Sunday, September 11, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

Since 2001, around this time of the year I begin to think that I will concentrate on farmers markets finally showing us naturally ripened tomatoes, following who is advancing toward championship in the U.S. Open tennis tournament, seeing how the morning and afternoon light is changing and the birthday that I will reach on September 12.

However, we New Yorkers also continue to be annually reminded by various media and our own minds of what happened ten years ago.  I'd guess that not one of us who woke up that 2001 morning to see the beauty of the blue sky will ever quite get over how our city and perhaps even the world was changed by what two air planes did to our landscape, our fellow New Yorkers, and how that devastating shock was soon amplified by violence in other places.

Yes, we do collectively try to embrace our continuing realization of our collective fragility, and to value each day.  Even so, bad and tragic memories continue to color the beauty that autumn in New York can bring.

This particular morning's blue sky quickly turned to overcast grey with the possibility of rain.  Even so, I headed over to Central Park around midday to see if I could detect any Hurricane Irene damage to that lovely landscape.   I preferred that to staying indoors and watching any of the television coverage of memorial ceremonies being held further downtown.

The opaque sky really muted all the greens and gave those of us walking or bicycling through the Park a sense of a quieter day.  Perhaps this was appropriate and a hint from nature.  (Tomorrow will give us a full moon, with all that night light might do to affect us mere mortals.)

Tomorrow will indeed be my birthday.  I find it difficult to believe that I have reached the age that I have reached.  Perhaps everyone feels this same way as years go by.  In any event, I am taking this week off from my usual workaday life, and will be enjoying playing with my creative notions, spending more time outdoors, and getting together with friends for lots of cake...most of it chocolate.

The following photo shows some brightly colored glads that were given me by my work colleagues...along with a delicious fruit tart that we shared after I'd made my wish and blown out the requisite lit candles.

I'll keep the light touch in this post going with another photo taken in Central Park today of a massing of tiny, bright yellow blooms in an embrace of gentle green leaves.  I continue to find that nature is reassuring, even after a hurricane's reminder of her power.

Our city is now under its latest security threat warning.  Since 2001, we have consistently been under a very high security threat, so it is a bit tricky to understand what ratcheting up these degrees of warnings actually means.  For myself, I continue to welcome each day, and to try to continue to go where I love to go, do what I love to do, embracing life.

Best wishes to you all.


  1. Happy birthday to you. The flowers are quite beautiful!

  2. Happy Birthday, Frances. New York looks lovely, even on a challenging day.

  3. There's something very poignant about this post, Frances. I hope your week off is everything you need it to be - part creative, part restful and a good part rejuvenating!

  4. Very many happy returns of the day dear Frances, I hope you have a lovely week doing all the things you enjoy. I'm not sure what great age you have reached, although I can perhaps hazard a rough guess, but I can say without hesitation that whatever it might be, you don't look anywhere near it. You are my glamorous artistic friend in NYC no matter how old you get :-)

    May the years that follow be the best.

    Much love Sue x

  5. Happy birthday Frances - have a wonderfully creative week. I was only thinking of you yesterday and wondering how you are; I love your gentle post and description of Central Park (somewhere I would really like to visit but don't think I ever will). I've been absent from blogland for quite a while and hope to catch up soon. Friendship in this way is so good, so re-juvinating.

  6. Dear Frances, I can only say, j'adore cette douce note que je vient de lire pour le 11 septembre.
    I do wish you a very Happy Birthday and many happy returns. And I wish you loads of chocolate cakes with friends and wonderful creative moments to celebrate your special day. With all my best wishes from Belgium.

  7. Happy Birthday! And I wish you a happy and comforting week of creating and cake with friends.

    I think your stroll around Central Park was a perfect way to spend such a day. I'm sure that big green space in the heart of your city has been a place of great solace for thousands of people over the intervening 10 years.


  8. Such a beautifully photographed and thoughtful post. I wish you a very Happy birthday and hope you have a wonderful week.

  9. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, Francis. I hope you have a wonderful week enjoying plenty of creativity, and happy times (and of course cake) with friends. Your post was so poignant, and your pictures very beautiful. It is good to seek solace in nature at sad and difficult times, and I'm glad that New York is looking so lovely. Have a happy and restful week.
    Helen x

  10. Hello Frances

    I have come to you via Needleprint (UK) from Australia.

    I would like you to know that a lot of us Aussies feel for New York and its dwellers, 10 years down the track.
    The world will never be the same after what happened. I marked the day by posting a 'candle' image on my blog and I changed my facebook profile pic to the same in honour of those souls who perished that terrible day, across the US.
    I spent the evening here watching a special TV program entitled 9/11 10 Years On. It was made using the footage shot on that day by a film maker, making a documentary about a rookie firefighter. They were out on the street when the first plane roared overhead then exploded into the first tower. He went on to film over 10 hours of footage (including being in the first tower lobby when it came down - surviving! and escaping). He filmed until he reached the fire station where it all began that day. The young rookie firie was the last guy to get back to the station - they thought he had perished. Not one of those firefighters from that station perished that day - although another 343 did.
    It was a fantastic doco that went for about 3 hours - raw footage so unimaginable. It gave me a much better understanding of how things were that morning and how fragile life is.
    There can be no healing from the events of 9/11 for those involved and affected. They can only go on trying to live each day the best way they can. My heart goes out to all of them.

    Happy Birthday to you too! - it is also my nieces birthday and her parents can certainly remember that morning (12th Sept here in Aus, 11th Sept in US) and what transpired that day.

