Daily Life in the Garden State – Prompt from OM

Thank you, Jason, for the latest prompt. I consider myself mono-coastal—living in northern New Jersey, but working in New York City—spending more time in NYC. Since other bloggers have posted NYC photos already, I thought I’d share some of New Jersey, where my husband Lorin and I (both native New Yorkers) have been living since 2007 with our four cats, Quincy, Karl, Samson and Sylvester.

It’s kind of a slushy mess in NJ right now, so here are some photos from last year and earlier.

a river runs through it

This is outside our house when we got flooded by Hurricane Irene, August 2011

At Saddle River Park (L.E. Swenson)

At Saddle River Park (L.E. Swenson)

This is a photo my husband took of me at Saddle River Park, looking incognito.

Jesus in the Glass Elevator (Erica Herd)

Jesus in the Glass Elevator (Erica Herd)

This is what Lorin and I call “Jesus in the Glass Elevator” at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Train Depot (L.E. Swenson)

Train Depot (L.E. Swenson)

This is the Rochelle Park train depot. Trains run through, but not trains into the city.

At the duck pond (Erica Herd)

At the duck pond (Erica Herd)

This is the duck pond, and also a bus stop into NYC. Geese are not very popular in our town, but we like them.

Train Tracks, Rochelle Park (L.E. Swenson)

Train Tracks, Rochelle Park (L.E. Swenson)

Railroad tracks

Beer in Hedge at Bus Stop

Beer in Hedge at Bus Stop

Heineken can wrapped in Shoprite bag (at our bus stop). I’ve made quite a few friends waiting for the bus, especially in inclement weather.

Sylvester twistingSylvester doing yoga

Karl in the sun

Karl sunning himself – rare photo, he is very timid and hides most of the time.

Samson & Quincy & friends

Samson (sitting) and Quincy (lying down)

I am not posting any photos of Lorin because he is camera-shy.

Have a great day, all!


For the Rain It Raineth Every Day

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.
            William Shakespeare

When I was in college, I sang with a madrigal group, madrigals being secular vocal music compositions from the Renaissance and early Baroque periods. Our repertoire included John Dowland’s “Flow My Tears,” songs by Orlando di Lasso and Thomas Morley’s “April Is in My Mistress’ Face” and “It Was a Lover and His Lass.” “When That I Was and a Little Tiny Boy” from Twelfth Night came to mind today—perhaps it’s this never-ending rain.

My relationship with rain is somewhat complex. I find it cleansing, restorative, healing. I enjoy a brisk walk in the rainy woods with autumn leaves shushing underfoot. But I don’t like to get wet and not be able to dry off–got pneumonia like that in high school.

When I was a kid, my mom, brother and I would visit relatives in Wisconsin during the summer. One of my favorite things was jumping through sprinklers in my bathing suit on a hot summer day with the neighborhood kids. When it rained we’d run from one neighbor’s lawn to another, still jumping through. A simple joy.

As I’ve grown older, my relationship with rain has deepened. In 2011 our house got flooded by Hurricane Irene. We don’t live in the flood zone, but we got hit anyway.

man in canoe

Rochelle Park, NJ, August 2011 (photo-E. Herd)

For a while after that, heavy rains would induce panic in me, fears of more flooding. Sometimes I thought the windows would smash in from the gale force winds. In more fantastical reveries, Tinkerbell would swoop into the bedroom, sprinkle fairy dust on me, Lorin and the cats, and we would fly away with Peter Pan.


(google images)

This morning I waited about fifteen minutes in the freezing rain with my bus stop buddies, and we boarded the usual NJ Transit bus into the city. It took about an hour and a half and the heat wasn’t on—it felt like we were outside. It was an adventure of sorts, but not as much fun as jumping through sprinklers or soaring through the sky with Peter Pan.