Wednesday, September 2, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

How is it possible that this is September 2? Can the calendar be correct? Of course, the calendar is correct, and it even tells me that a full moon is just around the corner.

We are beginning to see the last days of our summer in this city.

I had an early start this morning, as I was required to attend a meeting of fellow shop managers, in one of our company's shops. It is a tiny shop in the East Village neighborhood.

My plan was to meet a friend for an early lunch after the meeting's scheduled 11:30 adjournment. If it were a weekend, we could call that brunch. Alas, the meeting ran very long, with lots of chat and questioning and answering.

By the time we did get up and out and said our goodbyes, I was very late to meet my friend a few blocks away in a cafe that we like. The cafe is the sort of relaxed spot that encourages all patrons to linger as long as they like.

Well. I arrived to find that my friend had kindly waited for me and and also had wisely already ordered lunch and almost finished it. Neither of us is a cell phone user. I was so embarrassed to be so late, so glad that she had waited.

I ordered my lunch and coffee, she ordered another cup of coffee. We got quickly into a great catch-up chat and visit. Finishing lunch, we decided to walk westward to the ... West Village, seeking out a park space where we might continue to relax and talk and talk some more.

The space where we decided to find a bench is a funny, wild little garden next to St. Luke's Church. I am sure that some devoted volunteers have been responsible, over the years, for this tranquil spot's evolution.
It is so quiet, with a curving brick pathway rambling around the space. There are perhaps ten wooden benches along the pathway, that welcome folks to either sit and read, or have a lunch, or do a crossword, or sketch some plants, or watch a baby having an afternoon nap, or just chat.

A tall brick wall surrounds this garden, so that the average passerby would not realize what a haven is near.
As we sat there, we saw lots of sparrows, and some butterflies and even some bumble bees. Getting into the rhythm of nature's beauty really does help to soothe our city-dwellers' stressful thoughts. One just gives into the gentle breeze, the dappled sunlight, the respect for the garden that every visitor shows.

Time seems to melt. No appointments need to be kept. No cell phone rings. No helicopter is heard overhead. We spotted a tree that we decided might be some sort of crab apple tree. Most of the flowering plants were clearly nearing the end of their 2009 display. Even so, they were splendid.

After some hours, we did decide to hoist ourselves from that bench, and begin to wander our way out of the garden.

This pathway near the church itself was bordered by roses still producing blooms.

Another pathway lead to the Church's school, and on another side of that path, strollers could see the back of some very beautiful village houses. It is rather unusual in this city to have such access to the back gardens of private homes.
Leaving this remarkable location was not easy; however, we did need to think about getting back uptown to our homes, and wanted to manage that journey before the afternoon commuting rush hour.
And so we did. This was such a refreshing day. I think that it will give me some beautiful little vignettes to remember in the next few days, when shop matters will again challenge my patience. It's grand to have gentle, yet strong positive images at the ready.
Those of you who live in the country may find this tribute to nature's beauty a bit silly. This city dweller thinks that an afternoon like this is priceless.
Best wishes to you all.