    Best wishes to you,


  11. Best wishes to you as well Frances - hope you have a lovely birthday and enjoy that week off work.

  12. Happy Birthday Frances! Wishing you a happy peaceful week after waht has been a weekend of difficult memories.

  13. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Frances!
    Have fun playing this week!!

  14. Happy birthday from windy England! Have a lovely week off, what a precious thing - I hope you manage to get everything done that I am sure you have planned.

  15. Happy Birthday! Have a great vacation.

  16. Bonne Anniversaire chere Frances! And as it is the day today i hope you are enjoying every moment.

  17. Happy Birthday Frances, where we are in the grip of the tail end of one of your hurricanes, Irene or one of her friends or relations. All the pears are blowing off my pear tree before they have ripened, which is aggravating. Still one must be thankful for small mercies and even more thankful for bigger ones like not seeing a repetition of events ten years ago. Love your flowers and enjoy your week off.

  18. Happy birthday to you, dear Frances. I love the way gladioli make such a striking show. I look forwards to reading more about the creative fruits of your autumnal holiday. CX

  19. Happy Birthday!

    Yesterday, my 8 year old asked me what 9/11 meant. How do I explain the atrocity of that day to a child? It is something we should never have to do.

    We are experiencing the tail end of one of your hurricanes today. Very gusty but nowhere near the scale that you had. Have a good week. M x

  20. Hello Frances,

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday.!

    So lovely to hear that you have this week for plans on your crafts and to share happy moments with friends, and indeed choc cake.!

    Wonderful pictures Frances, and such pretty flowers, Gladioli's were always a favourite of my dear Mother's too.

    My love and best to you dear Frances.


  21. I wish you a very happy birthday today, Frances. Your flower photos are lovely. How is the sewing coming along?

  22. Dear Frances,

    Wish you a happy birthday tomorrow! I hope you will have a lovely and productive week.

    Lieve groet,

    Madelief x

  23. Have a wonderful birthday, Frances.

    I will join in your celebrations by having a piece of chocolate cake too!

    Have a lovely week off, filled with fun things.

  24. Frances, I have just come to this post and so glad I am in time to wish you a very happy birthday! I do like the way you chose to spend your day yesterday, and I wish you a very happy and peaceful week filled with friendship and indecent amounts of chocolate cake!
    With warmest wishes from London -
    Karen xo

  25. Happy Birthday, Frances. I hope you have a lovely, peaceful week off. I'm glad you didn't dwell on the tragedy but instead on the loveliness.

  26. Happy Birthday ,and what lovely weather we are having in this
    sweet and sour "Big Apple".
    I have found the great amount
    of memorial programs of 9-11 which
    I"attended"on 9-11-01 in person
    a bit much on out local TV sort
    of like to much turkey on Thanksgiving holiday
    and sadly this 10 years memorial of
    that horrible day is now a fight
    for viewer ratings.
    Thanks for the great full mooooon.

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  28. What a beautiful post! I also live in NYC and went to the park that day.
    Hope you are enjoying your birthday week. There is always room for chocolate.

  29. Your last sentence encapsulates for me the only possible way of life. How can you live life being aware of a constant threat of disaster. That's no life at all.

    Enjoy your birthday and every other day you are given to live here on earth to the fullest. Enjoy your very own NY and your very own Central Park and let us share in the delights you uncover.

    Happy (belated) Birthday, dear Frances.
    An who's counting.

  30. I hope I am not too late to send you birthday greetings and best wishes for your future life now that you have reached your questionable age! I am guessing that this may be a milestone birthday and one which I am rapidly approaching too.

    I wish you sunshine and flowers and may all your birthday wishes come true. x

  31. Happy belated Birthday Frances. Have a lovely holiday.
    Isabelle x

  32. Happy Birthday a little late! If I were living in NYC I would live along Central Park too. My husband and I were just there in June and fell in love with it all. What a blessing to be there.

  33. Happy birthday Frances, and my thoughts have been with you all, lovely to see nature surviving the storms, stay safe and so glad you are embracing each new day, Posie xx

  34. I hope you had a lovely birthday!
    I am so glad to hear that the hurricane was not as strong as was expected...and that you got some time off too. Thank you for showing us the beauty of the City and I hope that the warnings aren't too stressful...

  35. Good morning Frances - I have just found your blog!

    I have always wanted to visit New York but as yet have not had the opportunity so it was fascinating to see your photos.

    It must be lovely at this time of the year as we move on into autumn to take a stroll around Central Park...

    I look forward to checking in againg with you soon!

    with love from the UK, Helenxx

  36. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Frances! I enjoy seeing the bit of country in the city that Central Park offers.

  37. Dear Frances,

    A very belated but most heartfelt happy birthday greeting from France. I wish you much joy and love for the next year in your beautiful city.

    Enjoy the chocolate cake!

    Beautifully written post about the fragility of life and the importance of living each and every day with one's eyes open and with gratitude.


  38. You had an excellent week of relaxation and fun, for sure. Reading a couple of mysteries – that is also my way to relax. I saw the CafĂ© Lalo last year when we were in NYC but did not go inside – a big mistake I see. A couple of years ago I bought a bedspread make of a multitude of these yoyo things, all different colors. I still need to sew a back for it. I was thinking about making a small cushion top of yo yos using my husband’s discarded ties – now I’ll know where to get the pattern, thank you.
    Your cups are very pretty – how many different ones do you have?