Monday, 4 May 2015

April: Say it with flowers

 Late April and the city is like a young person in love...

From Top: Bradford Pear (more lower down), Star Magnolia, Dawn Viburnum (so fragrant), Narcissus, and Eastern Redbud.

Late April and the city is like a young person in love, saying it with flowers. No matter where you are– in Central Park looking towards the matchstick skyscraper rising, in Midtown jostling with the pavement crowds, or with your back to the river–there are flowers everywhere. The light is reddish gold and the birds are singing. In the window of the apartment on the opposite side, the fat white cat is smiling at a sunbeam.

People have been in love in far less favorable climes.


I looked into his eyes and I knew it then. It was so sudden, but I was sure. So I took him home.

The man pauses and puffs at his cigarette. The traffic inches on. The dogs are busy getting to know each other. For a few seconds the conversation turns to the dogs ‘she is very affectionate, though at first comes off as standoffish’ and ‘he’s adorable, especially when he wakes up in the morning’. Then the lights turn green. The humans nod their goodbyes.

Gripping the leash firmly he and his love at first sight totter away on this fine, fine Spring day.

Cheer, cheer, cheer (sharp, quick)
Birdie, Birdie, Birdie, Birdie (stretched)

Even amidst the noise that returns with Spring (calm silence of winter, where art thou?), the song is unmistakable. Stopping and scanning the barely unfurled leaves above, I spot him: a male Northern Cardinal in his splendid red coat. On this narrow stretch of greenery, disregarding the fast-rising towers on both side and the gawking humans marching in single-file, he is calling out to his mate– do birds fall in love? Of course, science has no answer.

"True love will find you in the end
This is a promise with a catch
Only if you're looking can it find you
'Cause true love is searching too
But how can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light?"

– Daniel Johnston, "True Love Will Find You in the End"
She said she’ll wait for him forever. He was with someone else, probably with a couple of them. You know what it’s like in college. But she told him she’d wait for as long as it took. Till then she had art. All very dramatic. But gosh! The art was so bloody good. I mean there was real potential but…

So what happened?

Oh! She waited for 6 long years. They are together, I suppose married by now…happily and all that. But man, it’s like the well of art has dried up. I don’t think she’s put pencil on paper for the past year or more. Nothing. Man, what a tragedy! A real tragedy!


The magnolia tree, over laden with flowers (it would take forever to count them all) murmurs something to the breeze. But I don’t quite catch the words. Small, essential things getting lost in translation.              
He KISSED her!

No, he didn’t kiss kiss her. It was more like a peck. A very small one. He said so.

Both boys walk with the confidence that comes naturally to 9-10 year olds. A slight rustle from above makes me look up and I spot a juvenile mourning dove, framed by cherry blossoms, eavesdropping.

“As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.”
Anne Sexton
So you were practically childhood sweethearts!

They are smiling, but their expression says they’ve just been stuck by that idea too. 

Two people sitting at the next table (discussing their Tinder dates…shush don’t tell) suddenly turn and look back, as if somebody has woken them up from a bad dream.

The brunching set is settling down; glasses are clinking and small talk is buzzing. White petals are falling down by the fistfuls, even as new buds are opening.

The 'Bradford' Pear, one of NYC's common street trees, that everybody loves (flowers, flowers, flowers everywhere), and hates (smell of the flowers, invasive etc).

The serviceberry flowers are laughing in the sunshine. You have to listen very hard.

Late April and the city is like a young person in love…or at least one pretending to be. But then, as far as pretenses go, being in love, or even thinking of being in love isn’t all that bad, is it? 

“Let us again pretend that life is a solid substance, shaped like a globe, which we turn about in our fingers. Let us pretend that we can make out a plain and logical story, so that when one matter is despatched—love for instance—we go on, in an orderly manner, to the next. ” 
 Virginia Woolf, The Waves

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