Fall sunset

Tangerine sky, robin chirping somewhere in the woods,
smell of ripe earth, color all around,
FALL arrives with a spectacle. 
~ Hints Of Life

Fall sunset @Hudsonriver

As the Sun melts behind the horizon Fall sunset

As her feet moved forward, her legs felt like lead weight and lungs endured a burning sensation. The crisp cold air whistled through her ears, making her soft curls sing to its rhythm. In the backdrop of the gorgeous fall sunset, she finished her 4 miles run at the edge of Boat Basin Café at River Side Park. Her favorite go to spot on weekday evenings, Boat Basin café is located on the scenic Hudson River with in the historic walls of the 79th street Boat Basin. In simple words, the café is a casual open air treasure overlooking the Hudson River and has some of the best sunset views in New York city.

Recuperating from her rigorous run, Meena was suddenly aware of her numb cheeks and, more so of her beautiful surroundings. Standing at the fifth step leading to the café she marveled at the beautiful red and orange colors of the sunset. The universe never failed to surprise her. And fall is its most treasured time.

To seize the moment, she squeezed her eyes close, as tight as she could (subconsciously), and thought of all her favorite fall memories. Heartwarming and soothing, they came dashing into her conscious like stories from her favorite books. The awful, wonderful brightness of sunrise and sunset colors. The light fog in the evenings and the morning dew on her bedroom glass window. The smell of the hard, pale wood sending up sharp, orange smoke into the night. The feel of the mellow, golden sun on her skin, sometimes more gentle and cozier and more golden than even the light of her favorite reading nook at the close of the day. (Source: Catherynne M. Valente)

Fall sunset @Hudsonriver_1

Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there. Rumi

Tangerine phenomenon
Not just the changing color of the trees but the tangerine, vivid sunsets makes fall a beautiful experience. But what is the science behind the phenomenon?

When it comes to getting great sunrise and sunset photos, late fall and winter are perhaps the best time of year to find success. There are two reasons why the winter months offer up the greatest opportunities. The first reason is that the sun rises later and sets earlier so you don’t have to get up at a frighteningly early hour or stay out past dinner time to capture the beauty. The second reason is a bit more scientific.

The colors of a sunrise or sunset are based on how light is entering and traveling through the atmosphere. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tells us that dust and pollution particles in the air scatter light and reduce how much makes it to the ground, and thus reduces the intensity of colors at sunrise and sunset. So, when it’s hazy out, the sunrise or sunset colors will be more muted. When the air is crisp and clear, these twilight hours will offer up more vibrant colors. NOAA states, “Because air circulation is more sluggish during the summer, and because the photochemical reactions which result in the formation of smog and haze proceed most rapidly at that time of the year, late fall and winter are the most favored times for sunrise and sunset viewing over most of the United States. (Source: Mother Nature Network)

Fall sunset @Hudsonriver_2

Goodbye Summer, coz Fall has arrived

Living in the moment is her life mantra. Seated at a table for two by a charming waiter, she inhaled the sweet; crisp breeze and, prepared herself  to embrace the colder and darker winter. The most beautiful time of the year, “Fall is the only season when the earth lets itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” Rainer Maria Rilke describes fall with such beauty and elegance.

Like Meena are you enjoying the joys of fall? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.

Happy Fall! 🙂

Recommended article:
https://weather.com/news/news/autumn-sunsets-20121018_immersive

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/publications/corfidi/sunset/

Source: 
https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/why-sunrises-are-more-amazing-in-winter

 

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Sunbathing turtles

A turtle is not just a fascinating species, but a silent teacher. ~ Hints Of Life

Red-eared turtle

A group of Red-eared slider turtles basking in the sun at Central Park

Try to be like a turtle- at ease in your own shell, Bill Copeland. The beautiful thought captured my conscience after my visit to Central Park on August, 13. Oftentimes, you want to enjoy the experience in solitude for a while before penning down your thoughts on paper or a blog. Such is the case with my new post ‘Sunbathing turtles’.

It was a surprise scene at the Lake in Central Park as I and many other park lovers witnessed a very pleasant sight- numerous, beautiful red-eared turtles sunbathing around the 18 acre lake. The turtles coexisting in the environment with you. Stretching their limbs right at your feet and even posing for the camera was quite an enthralling experience.

Red-eared turtle_1

A gorgeous red-eared slider turtle at the Lake, Central Park

Red-Eared slider
Red-eared sliders are a solitary species, but they do “socialize” during mating season. Most turtles do not venture too far from their established fresh water habitat unless searching for a mate or nest site.

