Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sailor Monuments and Garden People

Last week I took a walk on a hot, humid summer evening through Riverside Park, heading south. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, just to walk. It's been my experience lately that just taking an unplanned walk somewhere, whether it's Aran or NYC, can lead me to unexpected discoveries.

First I came across the garden at 91st Street, famous as the meeting place in the movie You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks finally lock lips.

Photo courtesy of the Garden People
It's truly a beautiful spot, and the flowers were in full bloom. I noticed some people moving about amongst the flowers behind the metal fence, gardening and weeding, who didn't look like NYC Parks employees. They were wearing their own clothes and straw hats. I approached one of them who had a clipboard, and it turns out that they are The Garden People, a group of volunteers who take care of this garden. I put down my name, and plan to go volunteer this weekend or next. I got the green thumb from my day gardening at Killeany Lodge, I suppose. And before I try to make some sort of window herb garden in my apartment, it will be great to learn from some more experienced gardeners how it's done.

I've had this parsley plant since Saturday. If I can keep it alive for two weeks, I think about adding some basil.

Poor little parsley plant in a barely sunny New York City apartment window
But I really am looking forward to working on a garden in New York, especially a garden as beautiful as the one on 91st Street. I can imagine that it would give me some sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing I helped to make my neighborhood a greener, prettier place. So I'll let you know how that goes.

The other discovery I made wasn't exactly a new one: I walked past the Soldiers and Sailors monument a few blocks down on 89th street. The monument commemorates those who fought for the Union during the Civil War. The monument is inscribed with the names of the enlisted who fought and died, and it's about 29 meters tall.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Riverside Park, New York City
Seeing this monument dedicated to soldiers and sailors immediately brought to my mind the monuments on Inishmore that line the roads in both Eochaill and Killeany. These were erected to commemorate sailors lost at sea, and are also inscribed with the names of the dead.

The scale and construction are certainly different, but the sentiments are similar. A stone structure, something that seems permanent and solid, to commemorate lives that have been lost.

The more I look, the more connections abound between Aran and New York. People are people, no matter where you live.

No comments:

Post a Comment