The Park (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
The prosperous and beautiful
To me seem not to wear
The yoke of conscience masterful,
Which galls me everywhere.
I cannot shake off the god;
On my neck he makes his seat;
I look at my face in the glass,
My eyes his eye-balls meet.
Your gold makes you seem wise:
The morning mist within your grounds
More proudly rolls, more softly lies.
Yet spake yon purple mountain,
Yet said yon ancient wood,
That night or day, that love or crime
Lead all souls to the Good.
You and me together we’ll be
Forever you’ll see
We two can be good company
You and me
Yes, together we two
Together, that’s you
Forever with me
We’ll always be good company
You and me
Yes, together we’ll be
You and me
Together we’ll be
Forever, you’ll see
We’ll always be good company
You and me
Just wait and see
John Muir rightly said “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
Never did I venture out alone during my 3 yrs stay in the US. I was always accompanied by someone in my evening or morning walks. It’s not because I was scared or something but it just happened to be so. Earlier, when we lived in Chicago, 2 years back, I happened to meet a lady with whom I became friends and together we used to plan our outings after hubby left for work. Then, when we moved to Minnesota, for a while I had stopped my exercises due to my back pain and soon became sickly. Hubby decided to motivate me to walk again and joined me in my evening hikes. He would drive me to different lakes near our home (after all Minnesota is a land of 10,000 lakes) and then after parking the car we would walk round the lake. But that didn’t last long as he often had to come late from office. So my walks stopped again.
But after many a distressful shopping blunders, the realization daunted on me that I need to do something of my ever growing potbelly. So, I decided to take advantage of the good weather and start my morning walks after hubby left for work. So, bidding him adieu, the other day and armed with a water bottle and my Samsung galaxy, I stepped out of my cozy den. I could feel the fresh air against my face after being inside the warm heated apartment. A cool breeze was blowing and I was glad I wore the thicker sweatshirt. You don’t know the outside temperature unless you step out and very often I had suffered because of my miscalculations.
I felt confident and happy to have taken the decision and with a hidden smile on my face I took the familiar path round the lake just behind my apartment. There is a small wood at the very entrance of the path where I often went with hubby to click photos.
But today was slightly different as I was alone. I was expecting more people to be running and jogging but perhaps I was one of those few who stayed at home while others rushed to work at that hour. However, I started my walk speeding up my pace and slowing down in between not to get tired. As I reached the densest part of the wood, some creepy feelings disturbed me thanks to the horror movies and thriller serials that I was addicted to. As I approached a fork, I heard voices and saw two men approaching. All the weird and crazy images from the Criminal minds serial came into my mind and I even had visions of my battered lifeless body lying amidst a huge pile of fallen autumn leaves. I held tight to my phone and water bottle in case I needed them. Unaware of my thoughts, the two men walked past me as they chatted away with each other. I caught my normal breath only when the men disappeared in the opposite direction.
From then on I relaxed and decided not to listen to my thoughts and enjoy the scene along the way. I realized that Fall was not yet over and there were colorful trees all around. I took out my Samsung and started clicking photos. Seeing me do that, a cyclist stopped to comment on the view. This time fortunately my mind was cleared off of all the thriller scenes and happily responded to him. I even clicked a photo of him riding away which made a great picture.
I continued my solitary walk and was just halfway through when I heard a gagling noise overhead. Through the leaves of the trees, I saw a flight of migratory birds in a skein. I was so mystified and fascinated by this aerial spectacle that I forgot to click and by the time I could, they were out of range. I was almost depressed when suddenly I could hear them again and this time I didn’t want to let go the chance and quickly got a few pictures. I felt as if they heard my sadness and returned to make me happy. I felt so thankful to them.
Happy at my accomplishment I continued my journey enjoying everything I saw.
A man was cleaning away the fallen leaves.
The bushes along the roadside seemed to fire up.
I was tempted to rest for a while on the bench when I saw the following sign. It seemed to indicate that if you want that size then go ahead and sit. I felt a kind of sarcasm on whoever had made that drawing but also felt thankful and my desire to rest vanished immediately.
It was a 3 ½ miles walk round the lake and at first I was doubtful of completing it. But I didn’t realize how time flew as I was busy clicking pictures all through my hike.It seemed even nature around me was inspiring me to go on.
‘The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.’ Charles Dickens
Taking a glimpse at the last few days of fall in Minnesota. Whatever time of the season, the riot of colors in the atmosphere is obvious. The red and yellow and orange seems to blend with the fading green making the landscape burn in hue.
These are a few snapshots I took in and around Minnesota arboretum.