Red-Eared slider sunbathing: Heat absorption is more effective when their limbs are stretched outwards. Red-eared sliders are almost entirely aquatic, but as they are cold-blooded, they leave the water to sunbathe to regulate their temperature.

These turtles are poikilotherms, meaning they are unable to regulate their body temperatures independently; they are completely dependent on the temperature of their environment. For this reason, they need to sunbathe frequently to warm themselves and maintain their body temperatures.

Red-eared turtle_2

A Yellow belly slider turtle drying itself on a rock near the Lake

Though most of the turtles were basking alone in the sun (as you see in the pictures), I spotted a group of turtles sunbathing together on a rock (in the first picture) and a baby turtle swimming near by. It was a beautiful sight which attracted a lot of kids and their parents. I was also able to spot a rare Yellow bellied slider turtle on the south-west side of the Lake, stretching its limbs, drying itself on a beautiful summer day.

Yellow bellied slider
Yellow bellied sliders are aquatic turtles. This means they spend most of their time in the water but unlike amphibians, they need to be able to get out of the water to dry off and breath. Yellow bellied sliders do not have gills. They grow to be almost a foot long, are excellent swimmers, and live well over 20 years. They are cousins to the red eared slider and have almost identical care requirements.

The Video

The first turtles that made Central Park their home were pet turtles released into the Park’s man-made fresh water ponds by their owners in 1980’s, since then their population has grown tremendously. The most common among them were the red-eared slider turtles. In addition, snapping turtles, painted turtles, musk turtles and some yellow-bellied sliders that hail from the Southeast make up the turtle family at Central Park.

As I walked through the Lake into the ramble at the Upper Westside, my day was filled with joy, a sense of fulfillment griped my mind, body and soul. It was a day well spent in the company of nature.

Recommended article:
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/warm-weather-turtle-lovers-warning-reptiles-article-1.1036724

Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-eared_slider

https://www.thespruce.com/yellow-bellied-sliders-1238384?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=shareurlbuttons_nip

 

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The Lake

Sometimes, a walk by the Lake is therapeutic. ~ Hints Of Life

The Lake

The view of The Lake at Central Park

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains- Diane Ackerman. Such our my feels except instead of the mountains it was a beautiful walk by the Lake at Central Park.

It was a perfect Sunday in New York city with abundant sunshine and an everlasting blue horizon. The one day in the week to laze and relax. After a late brunch with my husband at Vive La Crepe on Columbus Avenue between West 68th & 69th street, we decided to head to Central Park for a walk. Our walk started right from our brunch spot as Central Park was just a 10 minute walk from there.

Mallard Ducks

A school of Mallard Ducks attracted quite an audience

The Lake
The Lake that is spread over 20-acre is the largest of Central Park’s naturalistic water bodies. It is located Mid-Park from West 71st to West 78th Streets. Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux created the Lake from a former swamp, for boating in the summer and ice-skating in the winter.

In 2012 the Central Park Conservancy completed the comprehensive restoration of the Lake and its surrounding landscapes. With the water’s edge having slowly crumbled and eroded through the years, the Conservancy set out in 2006 to stabilize its shoreline.

What the team did..?
The team excavated and removed excess sediments, then reconstructed the shoreline with rustic boulders on a stabilized gravel base. Using coir logs, created from the binding of coconut fibers with biodegradable netting, the Conservancy reconstructed the vast shoreline staked at the base of the slope where the normal water level meets the shoreline, the logs serve to protect the Lake’s edge from erosion until plants can become established. The coir logs are a sustainable solution to the Lake’s restoration, and one that’s helping preserve the beauty of its lush landscapes and the health of its wildlife habitat.

The Lake_Flowers

Black-eyed Susan blooming at the foot of The Lake

As we entered the park from West 71 street entrance, it took us to the Lake through the Strawberry Fields. A living memorial to the world-famous singer, songwriter and peace activist, John Lennon. It was serene and tranquil as we circled  the Lake at medium pace. At the North-West side of the Lake we were greeted by a school of handsome male Mallard ducks, who attracted quite an audience for themselves.  It was a sight to watch them swim in the water and listen to their quack.

Just ahead I spotted a beautiful bed of Black-eyed Susan flowers. The flower a deep yellow with a dominant black center is native to the United States. It is a very versatile plant and can grow in damp to dry and sunny to shady conditions. The Black-eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland.

A World-Class Urban Park, Central Park is just the kind of escape one needs in the Big Apple, which records the highest population density of any major city in the United States, with over 27,000 people per square mile.

So fellas make your way to the park soon!

