Friday, June 15, 2012


1. orchid-kab Orchid in the Window

It is our last day in New York City. We’ve returned from our anniversary dinner and now it’s time to clean the apartment and pack our suitcases and the car. We’ve squeezed so many things into these last few days; birding, shopping, eating, sight-seeing, and more. We took in a play one night, and wandered the streets at will. But now as we collect dirty laundry or fold unused clothes back into our bags, it feels as if a great heaviness has settled on all of us. None of us wants to leave. I feel as if I have been in another world these past five days, but I am nature’s child, so why would I want to stay?

2. art everywhere-kab 

My brother has taught me to see New York City with new eyes. No longer do I fear the tall buildings and the endless asphalt. I have learned there is nature here as well, peeking out in-between bricks and mortar, or consuming multiple city blocks in the city’s vast parks. But it is not nature or lack of it that makes me reluctant to leave. So what is it? Is it the art I find everywhere and so readily accessible? Here in New York even dumpsters and donation boxes are painted artistically. Is this what I crave? Art at every corner?

3. trees n buildings-kab 

As I glance out the apartment window I look over the tops of trees that line the streets. This, too, amazed me about the city. I expected it to all be bare bricks, stone and asphalt, but I have learned that it is not. There is not a lot of space in this studio apartment with its 500 square feet, yet suddenly it hits me. Life is very simple here. Everything we need to live is contained within these 500 square feet. There is a bed, a bathroom and a kitchen. In one area we have a table to sit at, in another there are a couple of stuffed chairs for relaxing. This small space is so easy to clean, so more time may be spent outside watching birds or viewing art. If we needed anything to eat while we were here the grocery stores and restaurants were all within walking distance. If I want to be alone in nature, Central Park is just down the street. If I want to see a play or a movie, they are just a few steps out the door. In the first three days we were here alone and during that time Gus and I never took a cab or the subway, yet we never ran out of things to do! So this got me thinking; could one live as simply in the country as one can in the city and vice versa?

4. ny sky-kab 

While I am not ready to actually move to the city, could I replicate this simple life where I live? What if, instead of wanting a larger house, I lived in something smaller? I know I have friends who have done this in their own way by living in motor homes. Could I do that? Or, could I buy a piece of land and leave it mostly natural and just build a small house on it? We live in a world that teaches us bigger is better, but is it really? Or is it really just more time consuming? Life is so short. How do I want to spend my days? Polishing floors and mowing a lawn, or would I rather be outside hiking and bird watching? Would I rather spend my time with my family or working to pay for a big house? It makes me wonder if I have to
“own” the place I love, the things I love, or is it enough to just enjoy them while I can and then move on, keeping only memories?

5. good-bye-kab

I am not the first to say that we are only passing through this life, so as we drive away from the city I am left to ponder if I can have “more” in life by owning “less.” I used to have a bit of reverse snobbery, thinking of New York and New Yorkers as somehow having a more complicated and diminished life. I now know that living in New York can be one of the “greenest” things one can do for the planet by living in such compact housing and walking everywhere. Yet, this I know, I still need the sounds of nature around, and the wide open expanses of an unaltered earth. I need times where I cannot see or hear a manmade thing. Being in the natural world can sooth my soul. New York is another world, one which I hope to visit again. Nature and New York, I think I need them both. Besides, after this trip to the city I now know that there are warblers there!


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post Kathy. It is so nice to hear such a positive spin on living in a big city like New York. I've always been a little afraid of big cities but everyone I know who has visited NY has had a wonderful experience. We really should get up there and see it for ourselves. I visited once back in 1978 as a newlywed, and maybe the fact that I came from such a small village in England I found it terrifying. Perhaps now I am older and hopefully wiser, I will see it with different and 'open' eyes. As for your remarks on is smaller better? I personally am all for downsizing and feel less is more.

  2. Ups! I apologize for misspelling your name. I just spent the afternoon with my good friend "Kathy".

  3. Great post! Nature and New York, right on the mark....

  4. I love my little house on wheels but don't think I'd want it parked in NYC. Yet I'd like to explore the city.

  5. Kathie, I came to that realisation some 20 years ago. We don't "need" 90% of the things we have. My mansion in a 3 acre garden on the mountain overlooking our state's capital, fully furnished with antiques and Persian carpets, has been lonely for a good 15 years now as we cave contracted into a minimalist existence in the jockey's quarters on the farm. I need nature around me not houses. Living on 500 acres feels much more homely to me than within sight of the city lights. Thank goodness my grandson and partner will take over our house that takes too much time to clean and keep up. I'd be much happier in a log cabin in a forest clearing, 'far from the madding crowd'.

  6. Your thoughts after this trip were so interesting to read...I understand why NYC touched you so profoundly. Isn't it interesting that it always does in one way or another, to everyone who visits there. A new perspective...a new sense of life. Great post. Love the photos. This has been a wonderful series!

  7. Another interesting trip Kathie. The Orchid is quite beautiful.

  8. Great post, Kathie Beautiful orchid and sounds like you had a lovely visit in NYC. Have a great weekend!

  9. Just had to add, per your comment on my post that I'd adore it if I had bats at my hummingbird feeders! That would be so interesting! I don't have too much trouble with mold, since I have the feeders in the shade.

  10. What wonderful thoughts, Kathie. It is food for thought, how much we actually need.

    Your photography is fabulous!


  11. Hi Kathie

    We loved New York as well it is a city were there is always something to see. Of course we were staying by the Museum of Natural History and Central Park not Newark in the winter.
    However I loved the city and you are right a vibrant city with public art, museums, parks, and wonderful buildings lifts the soul more than material possessions and large homes. And we have agreed that should we ever win big on the lottery we will get a place in New York. And we will visit again.


  12. What a great post. I love your thoughts here. How fortunate you were to be able to experience the city like this.


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.