Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blooming Heather

Last Friday I checked in with one of my favorite places in Manhattan, Fort Tryon Park. I try to get up there once a month, or at least once a season. It's a different place every time.

Two differences in particular caught my attention this trip. First, with all the leaves gone still, there were long-distance views I'd not fully appreciated before. I'm not sure why; I've been up there a few times this past winter, but for whatever reason, the views surprised me. I didn't really need to see or hear the Westside Highway more (I can get that two blocks from my house, if I want it), but even so the longer vistas fed my need for space nicely, and made familiar places seem new.
Second, when I walked through the garden, the heather - usually a supporting character - was taking its own star turn. This plot of land is called the Heather Garden in fact, and I've always appreciated its lush ground cover in the past, but most of the time other bigger, taller and more spectacular blooms have drawn my focus. This time though, except for some crocuses and what, to my inexpert eye, appear to be crocus relations, virtually the only thing blooming was the heather.

I'd forgotten how many colors it came in, to be honest. Seeing this earthy rainbow, I was reminded of drives through the Scottish Highlands, and Donegal in Ireland. The latter region is known for its multicolored tweed, and once you've seen their hills in springtime, you can guess where the inspiration came from.
I have a soft spot for heather for another reason; one of the best naps I ever had was lying, wrapped in my trench coat, on a bed of it, on the side of an Irish mountain, after I'd taken a long hike. As long as there is some barrier between its scratchy needles and your skin, the branches are remarkably springy. I slept like like a baby.
Mind you, my list of fondly remembered naps is not extensive, but this one was incredible. I'd be tempted to try in Fort Tryon, but there would probably be some objections.

It's fun how seasonal changes always seem brand-new, even as they're triggering fond memories.
Will ye go Lassie go,
And we'll all go together
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather,
We'll ye go Lassie go.
traditional Scots Song.


Birdie said...

So ye've been to the Homeland, have ye? Isn't it amazing in the British Isles? My husband said he felt like he'd come home (and his grandparents were from Poland).

Those colors really pop against all that gray. It's so good to finally see colors coming out again. I miss the green, too.

Greg said...

Thanks, pal, for sharing these lovely views. Look forward to someday exploring Tryon for myself, but in the meantime, your visits are delightful.

LOVE the colors of those heathers. You appear to have arrived at the perfect moment.

Java said...

Taking a good close look at the heather, I have trouble imagining it as a good place for a nap. I guess your trench coat was made of some significantly thick fibers.

I'm amazed at how much natural beauty you find in Manhattan. Once again I'm in love with the tree photo. There's just something about trees.

Happy Spring, dear Patrick

CJ said...

The heather is lovely. I love those wintry pictures. Thanks for sharing.