I feel like I’ve walked into that iconic image from “When Harry Met Sally”.* Okay, so it’s Prospect Park, not Central Park, and I’m by myself and not hanging out with a young Billy Crystal, but fall has come to New York City and it’s glorious.
It doesn’t hurt that the temperature is around sixty-five degrees.
I’ve already waxed a little too poetic about my love of fall these past few weeks, so I apologize now for all that’s to come. All I can say is that it’s my absolute favorite season and I know it will end far too soon, so it’s time to savor it.
I’m sitting on a bench next to one of the park’s paths and there are leaves everywhere on the ground. They rustled as I kicked them on my way to the bench. They’re mostly yellow and brown, but across the path I see some red mixed in. An older couple pauses to pick up some especially beautiful ones. I try to ignore the garbage mixed in to the carpet of leaves—there’s not too much of it, and the leaves smell so lovely, I can’t care.
I really should remember what kinds of trees these are. One is a maple—easy enough to distinguish—but my leaf-identifying days are too far behind me to be of any use. I crunched some acorns under my foot on my way over so there must be oak trees. One of my favorite trees when I was growing up didn’t turn pretty colors, just brown. It was the magnolia in our back yard, and I remember loving those leaves’ distinctive smell and how they felt like suede between my fingers.
Last fall at this time, Prospect Park was a sad place to visit. Superstorm Sandy had torn up trees and cracked branches and blown the leaves to the ground. It’s wonderful to see the trees getting ready for winter as they normally do, instead of the process being rushed. And it’s wonderful to see all the people out, biking, jogging, rollerblading, walking and talking, or just walking. Or just sitting, like me.
If I were eight years old, I’d find a rake and make a big pile out of all these leaves. I’d find a friend, and we’d jump into them. And then we’d stare up at the sky and talk about nothing.
Actually, that sounds pretty nice. But let’s skip the leaf pile part, because like I said, there’s trash under these leaves.
*After this outing I went home and watched “When Harry Met Sally”, because how could I not?
Some photos from the ramble I took after writing this. Enjoy, and then tell me about your favorite places to spot fall foliage, in NYC and elsewhere.