There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label New York. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York. Show all posts

08 August 2017

Central Park Sunday

Sunday morning.

Mother's Day.

I sit on a brick bridge watching ducks tread the waters of Central Park as a man gently plays a saxophone for change.
The parks slowly fills with joggers and couples with the morning paper in hand, looking for a bench to sit and finish their coffee and read. I mention it as this activity is becoming a rarity.

Parents caution their little ones not to venture into the dense foliage as they feel the park is not safe. The homeless I see in the public bathrooms are nothing but nice to me as they wash their faces and ready themselves for the day.
A Buddhist monk stops to give me a peace bracelet. I thank him and offer a small donation in return.
 This simple act of kindness lightens my heart in the best way possible.

20 July 2017

New York City

I was extremely anxious about traveling to New York City by myself, although I wasn't quite sure why. I've been to many places as a solo wanderer, but the intensity and magnificence of this particular city had me on edge.
The last time I was in the big apple was in 2008 with my brother and his wife's family. It was a cathartic time as we were still in the grieving and healing stage of my sister's death only a year before.
As I woke up though and started walking the streets, the beautiful familiarity of this city encompassed me like a warm scarf. I tingled with electricity from the vibrancy of this city, and my anxiety quickly dissipated into the morning air.
I felt the immense power of being here by myself, akin to the stories of lone souls that come here looking to achieve their dreams, in whatever shape and form that may be.

Which I believe is the true power of this great city.

07 July 2017

the NYC library

It's fairly early in the morning for a Saturday in New York City. I zip up my hoodie, wonder about my choice to only wear shorts as the rain starts to fall. I step out onto the streets, take in the subway smells and the taxi traffic, and make my way to the public library.
The great lions named Patience and Fortitude greet me at the steps of the mighty building. I believe this will be my first time traveling to hang out in a library, but oh what a library it is!
The architecture of the halls feel more like a museum, and the great artwork hanging on the walls add this feeling.

I could go into great detail here about the research I did, the exhibits on display while there, the amazing history of the building itself; from it's construction, the generous donors, and the people of New York itself that helped make this institution what it is today.
But my goal is not to labor in my experience here, it is only to inspire you readers to get out there and explore the wonders of this place for yourself.

25 May 2017

Oils! Oils! Oils!

I'm the son of an immigrant. My mother came to this country from Australia when she was eighteen years old with the same hopes and dreams as most immigrants...the search for a better life.

I've never been to her home country, but I've always recognized that in me are Aussie roots. One way I've connected to my ancestry is through the music of Midnight Oil.
A band that is pro human rights, staunch environmentalists, equality for women, and currently anti-Trump. They took a fifteen year hiatus while the lead singer, Peter Garrett, pursued a career in politics in Australia so that he could make a positive difference in his country from his strong beliefs.

But now the band is back on a world wide tour, and damn if I wasn't lucky enough to see them at the historic Webster Hall in New York City.
The power inside this arena seemed to come from the electricity in the air. Everything was super charged with excitement, all anxiously awaiting to see if the band was the same after such a long absence.
As soon as they took the stage, any naysayers were silenced, as the Oils lit up the hall, rocking and sounding better than ever.

The chants of  "Oils!Oils!Oils!" reverberated in my ears long after the show ended. Peter's swaying body, flailing arms and piercing voice echoes in my head to this day.
It was epic.

22 October 2014

a peaceful evening in an unsuspecting place.

My time in Rochester was short but certainly memorable. My last evening found me sitting on the still Genesse river waters, with the golden glow of a city building gleaming over the trees across the river bank, with the setting sun painting the sky in brilliant pink and purple colors. 

As I'm enjoying this, a lovely woman of Middle Eastern descent quietly comes up to me to see if the abandoned bike a few yards away was mine, as she didn't want it stolen since it wasn't locked up.

I smile warmly and let her know it's not mine. She carries on down the river walk as I turn back to watch either small birds or perhaps little bats fly above the water, their tiny reflections captured perfectly.

From the friendly people to the quaint buildings, I look forward to returning here, no doubt about it!

12 October 2014

Autumn leaves fall to the hunt

The bright autumnal leaves float with reckless abandon as the car drives along the dusty road. Nothing but pumpkin patches and row after glorious row of grape vines, both ready for the seasonal harvest.

The car pulls off to the side of road, and the man excitedly jumps into the overgrown grassy field. The blue skies and cool temperatures from the nearby lake are what great novellas aspire to create in the mind.

He rests upon the wood vineyard fence.
The silence is rudely broken with the first shotgun blast, followed by repeated shots. Birds caw and emerge from the nearby woods.

The man is confused, then frightened. He ducks for cover, then runs back to the car to avoid further tragedy.

He forgets that Fall for some is also the Hunting season.

11 October 2014

Watkins Glen in the Fall

My first attempt to hike Watkins Glen was in March of this year. The snow and ice prevented me from getting into the canyon, but the beauty from above was certainly something to behold.

A couple of months later I returned, but the spring runoff was out of control, and the canyon was closed due to intense flooding.

