Nature- Heartfelt tales

First snow: The street scene

Little gems falling from above, the season’s first snow blankets the streets of New York. ~ Hints Of Life

First Snow_New YorkIt all began in the late afternoon, the magic of winter. My heart ‘snow’ happy as we got the first snow of the season in New York City. It was a whirlwind of flurries like moths in a hurry. Soon it turned into flakes like someone was grating the sky.

Blissfully I stepped out to enjoy the first scenes of snow in my neighborhood. The soft snow gently kissed my face, making my soul, my spirit come alive. Walking, exploring, enjoying the gift of nature and living in the moment.
First Snow_New York_
It was a surreal view. Daisy, the neighbor’s poodle, out enjoying the magical first snow. Commuters rushing to their next destination. The buzz of cars, buses and pedestrians.
 
As I absorbed the scene, a beautiful lamppost caught my attention. A grand, ornamental lamppost glistening in the snowfall. I looked up at the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight, shining in my eyes.
 
The tree lines were covered in a thick coating of snow, creating a beautiful winter vista. A yellow maple tree looked majestic, cotton balls draping its branches.

First Snow_New York Streets..Two chairs dressed in snow from head to toe. Their owner likely to return at first dawn when the sun would break through the clouds and the day again come alive. I stood there idealizing, weaving a story in my mind.First Snow_New York StreetsBringing in an early night, the snowflakes turned into a gusty icy slush descending horizontally in a blur. To me it all seemed a part of the universe’s plan, dark thickening outside, as winter comes on us in layers and layers. 

Signing off with best winter wishes!
 
 
Inspiration:
 
Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton 
 
The Dead, James Joyce 
 
 
 
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Nature- Heartfelt tales

Fall gush

Today, sit yourself on a park bench and watch the fall colors turn into ethereal golds, reds, yellows and orange. ~ Hints Of Life

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Fall colors at Bow Bridge, Central Park

It’s Sunday evening, the first evening after the daylight saving hour ends. As my mind and body adjust to the change in time, my soul is reminiscing the beautiful fall weekend I enjoyed with my husband. The bounty of gold, red, yellow and orange trees I woke up to on Saturday morning. Smitten by the fall colors I sat on a black walnut wooden chair by the oversized bohemian windows in my living room sipping my morning chai (Indian tea).

As the day progressed I could not endure the thought of losing on the precious fall sunshine. So, I spent almost all of the daylight hours outside and most part at Central Park. Walking up Broadway in the early afternoon sunshine I entered the Park from 68th street and Central Park West. As I now recollect the initial few minutes in the Park, I remember being engulfed with excitement and thrill whilst the weekend crowd. The fall colors were magnificent… at last !

“Notice that Autumn is more the season of soul than of nature.~ Friedrich Nietzsche”

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Fall wedding at Strawberry Field, Central Park

“As autumn leaves turn their brilliant hue, two in love will say I do.” And so was the scene at the Park’s Strawberry Field. A newly wed couple posed for stunning fall foliage pictures along with a Flower Girl and Bridesmaids. As they stood under the golden yellow fall Foliage it felt like a scene straight out of a movie. Magical!

The larger than life tree that became the backdrop of the Bride and Grooms most memorable day is the Green Ash tree. The tree can turn a variety of colors each fall, from purple to orange to golden yellow. They are popular urban trees that are at risk of going extinct because of the invasive, imported emerald ash borer beetle. The green ash is a good tree to appreciate in all seasons. In addition, ash trees represent the Tree of Life in mythology. (Source: Centralparknyc.org)

“I hope I can be the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.~ Dodinsky”

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Fall colors at The Ramble, Central Park

Walking forward towards The Lake, I was engulfed with a stunning view of The Ramble to the South from where I stood near the water. The large Tupelo trees appeared in various shades of red, yellow and purple. Other towering trees glowing in their fall yellows, deep oranges and fiery reds include red oak, sweet gum, pink oak, sassafras, and more. Adding to the view were the couples enjoying the remarkable fall colors from their canoes in The Lake.

A little to my right I saw the famous Bow Bridge gloriously decorated in the fall bonanza. The bridge located mid-park at 74th Street, west of Bethesda Terrace, spans 60 feet with a walkway. On Saturday, it was packed with tourists who had come to capture the best of fall colors in New York City.

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Red Maple tree glistening under the setting sun, Central Park

One of my most cherished moment at the Park was the view of this Red Maple tree shining in the glory of the setting sun. Instinctively, I pressed the stutter of my camera to capture nature’s blessing. As moments like these are often short-lived.

The red maple trees are spread throughout Central Park. And at this time of the year they are blazing forth in a fiery spectacle all over the Park. Once the leaves drop, in late winter, it takes on a pinky glow as flower buds tint its branches.

