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.


  1. Happy BD! congratulations for the past year achievements. your log is a wonderful source of inspiration. thank you so much. and yes, you are right: tomorroww is tomorrow: I love it.

  2. Happy October birthday, Marie. My best wishes for continuing growth, adventure and achievement.

    (Me too, but a week ago)

  3. Ann Lamott quotes E. L Doctorow on writing, knowing that it is also about living: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
    I believe that is what you are telling us (and yourself) on this beautiful birthday.

  4. Happy Birthday to you. What a wonderful way to look ahead, one day at a time, with wide-eyed exploration in mind. Cheers!

  5. Happy Birthday from a fellow Scorpio.

  6. Ah! I knew it was sometime this week...happy birthday.
    Bar too high? Oh! Get one of those hydraulic -lift stools.I did!

  7. Many, many best wishes for your birthday - looking forward to many more interesting exploration posts. And remember that ... new beginnings are often described as painful endings.

  8. Happy Birthday Marie. I find that your your sensitive and acute observations and insights help pull me into my Now. Thank you.

  9. Happy Birthday, Marie. That must mean that your Ouma's Spicy Lamb Shanks are in the offing.

    Nancy Mc

  10. "Consider the lilies of the field"--how appropriate for you. It is Matthew 6:24-34. Happy Birthday!


    1. Thanks, Jessie - you've got it. I must have had the King James version:

      'Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.'

      ...and apparently I embellished it a bit in my head!

    2. You're welcome! I know it from the NRSV translation, so it sounded about the same as your version!

  11. I'm not sure of a Bible verse, but you brought to mind one of my favorite quotes - I have it hanging on my office wall:
    “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  12. Happy Birthday!!! Thank you for your thoughtful posts - you have no idea how many times you have helped make my days feel much richer. Wishing you a good year, Marie.

  13. Happy Birthday. You're already started this year off with a bang. Just keep on keeping on...

    I have no bible quotes to offer, but I am sending virtual hugs and pie.

    xo Jane

  14. Happy Birthday, Marie! And a wonderful year to come!

    Keli'i and 'Kaika

  15. all I want to say is much love & a big merci !! I am so glad I know you, your cat, your husband & your life because it makes my life better, richer, braver... Happy birthday and best of luck (although I know you don't need luck) along this new, difficult & exciting new journey/path. Much love to all xoxo Susan + gang

  16. Belated Happy Birthday.
    Your blog has made my life so much happier in the year since I started to read it. May all my enjoyment be returned to you.


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