I had vowed to come back this year to Central Park to document the scenes of fall. I was here around this time last year, exploring its pathways and hidden gems — also with my little guy — one time Alan had friends in town. I hate that I don’t get to visit as often, considering that its Midtown “edge” on 59th is actually near my “nest” in Manhattan. Fifteen years a New Yorker and I have yet to explore beyond the 80s. (Getting there.)
It wasn’t quite the scenery I had been lucky to capture in 2009, but it was as breathtaking nevertheless. The leaves hadn’t quite all fallen, blanketing the grass with the gorgeous colors of fall. Not yet. So maybe I will come back next week when that would have happened.
The beautiful thing about autumn is how the colors can change from day to day and the landscape dramatically transforms overnight. The color palette will be different in a day or two, and this whole scene will become a totally different canvas.
He loves exploring Central Park. I used to keep him close by, holding his hand all the time. These days, I have to keep up or I will get left behind. Even in Manhattan, he looks around to check who can see when he cozies up to Mommy. (My friends might see, he would say.) He walks ahead of me now, sometimes way too far ahead, and I still worry. (I had always admonished him to be within sight, and not too far ahead lest someone grab him and Mommy might end up a basket case..)
The rock formations fascinate him no end, that’s why I wore my rugged boots to make sure that I could climb with him. And climb we did! (Three hours of this around the Park and by the time we reached the American Museum of Natural History by noon, I felt like I had done my workout for the day.)
I sometimes find myself telling him to stop growing up too fast — as if that would slow the growth and keep him from getting smarter and taller… It’s a mom’s plea to the universe to just keep him a child a little longer — so I can still keep him close and cuddle him like a baby on my lap. The taller he gets, the farther he can go away — and grow away — and as a mom, I want to keep him the way he is just a little longer. He’s already up to my nose at 10 years old. In another year or so, he will be as tall if not taller than me.
His favorite spot is not any of the fountains or bridges or the numerous playgrounds that dot the expanse of the park. It’s this rolling stream flowing through a natural jungle gym of rocks called The Gorge from which the Gill flows into the Ramble.
He takes in everything with an insatiable curiosity — and no matter how many times we go and explore the park, it always has the appeal of a real adventure for him each and every time.
These days, it’s not as easy to make him pose for pictures anymore. Remember when your little one would so readily strike a pose and smile when you whipped out your camera? Even selfies take a little effort now — although the protests are not quite beyond mommy’s coaxing just yet. I usually get a good shot or two out of every half dozen which isn’t so bad. The threat of more pictures without a decent smile in the next one usually does it. Soon, I will have to blackmail him or use motherly persuasion (translated: threats) to get him to agree to be photographed… (Selfie tip if using an iPhone – use your headset volume switch as a remote for your camera. It does work!)
Lugging my DSLR-like camera, the blackberry and the iPhone, I still wish I had taken more pictures. I just want to capture everything about him.. well, there’s always the next time my little guy and I go explore Central Park.