Bidding my farewell for the day I went home with great fall memories for the fourth consecutive year in the City. It was a day well spent with my bae. 🙂

Listing below some of the best spots to spot fall foliage in Central Park:
~ North Woods, where a rustic lake provides the perfect backdrop for fall colors
~ Conservatory Garden with its incredible chrysanthemum display
~ The Pool, where you’ll also spot wildlife (turtles, fish, and birds) and a waterfall
~ North Meadow and the Reservoir, where two types of cherry trees turn vivid colors
~ The Ramble, perhaps the most iconic foliage spot
~ The Mall and its collection of American Elms, one of the largest in North America
~ Hallett Nature Sanctuary and Pond, a peaceful haven with several scenic overlooks  (Source: centralparknyc.org)

Do share your fall experiences with me in the comment box below.

Signing off with best wishes to all!

Links to my previous blog posts:

https://wordpress.com/posts/hintsoflifesite.wordpress.com

https://wordpress.com/posts/hintsoflifesite.wordpress.com

https://wordpress.com/posts/hintsoflifesite.wordpress.com

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Nature- Heartfelt tales

Fall views’ Canadian Geese

Crisp breeze, sun on my back, clear blue sky and a gabble of foraging geese. It’s a familiar feeling, the feeling of fall. ~ Hints Of Life

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Gaggle of geese foraging on grass at the banks of Hudson River, NY

The view regal, the feeling too familiar, the scene revisited, the love for fall ever so fresh and crisp. Fall truly is nature’s last loveliest smile before a marathon of early night falls and grey sky’s. In the city, as I wait for the leaves to turn golden (full bloom) a surprise awaited me at the Riverside Park South.

A couple of weekends, on my run along the Riverside Park South a flock of marvelous Canadian geese caught my attention. It was a simple yet powerful scene. Often found in large flocks on a variety of water bodies, I spotted the beautiful bird species foraging on grass, and seeds by the Hudson River. A gaggle of ten adult geese went on with their day as I watched them from a short distance, sitting on the grass practicing the pranayama asanas.

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As I click the shutter capturing the long black neck and white cheek patch

A clear scene as depicted in the pictures shows them flipping wings, plucking feathers from their breast, and foraging on grass, seeds, berries and other plant seeds. It also shows their alertness around the humans as they stretch their necks straight between the feeding intervals.

Shortly after, the geese moved forward to a different patch of grass. Their leader communicating to them through raucous honking. In awe I watched their special union, the trust they displayed in their leader and the unity they had as a family.

As one of the goose broke from the flock into a low flight over the Hudson River, I  witnessed the majestic white ‘U’ it formed on the dark upper tail, in deep contrast with its lower black tail. It was truly a breathtaking moment!

Canadian Geese_River Side Park_SunnyFallDay._._
 Evenly dark brown body with limited contrast with the black neck

In midst of it all I remembered the famous quote by Hal Borland, “two sounds of autumn are unmistakable- the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street by a gusty wind, and a gabble of a flock of migrating geese.” I surely didn’t miss the gabble of a flock of geese in the city. And I eagerly look forward to the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves in my street and in the city parks. Though I wish for that garland of reds and golds, I must be as patient as she. (Source: Angela Abraham)

To my readers who live in the city or are planning to visit Manhattan this Fall. I highly recommend the Riverside Park South located between West 59th Street and West 71st Street. Interestingly, it is nestled between historic Riverside Park and Hudson River Park along the Hudson River. The Park is a blend of recreational space and thriving native ecosystems. It pays homage to the area’s crucial role in the railroad history of New York City.

Do share your fall experiences with me in the comment box below.

Singing off with best wishes for fall!

 

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Nature- Heartfelt tales

‘Look at me’ Nikko Blue Hydrangea

Soft, graceful, captivating and spirited; the summer beauty Nikko Blue hydrangea bewitched its viewers with everlasting beauty ~ Hints Of Life

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A close-up of Hydrangea Macrophylla Nikko Blue at Riverside Park

As summer sinks in, the Riverside Park on the Upper West Side is blooming with radiant, colorful flowers. As Charles Bowden says, summer time is always the best of everything that might be. Such is the scene here and everywhere. The diversity of the blooms in the park is splendid. The abundant sunshine, and periods of rain provided the much-needed moisture in the air crucial for the flowers to blossom.

It was a regular thirty minute mid-week run for me through the park. I was determined to find my summer muse. For several minutes I admired the sunset over the Hudson river. Though stunning, it didn’t do the trick for me. Nonetheless, what caught my eye as I descended  the path towards West 84th street was an abundance of  hydrangea blossoms. Dazzling in soft white, blues, pinks and purples. The soft flowers made an amazing display against the dark green leaves as if saying out loud ‘look at me.’ One of my favorite flowers, the star-shaped hydrangeas are closely packed, forming a delicate lacelike ball as seen in the picture above.

