see a bit of the metal railing that reminds the walkers of the walkway's boundary. It also gives a bit of a frame to the wispy plants.

Just over the top of the railing you can see the open, cloudy, sky and the State of New Jersey across the Hudson River.

This is another westward view, and includes a graceful shrub whose name I do not know.

And, if one pivots and turns the camera Eastward, the dark geometry of city architecture presents a true contrast.

It was very breezy up there on the rails, and so we retraced our steps, climbed back down a stairway to the street level, and found a delicious little restaurant for lunch, and more conversation.
It was a lovely day to get outside, and so refreshing to the eye and the soul.
When I got home, my energy level was still great, and I returned to my work table with enthusiasm. What a grand holiday I am having!


  1. Frances, just for a moment I thought it was a William Morris fabric, then looked closely!

    I wish you a happy and relaxing vacation, you work so hard. It will be good to have time for yourself.

  2. So glad you are enjoying your well deserved vacation.
    so glad you got a chance to revisit the High Line.
    It has got a little more fall color from the last time I saw it.
    I haven't been up there for several weeks since the dog isn't allowed.......and family are staying.
    Looking forward to seeing you next week.

  3. It sounds like the perfect way to spend your vacation Frances.

  4. Sounds like a perfectly peaceful vacation to me, I do admire you being able to switch off and make time for yourself. Bracing myself for some 'city living' too, does Carcassonne count ?

  5. Enjoy your free time.

    The elevated walk sounds interesting - I saw pictures just after it opened and wondered how it would change with the seasons and ageing process. Keep us posted.

  6. You certainly have the imagination required of an artist. What a lovely walk. I'm now off to walk the dogs in the dark and in the rain. Boo hoo.

  7. How busy and active you are Frances, even in your leisure time. I just wish I had your discipline as I am so good at frittering time away.
    Isn't it amazing how nature has reclaimed your elevated walk? No wonder you enjoy a relaxing stroll along there.

  8. I am so glad you are having a grand holiday; you do so often tell us how very stressful your working life can be and I always feel that I want to tell you to put a breaks on a little.

    What a charming day you describe, as always filled with gentle activities, which give me the impression of a charming, gentle lady, almost out of another world.

    I do so hope that your holiday will remain this pleasant interlude in your busy life.

  9. It does look like a Morris design, you're right. I hope you are enjoying some time for creativity and continue to feel relaxed.

  10. Wonderful that you're having such a good time!

    I'm wondering if the unidentified bush is a sumach?

    Yes, it's unfortunate when life gets in the way of friendships. (Bah! Humbug!) I've had the same problem. Trying to correct that.

    Did I recall seeing that you were going to get together with Rose, since she's in NY?

  11. I am glad to hear you are relaxing. I'm not a big fan of Hockney; actually, to be candid, I don't rate him at all (sorry!)Did you know that when he was painting his woodland series, the trees were cut down and he had a hissy fit - I thought at the time that the proper thing to do would be to carry on painting the same scene, sans trees, but he just stopped.
    Your photos, on the other hand, are delightful. I hope you manage to retain your re-fizzed energy. :)

  12. I think Rob-bear is right it looks like a Sumach (or Rhus as we tend to call them here). The colours of its leaves in autumn are fantastic.

  13. Thank you for the photos of the highline. It's one of those places I've read about so it's great to hear about a visit. You've inspired me to plan a holiday mid-school-term so that I too can take some time to choose what happens in the day!

  14. Holiday must be nearly over now. So glad you had the opportunity to meet Rosie last week. If you could print your photograph on fabric and repeat the pattern you would end up with a wonderful fabric or wallpaper even.

  15. Beautiful photographs, Frances. Your life sounds so rich and busy. Lovely to hear you're making the most of your well-deserved holiday.

    Thank you for dropping by my astrology blog. I realised from your comment the last bit was probably overly negative (there's Saturn for you), and I didn't properly make the distinction between Sun Virgos (such as yourself) and people with Saturn in Virgo, which isn't necessarily the same thing at all. I bet you're a lovely boss. Although you're obviously extremely conscientious, you clearly care about the people you work with. Anyway, I've re-written the last bit with the different signs, so it's hopefully less negative and more helpful.

    Thank you for your feedback, though. It was really useful.


  16. I hope you enjoyed your well deserved break. Are you going to post the fruits of your labors?

  17. Sounds wonderfully restful amid such a busy city. The shrub is definatley a sumach or as we dcall it on our family a shoemacker heaven only know shy. It has glorious coloured leaves in autumn/fall with lovely chocolate velvet flowers. I hope you have a lovely rest of your vacation!

  18. I so thank each of you for your vacation wishes, and for identifying that sumach shrub!

    The time off continues to give me lots more peace of mind, and lots of time to do what I like, just when I like. Wow!


  19. as usual days late on the up take, hope you are now fully relaxed!

  20. Hello Frances,
    It seems like this year has taken on a fast pace, hard to believe it is Christmas card time again.
    Glad to hear you are having fun, and filling your days with crafts, paints, exhibitions and lunches with friends.
    A little wet and dreary here, finding a gap in the rain showers to take a walk.
    Enjoy the rest of your well earned holiday. Millyx

  21. Happy painting - it matters to have time to paint at leisure instead of snatching a 1/2 hour here and there.
    Happy holidays, and back at work days too.