Thursday, September 30, 2010

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

On this windy evening, we New Yorkers are awaiting the next round of rain and wind that will spatter us with vertical or perhaps diagonal or horizontal rain, and wind that might do more damage to old trees around town. In various parts of our city there may be what the weather forecasters call local flooding.

It seems to me that this September has been experiencing windy weather that might actually have made time move more quickly. It was weeks ago that I took the following photo of a couple attempting to cross Fifth Avenue between the traffic lights of 56th and 57th Streets. I liked the billowing of the lady's coat and marveled at the height of her stilettos. Without the willing arm of the gentleman, she would have fallen.

Ahhh, to have the willing arm of a gentleman to guide one though turbulence.

Since my last post, I have had another birthday, and this has let me now qualify for various senior citizen benefits. So far, I have not had the time to do much research to find out what procedures might be needed to actually acquire these benefits.

I am grateful to be healthy and still able to carry on in my career. This career does have a connection to the fashion industry. Although I still do cling to the notion that I might be a painter, even an artist, I admit that the evidence of this is thin on the ground this year. I keep hoping to gather more time to my own interests, rather than following my inbred work ethic that seems to encourage me to devote my hours to the causes of others. Well. I do get a pay check, and so must not moan too much here.

Last week, friends whom I first met in the 1970's when we all worked at the marvelous, wonderful Metropolitan Museum, and I got together for a lunch. Is it not marvelous to stay in touch with folks who remember who you were decades ago? These folks and I do meet every now and then and always laugh and talk and talk and talk. And again, we never quite have enough time to catch up.

Back to fashion. After that lunch, I sped downtown to the Fashion Institute of Technology's Museum to take a look at the current exhibit there. It is full of marvelous, inventive contemporary Japanese fashion. This school has trained many of our top designers, and its museum stages delights, one after the other.

And, as September raced ahead, I fell back into the routine of work, sleep, errands, meal preparation and dining. Repeat. Repeat.

This disconcerting treadmill view of days passing got a bit of a check when I finally found time to take a walk over to Central Park to see how the end of summer might be treating my favorite place, the Shakespeare Garden.

I have shown you all this area in various seasons, and so perhaps you'll enjoy seeing it at the end of September. I love the bikes propped up against the rustic fence at the western entrance to the Garden.

Most of the summer flowers had turned to seed pods, so I let my camera turn to various foliage that showed beautiful contrasts in color and shapes.

This garden is on a gentle incline, and its gardeners always allow it to go a bit wild. I love the mixture that results.

Something that always impresses me about this part of the Park is the quiet. Another encouraging bit is that the visitors do seem to treat the entire area with the respect that these wonderful plants deserve.

My recent walk had an unexpected reward, as I found about six butterflies in complex flight and landing patterns around a particular bunch of flowers that matched the orangy tones of the butterflies' wings. I was stopped in my tracks for quite a while as I enjoyed watching this aerial ballet. I hope that you will enjoy this single photo that I was able to take, catching a beauty in a quick still moment.

The Shakespeare Garden has many roses, and a few were still having a glorious final act last week.
There is something about this part of Central Park that always welcomes anyone who lingers for a while. No matter what pressures might be facing us in our day to day existence, it is very encouraging to see that even in a huge city, nature can thrive and teach us much.
Although I was not able to take any photographs, I was also able to stop in my tracks last week and have a long, long gaze at the full moon, as I returned home from work.
And then, another treat occurred when my workmates and I treated ourselves to an evening yacht ride around the New York harbor. The sky was overcast as we set sail, but just as we passed under the Brooklyn Bridge, on our return back to the Chelsea pier from which we'd set off, the clouds parted and the almost-still-full moon showed its cinnamon golden face. We applauded it, and then the clouds again drew their veil..
I fervently hope that October might have a different pace, and that each day might have something remarkable to report.
Best wishes to you all.


  1. What a wonderful photo of the couple crossing the street. It has something of a 1960's 'Life' air to it - gorgeous!
    A belated Happy Birthday to you, Frances. Your attitude and style make me think of Steinam's famous words, which in your case would be - this is what a FABULOUS senior looks like!

  2. The photos of the Shakespeare garden are lovely, but so is your description of all of your adventures. I am new here but have now become a follower and am looking forward to the next post.

  3. The pictures and travelogue are as delightful as ever, Frances.

    Happy birthday, again. Like you, I'm now eligible to collect benefits available to seniors. Like full pensions (even though they are quite small).

    Intriguing to be able to get together with friends from the 1970s. That you've stayed in contact over the years is wonderful.

  4. Frances, you are a painter and an artist - you just don't earn your living that way.
    You are also an excellent writer and this post is one of your best. It captured perfectly some of the NY I remembered from last year - although a little later.
    My friend Peg is making another trip to New York at the end of October, this time in the company of another member of our drama group. I shall recommend your blog as a guide book.
    Happy belated birthday. And there still is a lot of fun to be had over 65 believe me!

  5. Happy Birthday and thank you for the walk around Central Park- I almost felt I was there (I went there for a birthday treat 13 years ago!).

    I love your photo of the couple blown by the wind - it would make a wonderful film poster - or book jacket, the next Anita Shreve maybe?


  6. Another lovely and evocative dispatch from NY. I also loved the picture of the couple crossing the street, and the pictures of the Shakespeare garden. And how fortunate to have a yacht ride round the harbour - so beautifully described.


  7. Belated Bonne anniversaire dear Frances.
    Was that a Monarch Butterfly I saw in the photo? I never tire of your strolls through Central park, and marvel at how different it is every time.