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Over focused shot of ‘Nikko’ Blue Hydrangea at Riverside Park

Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Nikko’ Blue- 
Hydrangea Nikko blue
is one of the best blue blooms you can lay your eyes on. Its blossoms start with flowers that are cream-colored with blue margins, and turn a solid gorgeous blue as the plant matures. The flowers flaunt emerald-green, with tooth edged large leaves. The deep green foliage adds great beauty to its flowers.

To achieve the bluest blossom possible from your ‘Nikko’ hydrangea blush keep the soil on the acidic side. This mophead variety blooms earlier than most blossoms, usually beginning in June, and endures for two months.

Some interesting facts about Hydrangea
Hydrangea stands for gratefulness and heartfelt feelings. Some others connect hydrangea to boastfulness because of its abundance of flowers and its round shape. The blossoms of hydrangea are treasured for their boldness and delicacy.

In the language of flowers, hydrangea conveys a beautiful message ‘Thank you for understanding.’

Do you own a hydrangea blossom in you garden or home? Or love the flower for its priceless beauty? Share your views in the comment below.

Signing off with best wishes!

 

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Nature- Heartfelt tales

Springtime in Riverside Park

Spring’s arrival; when nature blushes with life, earth is dressed in color, sky almost blue and sun almost bright. ~ Hints Of Life

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Bulbs of nature – Springtime in Riverside Park

Crabapple buds shining in the spring sunshine at Riverside Park. Soon the deep pink buds will open to pink blossoms, becoming something of intrigue and fascination for its viewers. This spectacular spring delight caught my attention on a weekend afternoon as I made my way into the park from West 79th street, Upper West Side. The beautiful buds swinging in the light breeze, looking so ethereal. Their touch soft and smell sweet. After an hour-long admiration of the spring beauty I pointed my camera towards the buds capturing the moments I spent in its company.

Did you know, the unopened crabapple flower buds may hint of one color and as  flowers open, other hues are revealed in a spectacular floral. For flower lovers, crabapple blossom is a highly recommended spring blossom. In New York City the sweet-smelling blossom is occurring in great abundance. You will come across some of the finest mature crabapple stands in park landscapes by early May, including Riverside Park’s Crabapple Grove and Central Park’s Conservatory Gardens allee.

Knowing a little about the magnificent ornamental tree I returned home to my internet. Over a cup of steaming Indian masala chai (tea) I revisited the crabapple buds shots in my camera and read about the rich New York City’s crabapple heritage. I am excited to head back to the parks on quiet weekday mornings to enjoy my time with the most stunning spring blossoms in the city. How ’bout you?

Stay tuned for more pictures and stories on crabapple blossom in this space.

Signing off
with loads of good wishes!

Recommended article:
https://www.treehelp.com/crabapple/

 

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Nature- Heartfelt tales

Winter in NYC

Nature’s most exotic sight is not the soft falling snow but the vast frozen river. Though static on the surface it is constantly moving underneath. ~ Hints Of Life

Frozen Hudson River
The Mallard Ducks and Ring Billed Gulls surviving the arctic chill on the frozen Hudson River, New York

Growing up in India, I never experienced snow. The maximum low temperatures in my city never dropped below 40 degree Fahrenheit. Fascinating as it may sound, I grew up in a city situated at the foothills of the Shivalik (a mountain range of the outer Himalayas). So, to experience snowfall one had to make a trip to the mountains. That trip is still on the top of my bucket list.

But life moves on, and fate takes you places. Yes, it happened to me.  29 months ago I moved to New York City. Gosh, I was thrilled to live in world’s most exciting city – Big Apple or famously known as The City That Never Sleeps. Home to a huge majority of international expats I looked forward to meeting people from across the globe. My initial few months in the city were overwhelming. I dreaded the long, harsh North Eastern winter. First winter was tough. The daylight saving time was much harder than I expected. I spent most time indoors as it was too chilly for me to be outdoors. I was bored to death and missed home terribly.

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The frozen Hudson River on January 7, 2018

But I’m a fighter. As the second winter arrived, I learnt the process of surviving the cold days. Blogging became my biggest passion and a way to share my thoughts and feeling with like-minded people. I took to running outdoors on sunny cold days and sometimes on usual gray days as well. Living close to Central Park and Riverside Park, I found myself almost everyday at the parks enjoying the beautiful, serene views. I discovered bird watching as my new hobby. Curious, I carried my camera where ever I went, capturing moments – sunset, sunrise, different New York seasons , colorful trees, migratory birds, through the lens. Photography gave me perspective. I started seeing space in new dimensions.

