Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sunday: Inwood Hill Park

Saturday we had a torrential storm. Central Park got nearly an inch of rain. It was one of my favorite kinds of rainy days, with the drops big enough to make noise on the windows and roof. It was easy to justify staying in my sweats all day, exerting myself only enough to walk down to the lobby for the newspaper.

When Sunday dawned, the previous day's storm had taken all the moisture out of the air; the temperature was in the middle 60s. The light was that gorgeous, autumnal kind where the shadows are diamond-cut sharp. It was a Maxfield Parrish kind of day. I had to get out in it. It was warm enough not to need a coat, but I was covered up enough that I didn't need to coat myself with a layer of shellac before going out. This is one of the times of year when I actually seek out the sunlight.

I went back to Inwood Hill Park, the place my friend Cheryl showed me earlier this month. It is yet another side of the old growth forest I've explored with Melissa on a few occasions. As Cheryl said during our walk, it's fun to imagine that this area probably hasn't changed much since Europeans first showed up. Maybe it's not true, but it's fun to think. (I'll post a proper entry about that lovely walk soon.)

I felt for a moment like I was in Tuscany when I saw this. On a day like today, even the Bronx looks magical.
Inwood Hill Park has old growth oak-hickory forest, meadow, and as seen above, a salt marsh. It reminded me of my first visit to Greg's. The white dots under the bridge are a flock of Canada geese. They seem to be following -rather than creating- a curving gap in the low tide sludge. Maybe they're following a current of deeper flowing water.
There was a bit of a work-out to the climb, but after my lethargic Saturday, it was welcome.
I think I found my new home! Okay, it's a bit of a fixer-upper, lacking electricity, running water, plumbing and a roof, but for my price range those are probably always going to be problems, and you should see the view. I imagine the thirty-minute walk to the subway and grocery store will be a pain in the winter but at least it's down hill when you leave. I think I'm willing to pay that price for this location. I've walked farther for far less scenic residences.
Autumn colors are still preliminary here; there was just a hint from time to time. A lot of the trees are still green, but there's also lots of leaves on the ground already.

Recognize this, Melissa? Yup, it's our old look-out spot. My dad is probably looking at this and thinking 1) Patrick is about to fall to his death and 2) He's standing there just to spite me. I'd try to reassure him, but the fact is he'd still prefer that none of his children ever cross the street without him, or use any utensil sharper than a soup spoon. Breathe, Dad, I made it out alive.
Oh how I wish I could do justice to the experience of this tree! This photo almost captures the deep blue of the sky, but it does nothing to show just how many different shades of gold there were in the leaves, nor how captivating it was to watch them shimmer in the wind. And of course it does nothing to give you the song of the leaves. I stood here for a long time, took lots of photos, even used my camera's video feature to record its dance, but no luck. You'll just have to take my word for it.

I took the long way back, taking the A train to West 135th and St. Nicholas Avenue, then walking home by way of St. Nicholas Park and City College. This is the view exiting the station. .

Yesterday was almost as beautiful, and today we're back to glum and rainy. Good thing, because I've got to do laundry, and make final preparations for the weekend. Man, this has been a good month.


Java said...

Looks like a beautiful day. I love this kind of weather.

Your fixer-upper there, what was it supposed to be once upon a time? It looks like the treehouse for some kid whose dad works in the scrap metal business.

Jeff Wills said...

Glad, so glad, to hear about this month for you, P. I can't wait to see you! And thanks for my new desktop wallpaper...

tornwordo said...

I can't believe how green everything still is there!

We're expecting our first real snowfall tonight. It seems to be really getting its act together now. Pouring outside.

Greg said...

Quite a stormy business going on here tonight, as well! So the Inwood Walk was a wonderful escape.

Those steps are terrific. Of course I don't want to climb them either; I'm thinking about what to plant alongside them...they seem to go on for some time without a landing.

Patrick, there's some really lovely photos here - the last one is GREAT. You and your camera seem to be getting on very well these days.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Sigh...we are getting snow at this moment, it was nice to see some people are still enjoying fall colours.
I totally thought'Tuscany' for a second also when I saw that photo, well not that I even went to Tuscany... you know just from seeing calenders with pictures etc! ;)

Patrick said...

Java: I have no idea what that structure was originally for. It is in a city park, and looks like it was pretty official once, but I don't know what it was for. Watching for fires? Bird migrations? There was somebody sitting in it, so I didn't climb up there this time, but next chance I get I will, to see if closer examination reveals its purpose.

Jeff: I am so excited about this weekend! Glad you liked the photos, which one did you take for wallpaper? I assume you have enough real pictures of Tuscany not to need my faux one.

Torn: I feel for ya, Pal. Frankly I'm a bit surprised by how green everything is here too. Parts of New York got some snow last night, but it missed us here in the city, as far as I know.

Greg: yes, we had a stormy night last night too, and I was glad to be inside. Of course you'd see those steps as an opportunity for some artistic landscaping. They do go on for a bit, and they come after a fairly steep incline as well... it's called Inwood Hill for a reason... but the rewards from climbing it were many. My camera and I do seem to be reaching an understanding; out of the 160 shots I took, only a handful were out of focused. Many more were less interesting than I had hoped, but that isn't the camera's fault. I still have the most trouble getting it to capture people accurately. What does this say about me?

Steven: I've never (yet) been to Tuscany either (it's on the to-do list), so I was going by calendar images as well. The fact is though, the day was such that the whole city was pretty gorgeous, even for someone like me who is largely ambivalent to cities.

Butch said...

It seems like the East coast is getting their share of the rain lately. I wonder if the hurricane season south of you is bring up some of the weather due to the rising temperature changes in the ocean?

Your pictures definitely capture the Fall. My favorite is the stone stairway.

Birdie said...

It is fitting that my word verification is "proust." You show us that the Search for Lost Time is found in moments like this.

Dantallion said...

Incredibly beautiful. Can't get over just how lush everything still looks there. Glad to here it's been such a good month!



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