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As happy as I felt last week was as stressed as I felt this week.  Life galloped towards me in all directions.  Each day ended with me feeling knocked down and seeing stars like a cartoon character.

But, joy still arrived.  There was much goodness this week, most completely unexpected.

Saturday was the perfect example.  It was a day of color – colorful conversation, colorful joy, colorful walks.

An old friend who was going to be in town reached out to me and asked if I wanted to meet up.  I was happy I said yes.  Kathryn and I walked along the river and caught up each other on our lives since the last time we’d seen each other, which had been many years.  It was the kind of thoughtful, heartfelt conversation that makes you buzz with a joyful energy.

After our walk, we found a place for an afternoon glass of wine and a bite to eat. As we sat in the bar, my back to the doorway, Kathryn kept seeing people walk by looking like they had paint splattered all over them.  Every time I turned around, I saw nothing.  It was comical.

Fast forward to me on my way home and running into an event, where the joy was palpable.  People were throwing powders of color on each other, and they all looked like living rainbows.  Happiness was in the air, and you could feel the shimmering joyfulness from the souls on the sidewalk.

Turns out it was a festival called Holi Hai, also known as the Festival of Color.  It is a celebration of spring and friendship, and the colors represent happiness, love and the freedom to live vibrantly.

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What a beautiful thought for each day—the freedom to live vibrantly.

Holi Hai Color

Before we left each other, Kathryn asked if I’d ever been to the Conservatory Garden in Central Park.  I hadn’t, though it had been on my list of places visit for years.  When she said, “I don’t know if the tulips will still be in bloom,” I knew I needed to visit before the initial flamboyance of springtime was dialed back down to a more mature beauty.

I was not disappointed.

On seeing the first glimpse of the massive gate that stands guard to the gardens, I felt anticipation in what I was about to see.  Turning the corner took my breath away.

Conservatory Garden

My eyes saw beauty in every corner.  And, the tulips were still in bloom, happily for me.  Masses of them.

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On a normal day, this would have been enough.  But the light yet fragrantly aromatic scent of lilacs transported me away from the middle of New York City to a place far, far away.  It was like being in the middle of a bouquet of magic.

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I wandered around, smiling in awe of such unexpected beauty, and stumbled on a tree that had been carved up with sentiments from lovers who wanted a finite declaration of their passion.

I felt pulled towards an area of the tree I hadn’t yet seen.  And then I laughed.

One word stood out.

Love on a Tree-Conservatory Garden

A tree of love.  Of course it was.

After I left the garden, I took a walk to the reservoir to see if the cherry blossoms were still in bloom.  The variety with white flowers had been blooming for a few weeks, but I had yet to see the fleshy pink ones announce themselves.

They finally arrived.  Happiness.

As I walked, I discovered an area on the southern part of the reservoir that was abundant with cherry blossoms.  I never knew about it and I was enchanted.

I sat under a patch of trees, closed my eyes and breathed in.  When I opened my eyes, it was as if I’d breathed in the vibrance of the color pink.  How could you not be happy sitting among this?

Cherry Blossoms-Central Park

I sat and took it in, grateful that the stress of the week had been melted away such brilliantly beautiful hues.

I hope in the coming week you find things to color your world.  And that you find the freedom to live vibrantly.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

 

Sometimes I think I’m not tough enough to live in New York City.  Sometimes I think I’m too tender a soul for the harshness of city life, too sensitive to the constant whir of energy, too vulnerable to the neuroses so prevalent in our urban existence.

Sometimes I fantasize about packing everything up and moving to the country, where there’s quiet and space and calm.  I dream of tall grass and pastures and cows. (But, I’m not touching the cows. I am a city girl, after all.)  I imagine a simpler life.

But as I walked home from work tonight—bike messengers frantically weaving in and out of pedestrians crossing the street and impatient drivers rolling their cars into the crosswalk—I suddenly remembered my afternoon in Central Park a few days ago.  Standing on a busy street corner, I leaned in to the memory of the pockets of peace I found as I trekked down its pathways.

I’ve written about its magic before, but it surprises me every time I go.  Then I wonder why I don’t go more often.

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I feel fortunate to have this to fall back on when life gets intense.

New York is my city.  It is tough and hard edged.  It is beautiful and awe-inspiring.  It is unpredictable and stunningly reliable, all at the same time.

It is a mess and it is perfect.

Just like us.

Walking through Central Park on a beautifully clear and crisp fall day, I’d hoped to shake some of the restlessness I felt on a rare Monday off.  Walking helps me do that; it helps me clear the cobwebs of the dusty old to-do lists that clutter my mind.  It helps me work through whatever worry has wrapped its way around my thoughts.

There’s no more therapeutic place for me than Central Park.

Though I’d missed the peak of the visual symphony of autumn in the park this year, I was still charmed by its beauty.

And then I turned a corner and saw the biggest bubbles I’d ever seen in my life.  I was mesmerized.

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Since I was a child, bubbles have never ceased to make me smile.  Such a simple thing still grounds me in joy.

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And, there was the happiest little boy who was captivated by the bubble man’s magic.  He wholeheartedly embraced the joy of the moment, too.

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What joyful magic made its way into your day?

Fall has always been my sad season. The slower pace of July and August gives way to busier, more hectic days. Nature’s life cycle begins to come to an end.

I’ve always preferred the newness of spring and the heat of the summer.

This year, for some reason, I found myself charmed by the signs of autumn everywhere.  Shades of auburn dominate the trees and bushes, lending a cozy feel to the atmosphere.  The air smells of a pungent earthiness, and its chill feels welcome on my skin.

Walking through Central Park, I felt awe at all of the beauty around me.  It was as if I’d forgotten what I hadn’t liked about this time of year. I suddenly discovered a new appreciation for the season.

It felt intoxicatingly magical.

Of course, the angels are always looking out for us, no matter what the season.

Wherever you live, go outside, look around and take in the beauty around you.

Days of Beauty

Our stretch of warmer weather on the East Coast these past few days may not be technically be an “Indian Summer” – generally above 70 degrees and occurring after the first frost – but it has felt fantastic on already enjoyable holiday weekend.

Central Park was beautifully welcoming and hospitable.

No matter where you are, let the beauty of nature envelope you.

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