December

I have been gone long. But at the back of my mind has been this constant hum, “don’t be a numpty, get back to the blog already!” So the days have passed while I have been thinking of making a return, but words seem strangely sparse nowadays. Do you know what I mean? I think you do. I might meet you and talk endlessly, as is my wont, but when it comes to blogging, I feel like a dried-up well.

An endless litany of days just merge into the other, though I do not imply that I am discontented. Sure I have my wobbles (like any of us), but I have never looked more inward than now, to keep my soul invigorated. In all of this nature has made the biggest difference. I have found great comfort in watching the machinations of the birds that haunt the bay here. The season has brought about its customary visitors – flocks of Canada geese that honk in the evenings as they fly home, wherever that is, in perfect formations; the ring-billed gulls who perch themselves on the walls unafraid, even as one jogs by; the Snow Goose that looks picture perfect; the male mallards with their glistening green heads and the females with their speckled brown plumage; the cutesy Buffleheads that bob in couples on the waters. I have learnt to tell the young ring-billed gulls from the mature ones, by virtue of their plumage. Maybe because I have poring over Audubon’s wonderfully detailed field guide.

Meanwhile a snow storm in the last two days has coated my world pristine white. It has brought such a spark of joy. So what if I find myself slipping on the ice that has formed in the tracks on the park or sinking deep into the snow as I try to get to the many snowmen that have cropped up around us. Everyone is out there, sledding down the gentle slopes in the park, making the most of the landscape bathed in snow. We all need what we can get to tide us over this odd year, isn’t it?

I have been recharging myself through art. Watercolours and charcoal drawings. I have also started an etsy store: www.etsy.com/shop/Artbybasu?ref=seller-platform-mcnav. I hawk my wares on it. That apart I have been working on going the self-publishing route with my book. It is daunting and involves loads of research, but at least I have some control over the process. One needs control where one can find it, don’t you think? Anyway, I hope to get back to blogging more regularly, now that I have gingerly made my way back here, and catch up with my feed. Needless to say, but I shall put it out nonetheless, I have missed you all.

To you my lovelies, I send the brilliance of snow and oodles of love from Bayonne. Off I go to demolish some quiches and making December count.

What, The Last Month of The Year Already?

It astonishes me how the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, till another year is going to come to an end. Time never ceases it seems till you are caught in a situation where you are trapped in a slow train with people around you conversing in another language, you have missed the last bus at a lonely place where the ocean batters the cliffs, or better still, you are sleeping in an unreserved train compartment with batty coppers and convicts for company. And here’s time sprouting wings, so that autumn’s been too brief a spell. Sparse brown leaves cling to the branches in the park, loathe to leave just yet, dangling in the cold wind like earrings turned to a shade of liquid russet in the soft sun. The park cleaning authorities use their leaf blowers daily to collect them in piles, so that even as they go about their job, I cannot help admiring this pretty spectacle that it makes. A whirligig of golden butterflies in the air.

This is my cheeky last paean to autumn even though the wind outside is frigid and every evening walk and morning run involves filling the lungs with icy air. We caught the last legs of the season in Central Park last month when the colours in the woods had already peaked and there were yellow, oranges and reds in dribs and drabs. When we met an introvert Great Bernese, a big beautiful girl who warned Adi off with a couple of woofs. So that now I can tease my husband in the same vein as he takes off on me. Last summer in Vermont, a golden retriever with the face of a (chubby) angel and the mien of a shrew, had flown at me when I wanted to say hello. Adi has not stopped reminding me of this dark incident since with unseemly glee, saying, ‘You are possibly the only girl who has been almost attacked by a golden retriever.’

These little pleasures have been cemented by biggish birthday pleasures of a sparkler-laden cake turning up at a French restaurant which is an institution of sorts in NYC, where the food made the senses hum with quiet joy; celebrating a new holiday for us (Thanksgiving); meeting a former colleague in the city and going on walks in the tenements of Lower Manhattan where we wondered at the eccentric workings of an artist who bought a synagogue when he had merely stepped out to buy shoes; spotting migratory birds such as a Great Black-Backed Gull by the Hudson; and having my scalp almost lifted one freezing morning by a mob of gulls who were being fed by an old man (because apparently wild creatures cannot continue their cycle of life without our nosiness). That’s all in my tangled web of recollections, and oh, some portly squirrels at work too.

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North Woods, Central Park

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Lafayette, NYC

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The woman at the table next to ours and I were both startled when this sparkler tower arrived at ours, and just like that, I was a child all over again. 

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French Onion Soup with beef shank, so full of flavour that you could compose a quick ode to it

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Pasta parcels called agnolotti stuffed with black trumpet mushrooms and topped with shavings of black truffle. Give me a daily diet of it.

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Grilled trout paired with coco beans and saucisson. A time to scoff and grunt with satisfaction.

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Immigrant stories. Strange cocktails, sighted in the Lower East Side, Manhattan. 

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The synagogue of Rivington Street built in the Moorish Revival style of architecture. Once a place of prayer for Romanian Jews, it was bought by a reclusive Jewish artist, Hale Gurland, who lives on top of the synagogue where you can see the four orange windows and flees from any kind of publicity.

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Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse at the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

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I got squirrels and sheep on me desk too.

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The foraging furry ones of Madison Square Park