Snow covered Riverside Park
View of the frozen Hudson River and snow-covered Riverside Park

Adaptive and resilient, I fell in love with New York winter in the third year. It is simply beautiful. The gray days seem charming now. Gray is the real winter color even on the subway. I wait for snow like a child and there has been plenty this year. I have braved a couple of heavy snowfalls to work and it truly was fun. My wardrobe is decorated with colorful cashmere sweaters, and I own a beautiful J.Crew winter coat. At last, I have learnt to dress according to the weather outside that varies a lot.

The new year began with a record-breaking low of – 40 degree Fahrenheit (- 40 Celsius) freezing the Hudson River. After seeing the breathtaking pictures and videos on social media, I couldn’t resist myself from venturing out in the frigid conditions to see the frozen Hudson River for real, in person. As I stepped outside, my breathing became heavy, and feet started moving slowly into a jogging stride. It was cold beyond belief. Careful (a snow fall bump was certainly not my idea) I made my way to the snow-covered Riverside Park from West 71st street on the Upper West Side.

The view of the Riverside Park was divine. It looked white like an angel and felt peaceful like heaven (as you see in the picture above). As I got to the Hudson River bicycling track  the river was covered in large chunks of ice floes. At the boat basin marina, mallard ducks and ring billed gulls sat close to each other on the frozen river, surviving the arctic chill. That scene was my defining moment. The 45 minutes spent in the unbearable cold were worth every breath. My New Year started with a splendid naturalist experience. I learnt life’s most important lesson yet again – we must stick together through harsh and tough times and we will emerge as champions.

Do you have a story that is close to your heart? Do share in the comment below.

Signing off  with best wishes.

 

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Nature- Heartfelt tales

Snowing December

It’s snowing December in Central Park ~ Hints Of Life

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Glimpse of the first snow at Bridge No. 24, Central Park

On this exciting Friday, I wish to relive the few snowfalls we already have had in December, especially the first snowfall of the season!

Yes, it is snowing December in New York City. And as we are only two days away from Christmas, if the heavens permit I am earnestly hoping for a white Christmas. Oh, that will be a dream come true, indeed!

Though the first dusting of snow has melted (and two or three snow showers have passed), its essence is still alive in my senses. The first fall of snow is not just an event but a magical event. You go to bed in one world and wake up in another and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? says J. B. Priestley, the British writer.

As the first snowfall blanketed the city, the streets, from Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue,  to Madison Avenue and the parks – especially Central Park – were an enchanting sight. Children, couples, and, of course, pets took to Central Park to enjoy the snowfall. The sight of the horse carriages adorned with couples and families (cozily sitting together) enjoying the ride in the snow was my favorite of all.

New Yorkers took to social media, sharing stunning snow pictures and videos. But I consciously chose to live in the moment, enjoying the snow day in the company of family and friends. It’s my third winter in New York, and I still get the same thrill glimpsing the whirling snowflakes, kissing the earth gently. The feeling so magical as if a fairy angel is sprinkling love on earth.

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As it lay in a blanket of snow, the Great Lawn

The Great Lawn
The lush oval lawn (Great Lawn) that opened in 1937, was Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s vision of a rural retreat in Central Park. This green 55-acre area is the geographical center of the Park, and one of the most famous lawns in the world. Located Mid-Park from 79th to 85th Street, the Great Lawn is popular among New Yorkers for a mid-afternoon picnic in Spring or for relaxing in the summer sun. It is open from mid-April until mid-November. When covered in snow the lawn looks like a winter wonderland, as you see in the picture above.

It is interesting to know, that the site of the present-day Great Lawn was not always the pastoral meadow we see today. The space was instead occupied by the rectangular Croton Reservoir, constructed in 1842.  However, in 1917, the reservoir was made obsolete when a new water tunnel was built and all of its water was drained in 1931.  During the Great Depression the area served as the home of displaced residents and surplus supplies and materials leftover from the construction of a subway line and Rockefeller Center.

Over the next few years there was much debate about what would be done with the space. Options on the table included everything from a WWI Memorial to an opera house to underground parking garages. Eventually the debate concluded in 1937 and grass was planted, creating the oval styled-field now known as the Great Lawn.  During the 1950s, eight baseball diamonds were installed along the outer rim of the lawn. (Centralpark.com)

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Kids playin’ in snow at Central Park

As I walked in Central Park after a 30 minute run in the winter wonderland, watching the kids play in snow got me thinking of the many wonderful moments we create in our life on a snow day. For instance, a snowball in the face is a perfect beginning to a lasting friendship. I am sure many of you cherish these incredible childhood friendships even today. As I passed Cherry hill, I saw a little boy making a snowman with his mother in the middle of the hill. Seeing the beautiful mother-son bond, I couldn’t resist playing with them for sometime.

As I said goodbye to them, I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? Covers them in a warm white blanket until summer comes. With this wonderful feeling and priceless experience I made my way out of the park. It was time for a delicious hot chocolate in the cozy corner of my house.

Signing off with warm holiday wishes.

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