How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days. ~John Burroughs
The colors seem to be shrieking out loud so bright and joyful they seemed to be.
On our way back from India, on 4th October, we decided to make a brief stop at Paris and Switzerland. It was a sudden decision, so not much planning was possible. We made some quick research work on possible places to visit but all went in vain. We had a pretty hectic 2 weeks schedule in India running around places and visiting families. Finally when we were leaving the country, the mood for Paris or Switzerland was almost a distant dream. At first we thought we wouldn’t make it and on setting foot in Paris the morning of 4th Oct, the rainy weather added to our gloom. However, we made the most of what we could and saw at least some parts of Paris…the city of lights.
We reached our hotel Ibis at around 10 am and asked for an early check-in but the room was not available and so had to leave our luggage in the locker. We did not have any warm clothes and the weather being pretty cold we decided to go shopping. The helpful man at the front desk suggested us to take bus no. 14 and go into the city but also warned us of pick pockets. However, once we were near the Notre dame the driver asked us to get down as it was the last stop. We decided to stroll around and see what we could but couldn’t detect a single clothes’ shop. We stopped at a restaurant and ordered two pizzas (small sizes). The Indian taste buds wanted more spice in it but the hungry stomach gobbled it.
It was past noon and so we decided to return to the hotel to check in and clean ourselves before venturing out again. After resting for some time, we decided not to waste the day and got out of the hotel. We wanted to take the same bus which stopped behind our hotel and then discovered a shopping mall right behind the hotel. It made us wonder why the helpful man at the desk never suggested to us and sent us way out into the city half an hour away. We bought ourselves two jackets (mine I got at the men’s section as the female section didn’t have any to fit my size…lol!!)
The weather was pretty gloomy and was pouring slightly. We headed straight to the Louvre museum and decided to spend the evening there. We strolled around clicking pictures but knew they wouldn’t come out good because of the bad daylight.
We bought ourselves two days pass for the hop on hop off bus (the blue one with 50 stops) but due to lack of time couldn’t fully utilize it. We got onto one to go to the Eiffel tower to enjoy the evening there. The first sight of the Eiffel tower wasn’t as awestricken as I was expecting. I felt it wasn’t as tall as I had imagined it would be. But the lighting had its own charm and I enjoyed the ride to the top. It was pretty cold and windy at the top and I needed to pee. I was surprised they had a toilet even at the top and decided to utilize it. My husband teased me that I peed from the top of the Eiffel tower. Sorry, I forgot to click a picture of the toilet too…:)
We enjoyed the night view of Paris from atop the Eiffel tower. After that we went straight to our hotel as it was pretty late and quickly fell asleep. Next morning we took another ride on bus 14 and stopped near the Notre dame. We took a walk around this gothic cathedral and joined in the long queue of people to view its interior. The architecture and the stained glass work inside this exotic cathedral were quite impressive.
We picked up a quick subway sandwich from right across the street and hopped onto a hop on hop off. We decided to tour the city in a relaxed way and clicked pictures all along enjoying the magnificent architectures of the city. We then returned to the Eiffel tower to view it in daylight and truly this time I was overwhelmed by its magnificence and beauty. I felt I could gaze at it forever.
We then hopped onto another hop on hop off and took another tour of the city stopping by at a few places to get closer clicks.
Tired and hungry we decided to look for some good restaurant. Strolling around for a while we suddenly came upon an Indian restaurant. We decided to order a carry out. We got some onion rings which we enjoyed while on the bus top. For dinner we packed parantha and biryani which we had later in our hotel.
I was hoping to visit atleast one of the gardens but unfortunately couldn’t make it mostly due to the bad weather. I had read in a blog earlier that one must be prepared for rain when in Paris but as we were traveling extensively and by air too, we couldn’t keep an umbrella.
Paris…The city of light has inspired poets and artists for centuries, with its iconic art and architecture, cafe culture and air of romance. My 2 days hopping around allowed only a glimpse of this historical ancient city.
There are plenty of things to see and do. If luck favors again, hope to make another trip to this city in the future.
“Down sank the great red sun, and in golden, glimmering vapors Veiled the light of his face, like the Prophet descending from Sinai.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There is dew in one flower and not in another, because one opens its cup and takes it in, while the other closes itself and the drop runs off. So God rains goodness and mercy as wide as the dew, and if we lack them, it is because we do not open our hearts to receive them.
– James H. Aughey
Poem of life
Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what’s to be,
A resting place along the road,
to sweet eternity.
We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things,
but never meant to stay…
Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know.
For some the journey’s quicker,
For some the journey’s slow.
And when the journey finally ends,
We’ll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the lord.