It wasn’t too hot when I had a few minutes to catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a year. We brought our kids to Francis Lewis Park, where there is a playground with a sprinkler and a view of Flushing Bay and the Whitestone Bridge.
“I don’t know how you own three of these things,” he said as my two older girls played with his son. Our youngest is only a year old and he and his wife have a three-year-old son.
“I don’t either.”
Having children is something that everyone is terrified of but no one regrets. Spending time with your kids is a great thing and you’ll regret not getting in every minute with them. But when they are as young as ours are, it leaves you too tired to do anything else. Many a night began with great plans and ended with me falling asleep on the couch at 10:15 p.m.
At the park our children go different ways in the playground. I don’t mind staying back and sitting down and watching the kids from a distance. You can’t be hovering over them all the time. But the world being the way it is, you don’t want to let your kids out of your sight for too long. A few times I lose sight of one of the girls and I start to get worried looking for her and just before I break out into a fearful disaster sweat she’ll come into view. This happens a few times and it wears you down a bit further.
My friend and I talk music, mutual friends, and the itch to be creative and make music. His son wants to go down to the water, to where there’s a great view of the Whitestone Bridge and a miniscule beach at the end of a small boat launch. I and my two older girls accompany them. We are disappointed by the amount of garbage on the beach and in the water but the view of the bay and the bridge, makes up for this.
One of my girls isn’t wearing any shoes since she was running through the sprinkler in the playground and I don’t think anything of it until we get to the boat launch and see some broken glass there. I curse myself for letting her come down here with no shoes on. On further inspection this turns out to be sea glass—glass that’s been in the water long enough that it’s been made smooth. Sea glass makes for a nice collectible and I tell the girls I will take this home for them to enjoy later. New York City will disappoint you and impress you in quick succession.
A lot of my friends also have kids but I also have many friends who are smart, creative people, the kind of people who should be doing more reproducing, but aren’t. I highly recommend having kids, though I realize it’s not for everyone.
My friend and I talk a bit more, discuss doing music again, what our schedules will look like later this year, and how we have the itch.
The itch, the need to produce art in some form, it never goes away and is a call that has to be answered. Children, jobs, the multitude of tasks one has to perform just to keep a roof over one’s head and the bills paid on time, these will slow you down, but they can’t kill whatever fire drives you to create.
Autumn is a great time of year in New York. The humid misery of summer is behind us and the holidays are ahead of us. The trees turn brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow and the air is electric with new possibilities. There is a sense of renewal that is similar to that of the spring but with a more ominous edge. The light grows dimmer and there’s a depressing feeling as the twilight of summer is again denied us. It is time to reap the harvest, but time is running on our days and year.
Like the Christmas holiday, the commercial anticipation of Halloween grows larger every year and we saw Halloween pop-up stores appear as early as August in some places. And there are pumpkin spice flavored food and beverages being offered ad nauseam. At the 7 Eleven where I get my coffee, they have a shaker of pumpkin flavoring so you can make your coffee like a pumpkin Big Gulp if they run out of pumpkin spice coffee. I agree the pumpkins spice has become excessive, but let’s not turn our back on traditional greats like pumpkin pie.
But the season of the pumpkin is a good time to embrace the fall. And the increasingly long Halloween season brings with it some worthwhile activities.
My good friend Jay, lead guitar player for New York punk rock band Endangered Feces, invited me and my family to join his family at the Rise of the Jack-O-Lanterns event, which features a walk through a path lined with intricately carved pumpkins. It features pumpkins carved with many different images and strung together in forms as large as dinosaurs, zebras, skeletons. There was a Hillary Clinton pumpkin and a Donald Trump pumpkin, and carvings that celebrated popular TV shows like Orange Is The New Black and Game of Thrones. The security people told everyone no flash photography was allowed, so my photos didn’t come out too well, but it was enjoyable to bring the kids.
It was a nice brisk evening and it wasn’t too long, and brevity is much appreciated when you’re hauling little kids with you. The event we went to was in Old Westbury, Long Island, New York not far outside our city’s borders. Living in Eastern Queens makes it easier to own a car which makes it easier to head to Long Island for events such as these, but you can take public transportation to similar events elsewhere.
You don’t have to go see nicely carved jack-o-lanterns and you don’t have to put any pumpkin crap in your coffee, but it’s important to do something to commemorate the autumn. Watch the leaves change colors, visit a haunted house, hand out non-poisoned candy to children on Halloween. Walk through a corn maze and go hunting. Take your significant other into a cemetery and conceive a child there. Wander the streets of New York on a ridiculously long walk. Get out of the house before it’s too cold.
The season of the pumpkin is upon us. Do not let it go quietly.