Fingers crossed for good luck, I was hoping that my third trip would be successful, and it seemed that Autumn was my lucky season.
Over more than a millenia, water and ice have fractured the earth to create this marvel. Stone steps lead you into the bowels of the earth and the water below that continues to shape Watkins Glen.
Stone bridges get you from one side to the other, waterfalls of various strength and intensity cascade down from above. I chose to not avoid the droplets, letting them shower me with happiness.
The colors of Fall are everywhere, most predominately in the trees that line the brim of the canyon walls. Protectors of the inhabitants that walk below, they drop their leaves in twinkling fashion to the slow moving river, saying goodbye as they swirl down.
Hiking up the stone steps to the South Rim trail above, I find the solitude one craves when hiking. Empty shelters and moss covered spools are found in between the shafts of light that make their way to the ground.
Back down I eventually go, further into the Glen where you see deeper chasms that hold bigger waterfalls and glacially carved circular pools.
As Nature always seem to do, my mood and spirit is lifted to pure ecstasy by the time I'm done hiking through the beautiful trails of Watkins Glen.

23 May 2014

searching for Mennonites and other treasures

If I had paid any attention to such things as weather reports and News forecasts, I most likely would have been forewarned of the recent flooding in New York State.

But where is the adventure in that?

It only forced me to change my plans from hiking (since the canyon was closed) to exploring more of the Finger Lakes area. I was on the search for Mennonites and U.S. history.
Winding along the rural back roads, I slow down to gaze at the horse drawn buggy, and it's passengers. A simple family to me, deep in their Christian beliefs and content with their mode of transportation. They stare back at me, if only for a moment to see a new face in their land, then avert their eyes back to the horse and their final destination.

I wonder if the structures I see were built by these people, without power tools, as rumor and legend have it. No matter, I think to myself, the beauty is in the details anyway.
The quiet of the green rolling hills mesmerizes my mind. In the stillness I almost miss the roadside waterfall. I find my way down off the beaten path to revel in the serenity of the falling water.
In addition to the Mennonites going about their daily activities, the beauty of the Finger Lakes wine region holds my attention. Row after row of grapevines are ready to start their season of growth and production. The fields are lush from the Spring rains.
Akin to the road not traveled, sometimes a change in scheduled plans is just what one needs to keep it all in perspective, and life fresh.

09 March 2014

Watkins Glen in the dead of winter....

Giant icicles run long, the teeth of the Winter monster hanging upon frozen rock, waiting for the warmth of Spring's beauty to free their seemingly permanent position.

That time is still many weeks away though here in Watkins Glen. For now, winter and ice dominate the landscape, and one must respect this fact.
The gates to enter the lower canyon are padlocked for safety, as waterfall spray has coated the interior into a slippery labyrinth of death. During this time you are forced to hike and explore the canyon from above, looking down into the wonder of nature like a bird on the hunt, searching for a meal.
There is plenty to see from this perspective though, isolated shacks where one can rest or receive shelter during winter storms.
Along the hiking trail is a clearing in the forest, with a crucifix standing tall upon a lone hill. Scattered in the clearing are past residents of Watkins Glen, monolithic stones with names inscribed from years gone by.

Protected by the sacred bounty of Nature.
Today the snow isn't too deep, so the snowshoes are placed upon my back, and I let the snow on the ground seep into my hiking shoes, up my pant legs. The cold revives the skin underneath....
penetrating slowly up to my hips, chest and neck. The cold, ironically, warms my head, making way for a moment of clarity and a fleeting glimpse of happiness.

27 February 2014

the small sounds of the past in the Finger Lakes....

I get off the Interstate as quickly as possible to avoid the New York toll roads. Within minutes the landscape transforms into rolling hills intertwined with snowdrifts of varying heights. Here towns aren't called towns, they are villages.

Villages lost in time, in an area known as the Finger Lakes.
Villages established in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Buildings that hold stories of hard working men and women, raising families, farms and fearing God.
Today many of the structures still remain, although uninhabited. The peeling paint and splintered wood tell stories of their own however. I stand in the bitter winter wind to listen.
I hear the musical calling of those early settlers of this land, feel their strength and triumphant spirit. A connection of the human condition to explore, wonder and question.....

25 February 2014

the steps that lead me to Band of Horses

Step One :
See a new album out on iTunes, download songs, fall in love.

Step Two :
Realize the album was just made days ago, search to see if band is still touring.

Step Three :
Find a show you can go to, get a ticket, book travel.
Step Four :
Wake up in Buffalo. Use GPS to navigate car through Finger Lakes country to college town of Ithaca.
Step Five :
Fall in love with Ithaca, find theater, locate place close by for drinks and food before show. Be blown away by awesome restaurant choices on the same street as theater, and none are crowded or over priced. Enjoy sushi and sapporo.
Step Six :
Go to show, fall in love with the theater.
Step Seven :
Fall in love with the simplicity of the stage set, the acoustics, and the amazing harmonies of a group called Band of Horses.
Step Eight :
Relish every second of this amazing night. Enjoy one of many highlights from the acoustic show, " The Funeral".