We are into 2021 and while I always wonder when we step into a new year that how do we set boundaries on something as amorphous as time, yet I guess such compartmentalization brings hope and renewed vigor in its own way. The tumultuous year that 2020 has been is magically not going to disappear since it is 2021. And yet, people around the world have ushered in the new year with muted celebrations cause that’s human nature! We are resilient and brimming with hope, mostly.
For the last 2-3 years on the last day of December, I have been going out to a park nearby in an attempt to take pictures of the sunset/dusk or whatever Nature chooses to let me. It was a rainy day this year and yet I went on out to the soggy field and this is what is on my phone for the last day of last year. There was no sunset to photograph but this tree stood out to me and after clicking around in an almost desolate setting, I took this picture. I don’t know what it is but I do find such trees to be imposing and almost, brave.
Wishing you all a year filled with hope and peace. Posted for bushboy
In March when the severity of the pandemic started hitting us here in the US, winter was coming to an end and we were looking forward to spring. Little did we know, like everyone else, how drastically different that spring would be. As would summer and fall.
While life as we knew came to a halt, more severely for some than others, the natural world around us kept following its course and we took solace in its beauty. Vacations had to be skipped and maybe we missed capturing gorgeous sunrises or sweeping views from the mountain tops, but that perhaps gave us a chance to explore what we see everyday but maybe do not appreciate as much.
We cooked a lot more at home for sure!
And just like that December rolled in and while many places around the world are in the grasp of the pandemic more than before, there is a ray of hope that was no where near the horizon when all of this began. Tireless efforts by the medical world with the whole world rooting for them on in their own way, the world may be a brighter place soon. Festivities will have more cheer as we will be able to hug our loved ones and travel freely and the playgrounds will be as noisy as they are supposed to be. Till then, we will have to hold on for a little longer.
Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe. Stay kind. Posted for Amanda’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.
“ I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers“- Anne of Green Gables
With no vacations or even a small road trip this year, we enjoyed the crisp and bright days of autumn in our neighborhood and through occasional visits to some nearby parks. And I am grateful for that.
Fall is on its way out here in Jersey and the bare branches against the evening sky of violet and pink and grey often remind me of Joyce’s Araby. The street lights, children’s voices echoing through the streets and a chilly evening air complete my reminiscence of North Richmond Street.
The other day, while going through some of my keepsake boxes I came across bits and pieces of memories and as I went through each of those (and there were quite a lot), I realized how every single one of those had a story of its own, the very reason we have such boxes! As specifics other than the obvious ones kept getting tossed around in my mind, I figured out I was storing not just the one memory attached to one thing, but a host of others as well that had crept their way into each, with time. And I was reminded again that the most beautiful, the most precious things in life can never be things. Those are always people and the moments that we create with them, those are frowns and tears, smiles and giggles, celebrations and losses.
I found a pendant that I had bought for my Ma back in 2008 from Japan. I saw a diaper ( a fresh one of course!) that was from the first box of diapers we had bought for our son. Among other things, I found ticket stubs of a movie we went to for our 5th anniversary , a lunch receipt from the restaurant we had our meal on the day we moved into our current apartment, a bracelet gifted to me when I was 14 years old by my then best friend. Old albums brought back memories of last day of school, of my then 89 year old grandmother who had made the journey from her home to ours to attend my wedding, of a neighbor who had made time to surprise and see me off at the airport when I was leaving for Japan. My first crush, my first fight with my best friend, the one and only day I was reprimanded by a teacher in high school, the time I heard about one of closest friend’s decision to end her marriage, the first time I spoke with and advocated for a victim of domestic abuse and countless such moments are carefully stored in pockets of my mind and heart. And, it suddenly dawned on me that I am a mosaic of all the people I have loved and held dear and of all those who have loved and cared for me. We all are.
In all that we do, that love shines through in its own way. Sometimes it comes to us through the smell that fills our kitchens, the very smell that used to fill the kitchens of our childhood at our parents’ place and sometimes it informs our parenting style. From simple things like the habit of always mixing a salty snack with something sweet ( I get this from my father) to the reason some songs sound more magical, it influences our reactions to situations and moments, it lets us make choices and it works with our own understanding of the matters of the heart and the world to help us move forward in life. The innate characteristics that define the ‘I‘, are not only our people and our experiences, old traditions and the ones we start on our own, the life we have left behind and the one that we currently lead, they also are a million other bits and pieces from all across the universe. These come floating by through the changing seasons, through revolutions that bring about change, through portraits of places far and wide, through the words that are carefully chosen for biographies that find place in our nightstands, through our daily strifes as well as stories of success. We are the custodians of all these and so much more.
I like the title “Whilst Walking’! There is something in the word ‘whilst’ …almost an old world charm, a place where one may embark upon a leisurely stroll down cobbled roads, with quaint and happy colored houses, with flower pots hanging on the window sill and maybe a whiff of a peach cobbler mixed with the smell of a cold winter afternoon! And it makes me happy to be able to participate in Amanda’s challenge after a long time. Life in lock down has been different for sure, both challenging and, at times, filled with little surprises. Considering we have been in this mode since March, seasons have come and gone and our neighborhood was all that we had to celebrate them with. I have taken more pictures than I should have probably, but then again, can you ever have enough pictures?
Summer was a happy time and any bend or turn welcomed me with flowers. This white flower, the name of which I know not, had the smell of the ‘gondhoraj lebu‘ (the king of lemons, lebu being the Bengali word for lime/lemon)- more here) and as is the case with me, for a brief moment transported me to my grandparents’ garden that had two trees of this plant and another of the equally aromatic and juicy kagji lebu (another kind of lime, that is close to the regular lime found here in North America). There was a beautiful jasmine tree and a big guava tree, and once we were there, the busy road right outside the big walls and that big iron gate, somehow ceased to bother us with its cacophony.
We have been visiting the grounds of Princeton University for nine years now and they still mesmerize me just as much as they did the first time I looked up at the grand buildings and the ivy back in 2011. It goes without saying that this was our solace during these past few months, the only place we visited and sought some form of normalcy. It was a different summer but it was beautiful nonetheless.
Sometimes, if we look around we can see how perfect nature is. We just have to be willing to see.
And just like that we slipped into the bright and colder days of autumn. The rebellious and riotous red and the golden yellow and vibrant orange leaves dazzled against a blue sky that can be found only during these months of pumpkin spiced lattes. They have now transformed into the trees of Christmas cards and story books, of frosty mornings and snowy nights.
Seasons have come and gone and soon we shall be stepping into another year that will usher in spring once again. What has been lost this year cannot be put into words. The heart feels heavy and it also fills with gratitude. Gratitude for family and friends, for scientists, doctors, nurses and all those in the medical world, for the front line workers, emergency responders, journalists, for the power of democracy and advocacy, for those who stand tall and stand brave in the face of all opposition. For those who inspire and for those who our kids look up to. For people who don’t give up on those and what they love.