The other week I finally had the pleasure of checking another item off my bucket list: walking NYC’s High Line. As with most travel destinations, its reality was more than I could have imagined. The fact of its creation and growing abundance must marvel even the most jaded New Yorker.
The raised railbeds that provided decades of access to the meatpacking district have been transformed into a narrow metropolitan oasis filled with thriving native species that attract locals, tourists and pollinators alike.
From 34th Street to Gansevort Street and back, a variety of garden plots border the 1.45 mile trail. Inspired by the way nature herself turned the tracks into a wild habitat after the rails had fallen into disuse, the designers maintained that exuberance while incorporating welcoming spaces for gathering and reflection, as well as public art installations.
Considering the financial, skilled and volunteer resources clearly required, the macro-scale of this private-public partnership impresses. Local developers have been quick to create housing that takes advantage of the myriad garden views, and other localities pay tribute to the success of this reincarnation through imitation: think RVA’s Low Line and Atlanta’s BeltLine.
Strolling along, I found myself drawn to the micro level and many of the individual flowers, whose combined effect created alluring sweeps of bright late summer color.
The approach of fall was visible in many of the blossoms as they had begun transitioning to faded shades or withered petals.
Yet they still nurtured the bees who seemed to take delight in their remaining nectar.
As Ellen mentioned in Is It the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?, I much prefer the vibrancy of the current season and would be happy to live in endless summer.
The High Line flowers, which were approaching autumn more quickly even than my hometown blooms, reminded me, though, that a beautiful life does not just exist in one prime season.
These perennials cycle through four seasons every year, and most come back even stronger the next.
Similarly, we face various seasons of life: raising children, changing careers, caring for aging parents, losing loved ones and undertaking new avocations and adventures.
If we choose to thrive in rather than just survive these seasons, we become stronger and more confident in our inner beauty and resilience.
Like the High Line perennials thriving in what was once an industrial wasteland, 40-something to 60-something year-olds who choose to flourish through these seasons are finally receiving recognition as a vibrant generation recently tagged Perennials. How very fitting!
While watching the local flora begin its autumnal transition, I’ll remind myself that the coming cold is necessary for their glorious return next spring and summer. Likewise, the changing of literal and metaphorical seasons are important for our own well-being. Instead of fighting the change, let’s together embrace life as perennials and flourish!
August 27, 2017