Sunday, October 27, 2013

Harlem sidewalk garden


On Mt Morris Park West. Beautiful houses on these streets - true brownstones.  This was on my return from the woods walk the other day, just opposite Marcus Garvey Park, which used to be called Mt Morris Park. And the mount is a hill - craggy schist -  not flattened when the grid was laid flat up on Manhattan island.

I am a year older, and considerably wiser, today. The last year has encompassed a steep learning curve, in terms of publishing and what it means, and does not mean. What seemed insurmountable then (writing a book, and the logistics of having it published? Impossible!) is now simply a skill, acquired. Muscles taught to do new things. And the bar shifts higher, accordingly. Damn bar. It is never quite within reach.

What this new apartment and attendant sense of discomfort forespell for me, I think, is a renewed exploration of the world beyond my domestic walls. I have been a homebound hermit for too long, content with my little garden and the sunny apartment, wrapped in a writing and interior and roof farming world. Before that period of seclusion Vince and I roamed, actively pursuing photos for the book: Mt Loretto Park, High Rock Park, Jamaica Bay, the Rockaways, Pelham Bay Park, Inwood Hill Park, Central Park, Prospect Park, The Battery Conservancy...If there was a snowstorm, we went out into it. I was in South Africa when it snowed one January, and I asked Vince to trek out to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. The spectacular, austere photos he took that day open the first chapter of the book. If I sensed the first crocuses opening, I rushed to find them. My book's botanical clock ticked loudly, and I rushed to keep up.

Today we will walk head out - back to those North Woods of Central Park and go deeper (and perhaps find an illicit hot dog for lunch, somewhere, as I was stupid enough not to make tomato soup and sandwiches in advance).Tonight we will dine at a new neighbourhood joint, The Cecil, ten blocks south and west of us.

And tomorrow is tomorrow. In my childhood, bible-reading days, I read something about, if you take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself (ring a bell, anyone?), and those are words I have actually lived by. I am by nature a worrier, and tomorrow scares the living daylights out of me.

But I believe that Now is what matters, and what you do with it will have everything to do with how tomorrow turns out.

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