Source:
http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/lake.html
http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/bloom-guide/blooms/black-eyed-susan.html?season=
https://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/data-maps/nyc-population/population-facts.page

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Shakespeare Garden

Parks are a bouquet of blossoming flowers, created by mankind, a tribute for his love for nature ~ Hints Of Life

Shakespeare Garden

The staircase leading to Shakespeare Garden at Central Park

The summer days in Central Park are marvelous and the sublime beauty of its surroundings is breathtaking. One often sees people looking for cool spots to spend time relaxing and enjoying their day in the company of nature. And I was ‘one’ among many others with the same idea – a cool, quiet spot for some ‘me’ time in the gorgeous summer afternoon.

Trying my luck and taking my chances I started walking around the park looking for that ideal spot. And who would have know, in the next 20 minutes I was standing in the Shakespeare Garden just as I passed through ‘The Swedish Cottage’. The Garden is nestled between Belvedere Castle and The Swedish Cottage. Known to be one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Central Park, this was a perfect spot for me to read my current book- Lady Almina and the real Downton Abbey and savor some delicious butter croissants and lemonade. For my readers who loved the Emmy Award-winning show Downton Abbey and were teary eyed as the show ended on December 25, 2015, this book is a great read. Based on real-life inspiration and setting, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon. The book will take you into the real life of real characters.

Shakespeare Garden_3

The beautiful bench was my companion for the afternoon

Shakespeare Garden
Shakespeare gardens, created out of reverence for the bard, can be found throughout many locations in both the US and Britain. Of these gardens, one of the most famous is that found in Central Park, located on the West Side of the park and 79th street.

Formerly known as the Garden of the Heart, in 1916, the Garden was renamed the Shakespeare Garden to mark the 300th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Following in the tradition of already established Shakespeare Gardens, the Garden was filled with the beautiful plants and flowers mentioned in the works of the playwright, as well as those featured in his own private garden in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Sitting on the lovely bench in the Garden (as shown in the second picture) I relished the sweet smell of the roses around me. Quiet, peaceful and quaint the other occupants in the Garden were a few couples, and some pass byers. As I walked around the garden I identified some flowers like Catmint and Annabelle Hydrangea.

The Garden covers four acres of plants that change according to season. Included among these are plants such as rosemary and pansies, alluded to by Ophelia in Hamlet, thistle, mentioned in the play Much Ado About Nothing, and even a white mulberry tree that is said to have grown from a graft of a tree planted by Shakespeare himself in 1602. To aid you in your quest to identify the various species of plant life located within the space, bronze plaques with corresponding quotations from Shakespeare’s plays have been placed sporadically along the path. The Garden is located near the Delacorte Theatre, the site of the annual “Shakespeare in the Park” series held in the summer. Anyone visiting Central Park in the summer, Shakespeare in the Park is highly recommend, a must watch.

Due to its serene and romantic atmosphere, the Garden is also a popular spot for wedding ceremonies which you might witness while visiting the Garden on a Sunday afternoon.

Hey New Yorkers, so is ‘Shakespeare Garden’ the next Sunday spot for you? Do share your comments below.

Sources:
About Shakespeare Garden
http://www.centralpark.com/guide/attractions/shakespeare-garden.html

© All rights reserved  © hintsoflifesite.com

Northern Cardinal

Some days,
sing a song to your heart, to your soul
Some days,
sing a song to nature, because nature is a remarkable listener. ~ Hints Of Life

Path @ Central Park Conservancy

As I stepped inside Central Park after nearly four weeks, I saw the spell of Spring everywhere. The entire park was lush green, radiant like an ancient forest. The tall umber-green trees hovered over me all around.  In moments, I realized, how much I had missed the park, the quiet walks through the serene, abundant natural beauty. A gush of happiness, smile on my lips and the feeling of witnessing pure ‘Magic’ filled me as I stared into the greenery. Just staring into nature can be so soothing to one’s eyes. And inhaling the fresh, organic smells in the park can be a complete therapeutic experience for the senses.

Standing near the Conservatory Water  mid way in the park I could only think of one word ‘Wondrous’. It’s amazing how the same place in the park can feel so magical and different every time you visit. Like the Central Park Conservancy, my current most favorite part of the park. A friend of mine said to me once and I quote him here  ‘It’s like watching the same place, the same surroundings but with different eyes’. Two months ago I was in awe of the naked trees and open, wide landscape and today I see every corner lush green.

