Saturday, June 27

Smiles in the Park

Everyone in Central Park was smiling this morning. And I know why. It wasn't raining! In fact, the sky was a gorgeous blue with wispy, happy clouds, not thunderheads for once. After more than a fortnight of waking up to leaden skies and daily downpours, a sunny day was what we all desperately needed. The spring we've endured makes us really appreciate the sunshine however long it lasts.

Look. I love rain as much as any sappy romantic. I love how it sounds. How everything smells clean afterwards. I just can't stand it every frickin' day. And that's how most of June has felt. Like we suddenly woke up in Seattle or London. It was really getting to me and my usual sunny disposition.

So when I peeked out my window early this morning and saw delightful bouncy pink clouds in field of actual blue, I almost danced a jig. And soon my little mutt Macaroon and I were on our way to Central Park to soak up a little fresh summer. It just couldn't have been more glorious. I mean, look at that!

If only this were Smell-A-Site so that you could drink in the magnificent linden trees blooming late this year and all around the Great Lawn. They are unbelievably fragrant. So perhaps it was the sun and the air that put the smile on my face today.

And maybe just maybe it was Saturday morning itself making me so darn happy. Ever since I was a little girl, Saturday morning has been my very favorite time. It's always new and so full of possibilities. An entire weekend stretches out before you early on Saturdays! All the time with so much to do. I just love it!

I listened to "Julie and Julia" on my way to the Park instead of music. Based on a blog, it's a very amusing book and next month, a promising movie -- I saw a trailer -- directed by Nora Ephron. I adore Nora Ephron. My writer's heart filled with envy. This woman started a blog, a witty blog and now she's been published and she even narrated the damn thing and then she sold it for the big screen? I mean, good for her, but I hate her. No, not her. Me! A moment of self-flagellation crept in. Nah! It's too gorgeous this morning! It's not even humid! Forget that. Put on some music.

Just then, inside the Park, hard by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "World" by Five For Fighting filling my ears, I saw Joy, a woman I know from my neighborhood. Only she wasn't walking her neurotic pitbull Basil. Hey, that's Dude! He's a Basenji and belongs to a woman I think of as "Dude's Mom." Dude's Mom and I exchange greetings but we've never exchanged names. That's not uncommon. And I'm sure I'm Macaroon's Mom to her. But what is Joy doing with Dude? This was a huge disconnect. Oh, she's walking him. Small dog world.

We caught up as we never seem to do on her block. We're always in a rush. I mentioned the audiobook I'm listening to. She's aware that books can be downloaded for free from the public library. I just love telling people about that! And then we talk about blogs and it is Joy -- how perfect! -- who tells me how very easy it would be for me to start my very own blog. Hmm.

Along came a dear friend, Lynne and her Brussels Griffon, Gidget, strolling along with a woman and her Cairn. We've met before but I can't remember her name. Oh, dear. I hate when I do that. It's so embarrassing, but she's kind. It wasn't a Sophomore Moment, though. And by the way, I refuse to call them Senior Moments. No. I've done this my whole life and I have to work at remembering people and their names. I could never run for public office. Well, there are a lot of reasons why. But that's definitely one.

Regina! Hi, Regina. (Regina! I'm going to remember her name.) And her very cute terrier, Tucker, wearing a muzzle. Does he eat garbage? I guessed. Yes! she says and looks grateful. Usually people think he bites. I wish I could make Tucker understand that life can be simple: If you don't eat crap, you don't need a muzzle. I could almost picture that on a T shirt.

Lynne, Gidget, Regina, Tucker, Macaroon and I walk toward the Great Lawn, through the muddy Greywacke arch, enjoying each other's company, our dogs and the glorious morning. Regina's a tree expert volunteer! She helps the city. How wonderful! The poor street trees need all the help they can get.

I told her how one year the city planted a small pear tree on my block in the middle of a horrific drought and how I got my super to give me access to a hose and how for months on end I would take my plastic pails down and fill them, like Mickey's Sorcerer's Apprentice, except unfortunately they didn't multiply. I just refilled and lugged. Refilled and lugged, watering every tree and plant bed on the south side of my block. "You saved the pear!" she exclaimed. Yes, I did. And I'm a little proud of myself.

Right by Cleopatra's Needle I spotted a little sign with a phone number. Oh, look, guys! The new system of celebrity recordings. Let's call! I whipped out my cell phone and we listened to someone-- I didn't hear the name and or recognize the voice -- tell the history of the famous obelisk, the oldest object in Central Park. Oh, goodie, it's not me! As we listen and look, a Chocolate Lab was taking an unceremonius dump on the lawn. We called to the couple walking ahead to inform them of their duty. Ahem. They weren't listening. Oh, great. I hate dog walkers like that. They make us all look bad. But then we realized they weren't the owners. She was walking towards us with another Lab. We pointed to the spot and she seemed grateful, as I am, to be told. Most doggers are. But in any case we totally lost the thread of the story of Cleopatra's Needle, and my battery was running low anyway. Nuts. Who was that? I asked. Lynne said it sounded like a Rockefeller. Maybe it was Clark, I suggested archly. "Phoning from prison," said Lynne. And we laughed.

And merrily around the Great Lawn we walked. Lynne told Regina she really should make a sign to hang on the sweet, innocent Tucker whose muzzle scares people. What should it say? Eats garbage, not kids? And then it hit me! Not vicious. Voracious.

A tiny brindle Dachsie waddled up to our group. Lynne's turn to forget a name. Harley! Yes, what a cute dog. Suddenly Macaroon was in love! This doesn't happen often. Macaroon thinks dogs are okay. It's people he adores. But once in a while he's smitten. Thank goodness I had my camera with and could capture that rare moment of canine love.
[You can see it on youtube. My videos of Macaroon, other dogs and butterflies are posted under the name I also use here-- kellabeck.]
And it's summer. The sun is shining. And I am still smiling.