  8. Lovely post Frances, sounds lovely sailing off around the harbour. I adored the ladies stilettos, she looked so elegant, stilettos are such a non no on the farm, I do miss that part of my old city life. Such character in the old gnarled fence, and a stunning butterfly, what huge wings it has.
    Best wishes,

  9. Ah, what a pleasant and soothing blog post to read, a little bit of your wonderful city floating into my studio and even a butterfly! Warm wishes from across the Big Pond.

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  11. Happy Birthday. Always good to catch up with your news from NY. Your photo of the windswept couple is delightful.

  12. What a lovely blog, so perfectly paced and beautifully illustrated with your photos. I agree with rose, you are an artist!

  13. What a beautiful post; you've made me yearn to return to your fabulous city. Gosh, that yacht trip sounds extraodinary... and something else to go back for. Are those Louboutin heels in the photo?

    As for becoming an artist - you are an artist; your artistic eye is there in every glimpse, every photo and every word. A lovely end to a fraught day. Cx

  14. What a wonderful post Frances, I so loved the picture you captured of the couple you photographed crossing Fifth Avenue, so too the photo's of the Shakespeare Garden.

    Wondering too if that pretty orange butterfly is a Monarch? it so resembles the butterfly I saw here in Norfolk in late summer.

    So lovely to be in touch still with your wonderful pals from the 70's. Thank you for sharing with us a glimpse into your adventures in that marvelous city of NY Frances.


  15. I love that photo too, Frances. But it is the woman, I think, who has her feet on the ground, while the man is up in the air. Or anyway that's what it looks like. Wishing you every health and happiness in this new phase of life, which in reality is a return to youth and an opportunity to be less selfless and more selfish. Wear purple if you want and don't volunteer for anything unless it be to help persons with full skirts to cross a windy road or people on the far side of an ocean to understand the beauties of the Shakespeare garden.

  16. Happy birthday and thank yo as ever for a peak into yor life on the other side of the pond.

  17. Happy birthday, Frances! And what a lovely, reflective post. I had no idea the Shakespeare Garden existed the last time I had an opportunity to walk in Central Park (admittedly, several years ago!). How amazing to think of the quiet you describe there, and those beautiful scenes, in the middle of hectic New York City. Thanks for the visit, and look forward to future posts ...

  18. Frances, you ARE an artist, this much is evident in the fact that you are able to take such wonderful photographs, you certainly have an artist's eye for 'catching the moment'. The pic of the couple crossing the street is just delightful. I also love the photographs of the park, it's my dream to see it all for real.

    Belated Birthday Wishes! xx

  19. I am sending you belated birthday wishes, your yacht ride sounds very enviable, a birthday treat maybe?

    I am hoping that your trees survive the storms, we do so need our trees!

    I have been moon struck also, clear skies gave us glimpses of the full moon, strange to think that you saw the same sight.

  20. Another day in the life of Frances, or rather a picture of many days all rolled into one.
    I too love the shot of the couple crossing the road, it is a work of art.

    Your life may be routine, routine, routine, but you appear to get so much enjoyment out of the everyday things that your life seems very rich to me.

    Mine is no different, we simply must make sure that what there is is enjoyable and that we grab every pleasure on offer with both hands.

  21. lovely photos...
    I must go too to the FIT exhibit soon! Thanks for the reminder.
    The very high heels dans la rue are Louboutin and not meant for walking IMHO
    Well the New York rains are continuing into October...
    Someone out there thinks it is March! Hello?

  22. We have also had a lot of rain the last week over here in London. Not really so surprising.
    I enjoyed your pictures from the Shakespear garden. When I was last in NYC my husband and I went for walk through the gardens.
    Happy belated Birthday!
    All the best.

  23. How fortunate you are to live in the most exciting and beautiful city in the world.

    My mother was a New Yorker. Me, a southerner, but how I love New York.

    What a wonderful blog you have created.

  24. Lovely blog Frances.
    You are an artist, just as I am a writer. We just don't get paid for it yet!

    Congratulations on your birthday.

    My hubby and I were only talking about NY over the weekend - he might try the NY Marathon again next year and this time, I may be well enough to accompany him!
    It was disappointing to have to cancel our planned trip earlier in the year. But it's something to aim for in 2011.

    We WILL MEET, one of these days

  25. I've missed your posts.. They truly are good for the soul..

    Happy, happy birthday - belated.

  26. Hello Frances,

    A big and belated Happy Birthday to you. I am new here, and want to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. You are a very gifted writer and artist. The photo of the couple captures so very much.

  27. Greetings, from Oxford, UK. I so much enjoy your pictures of New York and especially of Central Park - I've never been to the States (don't like flying!) and it's quite an eye-opener to see the poetic side of New York.

    I retired a few years ago, and though I have much less money than when working, thank God I don't have to heave up and be dressed and commuted by 9.30 am, or even - horror! - 9 am! I expect starting time is often even earlier in the USA, and I think you have much less holiday time than in Europe.

    I do hope one day you have more time to do your lovely craftwork and painting.

  28. Frances,
    Thank you!!! and Happy Birthday! (I know.... very late)...
    I can't believe I didn't see this post!
    All, I can say is by the picture, there aren't a whole lot of Japanese girls that dress like that. BUT there are a few including the girlie phenomenon and girls who dress like they are from "the hood" etc.
    There are lots of students here in Japan that are studying fashion and want to be designers.

    I'm interested to know your thoughts on the different types of fashion there is here...maybe we could do a colaboration-post?!