Countess Josephine

An Island Francophile with British roots rolled together with solid Americana, garnished with Asian/African heritage and a whisper of the Mediterranean, I love to practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. Throwing some Sunshine your way - Enjoy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Stopping to smell the Roses

by Luke Sherlock

I realize how lucky I am on days like last Sunday. Mother's Day, of course, always reminds me that I am lucky to have a mother who is still living. She turned 72 on the Friday before. I am lucky to be married to my best friend and, am lucky to have some wonderful friends who happen to be mothers.

As part of the Mother's Day weekend, as my wife calls it, we visited with family on the Island and took walks in the local parks which reminded me of how lucky I am to live in New York. The neighborhoods are decent, by normal standards but nearby there are some truly beautiful parks which upgrade the surroundings exponentially.

We took a walk in the Bayard Cutting Arboretum, an old estate given by endowment to the State many years ago. The original family was quite wealthy and had a Tudor style mansion which is now a museum. The grounds, which border the Connetquot River, have every sort of plant and tree imaginable; thanks to the hobby of the original owner. The many paths take one through forests of rhododendrons and giant oaks; and such rare beauties as redwoods and Japanese yews.

In just a 3 mile loop we saw such wildlife as a blue heron hunting by the shore, geese and their new born goslings, a mallard and her 11 ducklings, two giant white swans, an old very large sapping turtle, circling starlings plucking flies out of the air and the famous osprey searching the park for food for their young.

Across the river is the Idle Hour section of Oakdale and the home of Dowling College, another former estate. Even with the high winds, the river was calm and we could see all the boat houses across the way where the rowing crew teams stow their skiffs. 

Just north of the arboretum is Connectquot State Park, a vast tract of land with similar, if more numerous, vegetation and wildlife, The river flows to the great South Bay passing Hecksher State Park, another huge space filled with all manner of beast and fowl.

Sometimes we get caught up in our every day and we forget exactly what blessings there are, practically at our fingertips. It was a great reminder.

See you at the park!
Lucky Luke (not the cowboy)

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