Thursday, March 17, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on Saint Patrick's Day.

It's been a glorious day, mild, blue skied, and in our city a wonderful parade made its way up Fifth Avenue for hour after hour.

I made my way across Central Park from the west side a bit after noon, and wore a bit of green in the subtle shade of my trousers and scarf. It was warm enough that many parade goers had not bothered with coats or scarfs.

The local schools have a day off, and so many students are out and about.

These lovely teenagers agreed to let me take their picture. You can see that some of them were on their cells, making plans. You can can also see that marvelous blue sky.

A few minutes later, I reached Fifth Avenue and began to figure out where I'd like to stand to view the parade, on and off the Avenue. The parade begins in midtown NYC amidst all the big shops and office towers, but I've always preferred to watch the show from further uptown, along the edge of the Park.

Lots of folks do make a grand gesture in their attire on March 17. Some are more traditional, others decide to find an edge worth exploring.

Very young parade goers have been dressed by their parents. Eventually, they will find their own sense of style. It is this generational progress that also gives much to the fun of the parade.

I asked permission to take this young lad's photo. He was so adorable.

Well, I have shown you so many photos of those along the sideline sidewalks, let me show you some of the parade itself. I love the bands!

The parade's marchers are a blend of civil servants (like police officers, firefighters, and Marines and Navy folks,) school bands, and representatives who've actually traveled from across the pond.

Some folks wore outsized and dramatic hats. Others take another approach to drama.

Here's another of those marvelous banners. It usually takes at least six men to keep these banners moving along erect.

I do love the various tartan kilts. Have you all been able to see the green stripe painted down the center of Fifth Avenue?

Look, I've spotted a green tu tu.

While I was watching, I saw several wonderful fife and drum bands march past.

I also saw lots of wonderfully talented Irish dancers. Their movements were not very easy to catch in still photos.

This young lady had a green sparkly shamrock appliqued to her cheek, and her attention was definitely on the text she was sending.

Here's another festive mohawk on parade down the sidewalk.

Here's a family group gathering together on the wall at the edge of the Park.

These two children were posing for a photo by their mom, and I took advantage of the opportunity.

Some of you all know that I enjoy knitting, and so here are a trio of beautiful sweaters. Sweater one.

Sweater two.

Sweater three.

And, here is another crowd-pleasing parade participant.

I'll show you all another family group who were showing us how to wear green.

Sometimes, the crowds along the sidewalk made it tricky for me to get a photo when I wished to do so. And this resulted, this time, in this view of flags above the heads of the viewers.

Ahh, here's another view of those flags.
More headgear.
This year, I did not notice as many sidewalk vendors as in past years. This gentleman was doing quite well with his long-sleeved cotton tee shirts, proclaiming that today was the 250th St. Patrick's Day parade.

This lovely little toddler got to see her daddy march past. There was much excitement on both sides of the barricade.

About this time, some of us parade watchers were getting a bit weary.

I think that the parade still had a few hours to go.

However, I decided that I had clicked enough photos to give you all an idea of what a splendid day it had been.

And so, I began to retrace my steps and find my way across the Park. Others were already on the same route.
How wonderful it was to have these hours in the bright sunshine, enjoying music and silly hats, and cute children, and a great annual celebration.
There are so many other serious, very serious matters in our world right now, trying to claim all of our attention. I was glad to be reminded of the power of fun.

Best wishes to you all.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

In an earlier post, I mentioned a casual resolution to do a drawing every day of the then new year. We are now reaching mid-March, Spring is nearly here, and I have not done a drawing every day.

Last night, our clocks went forward an hour as we adopted Daylight Savings Time. It's 6 pm according to the re-set clock as I type and the sun is still lighting the sky. Perhaps spurred on by the sense of time rushing by, and also by the dreadful news of natural disasters in Japan, I decided to actually do some drawings this afternoon. When my mind fills with sad thoughts, I usually try to counter them somehow.

Here is one of the drawings, more of a stylized inky scribble than a drawing. I was inspired by a little kalanchoe plant, whose photo will appear later on.

Earlier today, I took a walk over to Central Park. There was a very strong wind blowing, and I was curious if I would be able to see any brave spring flowers.
I did see a few, amongst them these purple and yellow crocus.
Here's a rather limp hellebore, viewed through the parallel lines of some protective iron fencing.

I think that if you look very, very carefully at the next picture, you might just see one or two daffodil pioneers, trying to encourage the rest of their comrades to burst into bloom. With the help of a couple of warmish days, this hillside will be golden.

This next view, taken in the Shakespeare Garden just goes to show how little really is now in flower. I saw mostly dried out stems, leaves and lingering seed pods. These natural stages of the plant world are also beautiful in their spare way.

As I walked along the side of the lake, I saw this charming duck couple, trying to find a little private place for their courtship. Those trees without leaves provided a frame for the picture, but no shelter for the ducks.

I made my way home, and decided to just do some sketches of one of my potted plants. And so, I will leave you all with the subject for this afternoon's drawing session.

Please do not look too carefully at the clutter of my apartment that is apparent in the background.

I am pleased to report that after the sketching session, I continued to sit down with paper, pencil, eraser, pen and calculator and think that I have now just about finished my annual tax forms.
All in all, it's been a fine Sunday, even though I am missing that lost hour.
Best wishes to all.

Monday, March 7, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

As spring begins to its attempt to arrive in New York, I am hoping that I will have no more snow photos for you all until next winter.

Instead, I want to write about the notion of villages, of communities, that we can find visiting folks online. It's lovely to connect with someone whose blog you might have read, or someone whose comment on another blog might have interested you. Haven't we all found such connections?

Sometimes, it turns out that someone met on the web might just be someone whom you might be lucky to meet in person. I have had this luck, meeting some folks who live far away from New York, and sometimes meeting someone who lives not that far away.

Today, I had the treat of meeting Carol who writes Paris Breakfasts, encouraging all of us to travel, particularly to glorious Paris, and to enjoy the style and taste that Paris brings to mind. If any of you have not visited Carol, let me tell you that you are missing a treat.

Carol and I met up this afternoon for tea at a quaint little New York tea shop (and I know that Carol will be posting some photos.) We quickly fell into conversation, and not long thereafter, got served with scrumptious, very very large scones and delicious teas.

Once we got settled in, Carol reached into a voluminous sac and produced two delightful miniature ceramic items ... for me! Once I got home, I took out my camera and clicked some photos to show you all adventures in scale. This might be appropriate, because the tea shop is called, Alice's, and we know how scale figured quite a bit in that young lady's adventures.

The above photo shows my gift, the vintage Sainsbury's Potted Meat container, next to my even tinier lid-less teapot and cup. It's all in the proportions.

The photo above shows another play of scale, featuring Carol's gift of the little French cafe au lait bowl, next to my various espresso pots, tin tea infuser (disguised as a tea house) and a little jam jar. Carol and I both enjoy watercolor painting, and know the value of empty jam jars ... for holding the water, of course.
I am sure that many of you all have had the fun of meeting folks in person whom you've already met on line. Is it not marvelous when you quickly sense that you are going to really going to enjoy getting to know each other better?
My current resolve is to post more frequently, and after tea with Carol, to return to actually travelling the world.
Best wishes to all.