Falling for NY

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The foliage on Fifth Avenue. Photo: JH.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020.  It was 74 degrees yesterday at the top of the day in New York  (it’s dropped to 65 degrees as I write this an hour before midnight). And sunny. And beautiful with the foliage. 

I’m a foliage-watcher, growing up in New England. I see it in terms of my life, and my age; and how things change with the seasons that add up. It is warmer in this climate of ours (Northeast) than it was when I was a child and a teenager anticipating being a “grown-up.” Remember grown-up? 

(Very) little David, no more than three years of age watching the foliage while holding on to a pine tree.

Autumn is still the beginning of The New, as it was when I was a kid in school starting the new year. Everything meant eventual maturity; looking forward. I always saw promise and wonder in the beauty of the foliage. I was a boy who depended on these things for sustenance. I was a good observer; it was beautiful.

This year, an odd year in so many ways for many of us, seemed to be slow in providing the autumn colors of foliage. It doesn’t weigh me down, but it bothered me. Until a little more than a week ago when suddenly, almost overnight some of the trees leaves turned the beautiful reddish yellow of the American Elms in JH’s photo of them on Fifth Avenue.

I’m ignorant of the name of the tree but there are many of them on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side. They turned overnight and then began spreading their eulogies below, on the cars and the roads. Again, I love this. I’ve always been fascinated by the artfulness of Mother Nature and the leaves and the cars. There’s a Natural political statement here, no? It looks like it’s messy, but it’s Mother Nature, and who can argue with Her? I love the way it looks on the cars and the road. It’s man meets Mother Nature and actually, the cars wear her detritus beautifully.

Meanwhile, it’s bountiful for JH and his camera. I think he always takes his camera (although these days its his iPhone) with him when he’s out and about, knowing there is something to see and to show you on the NYSD. When I told him I wanted to do a Diary on the foliage, he immediately told me he had the photos for it! I picture him walking along some street or avenue on his way somewhere and he sees something or somebody or some situation where he’s already seeing the photograph. Out comes the camera. These are mainly from the Upper East Side and moving toward the Park.

JH grew up near the Park and still lives near the Park. He played it in when he was a kid, used it socially as he was growing up, and to this day often visits and walks in the Park, and now often with his young son. He has an eye for beauty, and it’s contagious …

The Park is full of life, the comings and goings, the creatures who are its natural inhabitants present amongst us humanoids. They, who must at all times be aware of the environment that provides life for them, are no doubt aware of JH and his camera. We are, after all, the monsters in their lives.

The big news (and also related to JH’s camera) this Autumn is the first birthday of Alexander Oliver Hirsch, son of JH and his wife Danielle. Here is the boy on his Big Day (Sunday the 8th). I don’t know why but whenever I see his photo, and particularly this one, it makes me laugh. I can feel the joy in this little one’s eyes and it makes me grateful. Like Mother Nature’s foliage.

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