My adventure didn’t end here, just steps away from me I spotted a male Northern Cardinal dancing and doodling on the foliage behind some branches at the Conservancy. Probably searching for seeds and insects under the foliage. It was such a sight to watch him. Sometimes he disappeared behind the branches and other times made his presence felt completely as if playing hide and seek. He was so delightful and irresistible, I captured the detectable bird with tinge of red all over him in my camera – sealing the moment for ever.

@ Central ParkNorthern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal nests year around in Central Park. These birds are a perfect combination of familiarity, conspicuousness, and style in the park: a shade of red you can’t take your eyes off. Even the brown females sport a sharp crest and warm red accents. Cardinals don’t migrate and they don’t molt into a dull plumage, so they’re still breathtaking in winter snow. In summer, their sweet whistles are one of the first sounds of the morning.

Cardinals usually raise two broods of young in a year. Unlike most Northern songbirds the female also sings, often from the nest, what may be a call to her mate. Cardinal pairs have song phrases that they share. If you carefully listen to them on the first sunny days on late winter, you may hear sounds like ‘Cheer, cheer, cheer’ or a short ‘Chink’ sound.

@ Central Park1Central Park is home to umpteen species of birds. In my research I found that since the creation of Central Park, more than 280 bird species have been recorded, 192 are regular visitors or year-round residents and over 88 are infrequent or rare visitors. Isn’t it so fascinating? Considered as one of the best birding spots in the United States, the park attracts birders from all over the world. The park also provides guided bird watching tours in Spring and Fall.

So, do you feel pepped-up to sign-up for a bird watching tour at Central Park soon? Do share your thoughts in the comments section.

Sources: http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/cardinal.htm
http://www.nycaudubon.org/manhattan-birding/central-park

Harmony

When there is calm within oneself, even the thorns appear harmless. ~ Hints Of Life

Flower@CentralPark_copy

After a bleak rainy Saturday, the sun shone like a lady dressed in gold on Sunday morning. The Upper West Side was glowing under its golden rays depicting a beautiful Spring day.  The nature’s color added much serenity to the atmosphere. The feeling of bliss enrobed me from inside out. As much as I want to dwell on the beautiful, sunny Sunday, it would be unfair to totally forget the rain drenched Saturday.

Languorously, I starred at the rain, which was coming down in heavy sheets since early Saturday morning, and continued throughout the day. After much contemplation, I decided to stay home and enjoy the rain vicariously through the huge south-west facing  windows in my living room. It was a day to savor on a large mug of hot-chocolate and read my current favorite book, A House Somewhere: Tales of life abroad. Beautifully written the book includes original contributions by Isabel Allende, Jan Morris, and Simon Winchester (A good recommendation for readers who appreciate travel writing).

…I know well the delectable thrill of moving into a new house somewhere altogether else, in somebody else’s county, where the climate is different, where the mundane preoccupations of life at home don’t seem to apply and it is even fun to go shopping – Jan Morris.

My favorite lines from the book so far. I even went ahead and clipped it on my ‘Thoughts’ board in a colorful handwriting. I like to write down anything that inspires me or is plain beautiful. Because you never know when these words would uplift your sprits any given day, inspiring you to do something more with your life. I read and read for most of the day and the profound words transported me to many different destinations, giving my imagination wings to fly like the Blackpoll Warbler. A tiny, gorgeous bird that makes the longest overwater journey of any songbird, flying nearly 1,800 miles nonstop over the Atlantic Ocean to its wintering grounds every year. Isn’t that outstanding?

When I read such courageous stories, my belief in harmony (within oneself) and self-belief becomes stronger than ever before. As Sallust rightly said,  Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.

 

 

 

Winter thoughts

The crisp winter smell, pine needles, wood smoke, snow – it’s winter in New York.

img_1519

The leafless tress so picturesque, I want to believe it’s a dream in a dream. Icy air a whistle in my ears, fingers and toes numb, a deep breath in and a slow breath out- I am humming the winter song. The air feels soo fresh and pure, I smell coffee brewing somewhere in a café on 72nd St., the roads are empty- no sign of a soul, suddenly everything seems quieter, almost muffed. I am bundled in layers of clothes but the felling is still soo good.

The simplicity of winter has deep moral. The return of nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread. – John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” Such plain beautiful words, warms one’s heart on a dead winter night. It is the poetry that makes my winter calming and special. And a good cuppa coffee is never missed.

Feel the winter folks, experience it, it’s magical! Let your thoughts wonder, let them fly high in the unknown spaces, let them discover the undiscovered. It is in winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. – John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,”

With winter and only winter in my thoughts, I await the new adventures in store for me- the whiteness, the purity, the splendid winter snow.

 

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