A Walk in the Park

Thursday was my favorite kind of autumn day. Chilly, overcast, not windy, on the brink of rain but holding fast.

A perfect lunch hour for a Woody Allen movie moment — remember that scene from Hannah and Her Sisters, when Woody and Dianne Wiest share an intimate stroll down a winding path in Central Park amidst a panorama of vibrant autumn leaves  — or in Another Woman, when Gena Rowlands and Martha Plimpton hash out relationship issues on, yes, a stroll in autumnal Central Park — or in Manhattan, when Diane Keaton and Woody are caught in a thunderstorm and escape into the Museum of Natural History (in Central Park)?

So there I was, soaking it all up, having my quintessential New York experience in the park.

Because the day was an out-of-towner’s (and many a New Yorker’s) version of nasty, the park was serendipitously empty of people. A rare occurrence, usually encountered only in the depth of winter.

Although I did glimpse a couple of diehards like myself, shown below, who were seated in the park’s version of a penthouse apartment:

(Click on any photo for a larger view)

If only I could have strolled through the park all day long. Equipped as I generally am, with an umbrella — these days, I’m hardly ever without it — I do love the rain. If my coworkers complain about it, as they usually do (in all fairness, commuting in the rain can be a bitch, with train delays, no fresh air on the platform, flooding and throngs of people), I’ll nod as if I agree.

But, secretly, I don’t.

I’m in the park so often, working in an office located diagonally across the street, yet I never fail to come across something new, something I’ve somehow missed before, usually due to over-crowding.

On Thursday, what I discovered were these little metal placards inscribed with personal messages that were attached to many of the benches. Here are some samples:

I love this one — it’s so New York:

And this one — I can picture a quintet of girlfriends meeting up once a week for a chat and a laugh:

And this touching message of friendship:

Of course, The Donald’s name is on a bench (his name is plastered all over the city):

This one tugged at my heart:

I love this message:

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I remembered a photo (below), taken in Oak Creek Canyon, AZ, located midway between Flagstaff and Sedona, where J.C. and I spent a lovely and peaceful Thanksgiving in 2008 — without T.V., internet, radio, or cell service. A picture window in our cabin, which was nestled in a canyon of majestic red rocks, overlooked a rushing river, a forest of pine trees and a small waterfall.

On Thanksgiving day, it snowed. Absolute bliss.

We listened to music on our iPod player, read books and sat by the fireplace (our only means of heat, which J.C. fed with his frequent trips to the woodshed. He tended to the fire assiduously, just like Paw in Little House on the Prairie or Davy Crockett).

I didn’t know he had it in him. Isn’t it funny how you can discover something new about someone you’ve been married to for more than 11 years.  Once, he fixed a faucet in the bathroom and I was astounded. Who knew he could do that? It stands to reason, if you can take apart a MacIntosh computer and put it back together again, you can fix the sink!

I suppose that’s what keep relationships fresh. Newness and discovery. Woody Allen said it best in Annie Hall: “A relationship, I think, is like a shark. It has to keep moving forward or it dies.” So far, we’re a Great White.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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