There is something about a cold grey day that fills me with a strange magical excitement. The clouds take on an ominous thrilling look and trees, buildings and bridges look black against the somber sky. It is quiet and few people are to be seen. This Saturday was just that kind of day as I took my morning walk to Astoria Park. I looked up at the sky and wished I’d bought my camera with me but, then I gleeful remembered I had my iPhone with me and the trusty Hipstamatic app which would add the perfect aged, grainy, dark effect to the images I had been seeing in my mind. This was going to be a good day.
The newly laid asphalt pathways; coal black with bright white symbols for bikers, skaters and pedestrians started me off. The pathways turned and snaked through the park and pulled the eye along to a distant point. The gnarled arthritic branches of trees and bushes along the frigid water’s edge were perfect frames for the Hell Gate and Triboro Bridges.
Twenty minutes into my walk the winds picked up and the sky grew misty with tiny flakes of snow that stung my face and fingers as I tried to capture the seagulls floating gracefully in an up draft of wind. I walked further north toward the end of the park as the flakes grew fat and fluffy flying everywhere at once. Out on the water, the distant buildings barely visible in the mist a large maritime vessel appeared out of the cold white vapor on its way up the East River.
Turning in away from the water I walked through the park where the snow was starting to powder the landscape bringing out the textures in the bark of trees and adding a thin icing to the leaves of winter plants. I walked in and out of the trees and followed the paths to a clearing blanketed in white and let the snow swirl around me. I stood upon the public deck to the Astoria Pool looking out at the magnificent view flanked by the two famous bridges taking images and remembering the hot summer childhood days my siblings and I spent there. Walking to the other side of the deck I looked down at the cascading stairways that lead to and from the entrance of the pool that had accumulated a dusting of this first of winter’s snow. Towards the afternoon the snow turned to rain and I turned my cold and wet feet towards home and hot coffee.
This morning the sun was shinning bright, the air cold and crisp and although not as exciting as yesterdays mini snow squall it did provide me with some fantastic winter subject matter. Ice. During the night the drop in temperatures froze any puddles that had accumulated in yesterdays rain. The frozen water cracked into spider web mosaics and knife-edged triangles of ice. A slushy foot print was frozen in time until a warmer day erases the memory. Left over autumn leaves and tufts of dried grass were also enveloped victims of nature’s frosty magic.
Stay warm my friends winter is just beginning.