The thermostat in my apartment reads 83 degrees when I walk in the door on Monday evening. My feet ache from walking around the city in the heat all afternoon. I drop my bags, strip off my clothes, and toss them in the washing machine before going upstairs to shower. Outside, all the sidewalk cafes are bustling and packed, as if the population has swelled to twice its regular size overnight.
If I have to do lengthy travel (a drive of more than three hours or a train ride further than a few stops), I like to do it on gray, drizzly days. This makes being tucked into a train seat or behind the wheel of a car feel cozy, rather than suffocating. On brilliantly sunny days, I just wish I could be outside breathing fresh air and walking barefoot in the grass. (Note: This does not apply to short drives in nice weather, which is actually one of life’s great pleasures and involves loud and enthusiastic car singing.)
It’s already Sunday but it feels like the weekend has stretched for a week, in the nicest way. The first few truly sunny days of summer are such a novelty still—each one has a delicious newness to it, which gives time an elasticity such that a single weekend feels like a week-long vacation. All the things that become routine once summer really sets in are still fresh. I haven’t gone swimming every morning yet, or had dozens of cold brew iced coffees, or gotten multiple sunburns from too many hours at the beach.
I’m not a big bourbon fan. Actually, I’ll go even further and say that brown liquor is not my drink of choice—be it rum or whisky or scotch. (Between you and me, I entered a tequila phase about five years ago and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Because, margaritas.)
Most weekday afternoons, I take the subway down from my apartment to Soho. I get on the 2,3 express train, switching to the local at 14th Street, and exit at the Houston stop. I walk two blocks to the quiet block of Sullivan Street just north of Prince, which is shaded by trees and lined with brick apartment buildings, their exteriors ribboned with the iron grates of fire escapes, that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Friends. It’s a comforting snippet of the city, one that feels oddly neighborhood-like despite its proximity to the grit and noise of the NYU area.
The entire world seems to be glowing with green these days—there’s been so much rain everywhere. Central Park is a riot of vivid jewel-tones, between the grassy lawns and the stately canopy of trees that line the cobblestone sidewalk of Fifth Avenue. I went home to the farm for the weekend; as we turned down the long driveway, the rolling hills of the farm were laid out in front of us, in various shades of dark green, pale green, and bright green. The cow pasture, the tops of the trees in the woods beyond the stream, the high grass of the field above the ponds…all green. (This is the farm where I grew up—the namesake of this blog and where my parents still live, and I still—and forever—will call home no matter where I live.)
I worked on Block Island one summer, spending my days as an employee of the island’s Conservancy and my evenings bussing tables and hostessing at a beachside restaurant. My day job had all sorts of perks: I spent the summer outside, teaching little kids about ocean tides and island geography, or leading marsh walks, or overseeing beach cleanups. I got a killer tan and breathed fresh ocean air all day. One of my favorite parts of the job was assisting with weekly stargazing events. These were hugely popular with summer visitors—we called them “night sky viewings” and we held them in the big field at the Hodge Preserve near the northern tip of the island.
My routines ebb and flow regularly. You’ve heard that saying about change being the only constant? For me, I stick firmly to habits, repeating them again and again, until one day: poof! I switch them up entirely. (There is the exception of a few daily rhythms, in which I’ve rarely wavered over the years: I always exercise in the mornings (when possible). I always shower at night before putting on pajamas and having dinner (when possible). I read a book before falling asleep. I only stretch after a run, and never before.
And here we are again: the lush, verdant days of late spring. This time of year has such particular charms; it’s lovely in small specific ways. The air in the early mornings is still cool and cold, ripening under the day’s sunlight into soft, warm spring evenings. I love watching people emerge from the subway as dusk approaches, flooding the streets with activity. I like seeing them unclench their shoulders and turn their faces to the sunset. I like how everyone ambles slowly home, unlike in the winters when they dash from train or cab to apartment, trying to spend as little time outside as possible.
Let’s imagine that you have a craving for pizza. (Wait, you really do? It’s like I read your mind; let’s be friends.) Okay, now that you’re thinking about how delicious pizza is—with all that chewy crust and savory sauce—you might start thinking that you maybe want some garlic bread, too. (Look, you’re in good company—there’s a reason so many pizza delivery places throw garlic bread twists in with your order.) So pizza craving, check. Garlic bread craving, check. And then you think, while we’re on the topic of carbs, let’s just go for the trifecta (YOLO), and you start imagining the first bite of a buttery, soft roll—warm from the oven. The kind that would be like a simple dinner roll meets a Parker House roll meets…an entire slab of butter.