The forsythia are marching though Flushing, their bright yellow flags just EVERYWHERE. The magnolias (pink and white both) are a bit past their prime, but the crape myrtle is taking up the slack. Already, the miniature weeping cherries are afloat with blossoms, pink and white. And the Bradford Pears! Huge, fluffy, cottony white blooms with the faintest tinge of yellow green line Northern Boulevard and the side streets. The crocuses are done, but the grape hyacinths, the daffodils (and their allies, the jonquils and the narcissi), have staked out their positions and are Occupying Flushing.
I walk down Bayside Avenue from 150th Street to the northwest corner of Bowne Park, where the weeping willows (so faintly green on Sunday) have turned an almost fluorescent shade. I am drawn to them; they are the color of life, and of Spring itself. I walk over to caress a drapey rope of brand new yellowy-green leaflets, and to greet my friends, the geese, in the pond beneath the trees.
There are empty swings! I knew that if I got here early enough in the day, I’d be able to indulge my inner child. I swing for a bit, next to a 4 year old who is being pushed higher, higher by her mom. I tell them both that you are NEVER too old to go on the swings.
I leave the park by the path that leads through the northeast corner to continue my walk up 29th Avenue. When Frank and I were here on Sunday, we windowshopped an adorable little store that I resolved to visit again. Archives of the Home is just the kind of pretty, eclectic shop you’d find on the side street of a resort town. Its nooks and crannies are filled with lovely objets d’art and antiques, big and little treasures from everywhere. I speak to the owner’s assistant (who has a little shop of her own within the larger shop, Pippy & Lily, Inc., with lovely jewelry and accessories). When I leave, I realize I’ve lost all track of time, and I don’t care. My heart is lifted by the beauty of the day, of the trees and flowers in bloom, of the lovely manmade objects I’ve just spent however much time poring over.
I walk back down 29th Avenue, back through the park, and settle on a bench under the willows. I pull out a tiny notebook I’d put in my purse, take out a pen, and sketch my friends, the geese. I look up and there– in the middle of the pond– is a cormorant, spreading his wings in the sun. I used to see cormorants all the time when I lived in College Point, and would spend my days down by the water. But this far inland? — Never! I sketch him, too.
I sit a bit longer, just enjoying the breezes, then rise to leave. I walk around the pond, see that the resident turtles are piled up on each other (five of them, on top of a jutting-out rock). I guess they are sunning themselves, even if the little guys on the bottom aren’t getting many rays at all.
I walk down 33rd Avenue, up 154th Street, to see my favorite view of Manhattan from the crest of Flushing’s Murray Hill before the leafing-out trees make that view impossible to see. Then, I wind my way home, having found happiness in my own backyard on a lovely Spring day.