Tango and Fireflies Among the Elms

I sat on the bench that Steve Kaplan had once sat on, my love by my side. The stifling heat of the day had been unbearable, and as much as we had let our senses be overwhelmed by the dazzling duo of chilled beer and jazz earlier on in the evening, it felt nice to just be. There was a hum in our heads and a hint of a breeze in the air as the clouds swooped in upon the strange hour of twilight which brings with it the twin emotions of contemplation and melancholia.

The lamps in the park twinkled as people hurried on, giving into the nudge from the darkening skies to find their way to the nearest shelter, because as surely as the stars that cling to the sky on crisp clear nights, a nasty spell was about to be unleashed upon us.

We, however, held on to the bench. I could feel peace stealing in upon me.

Was it the fact that we were enveloped in a cocoon of sorts in Central Park – that vast oasis of green which sits dab in the middle of Manhattan and yet seems far removed from the trammels of city life? I know not for sure but the sense of contentment that had been eluding me (both of us for that matter) for some time now, was just there, waiting to be embraced. A change is difficult. Getting used to a new environment is such an insidious process. You might think you can work it all out in your mind, and go about falling in love with a new place in an organised way, but some things in life just do not go according to plan, do they?

The man on the neighbouring bench stared intently at something so I squinted at whatever he was staring at. Oh, but it was a firefly, and he was trying his best to trap it in the cupped hollow of his hands. We whirled around, and why behind us in the woods, there was an orchestra of luminescence.

Whimpers of gold as those busy fireflies went about finding their soulmates, for do you know that they emit optical signals to attract mates? Some are deceived in this battlefield of courting because they are lured by the honey traps of femme fatales – the carnivorous females who lure lovesick males and simply gobble them up. How many had found their true mates on that summer evening and how many had been lost their lives, who knows, but it was all for love. And oh so magical.

In tandem with the fireflies, the immediate world around us was full of little pieces of joy. Like the many acts that come together to make a play count. We just had to look.

A couple walked by with their two cuddly daughters tucked into a double buggy and smitten by their rainbow cones of joy. Ice lollies to beat the heat of the day. Perfect. But one of those errant lollies took a toss – and the little girl who was the proud owner, her face crumpled up.

Before she could let loose a wail upon the world at large, her father dived to the ground. He picked up the cone, gave it a brush, and handed it right back to her. You should have seen the look on her face (of pure delight), ours (aghast) and her father’s (sheepish) as he turned around to us grinning, ‘All’s well. The five-second rule guys!’

A heartbeat away, at the south end of the part of the park called the Mall, two literary greats sat far, far away from home. Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns. One stared at us moodily and the other gazed into the sky dreamily all poised to write on his scrolls of paper. Nearby stood Columbus, that lousy navigator who aimed for the East Indies and landed up in the West Indies. That man gives me hope. So what if I have a woeful sense of direction? Look where it took Columbus. Now he stands along with the Bard in that part of Central Park known as the Literary Walk staring every Saturday at clusters of couples dancing the tango in their heels and pretty dresses.

You can find them every weekend, those dancing divas and their hopelessly dressed men, regardless of thunder and lightning, rain and hail. As we found out soon enough to the tune of all with the exception of hail. We stood beneath the branches of a massive tree and huddled beneath my small plaid umbrella, which is only as effectual as pretty little things are, got wet, giggled and wondered aloud about tango in the rain.

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Street lamps light up the south end of the Mall in Central Park.
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The power of social media 
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Far from the lochs and glens of Scotland, here he sits on the Literary Walk…
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…along with fellow Scot, Burns
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Columbus
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Tango in the park beneath the eagle eyes of the Bard
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Just before it poured buckets.
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And that’s just about the power of green.
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99 thoughts on “Tango and Fireflies Among the Elms

  1. What a lovely narrative! I sit in the shade in Norway and can practically feel the heat from New York, than the freshness of the greens, the music, the happy people. Life is good. Now it starts to rain. How wonderful refreshing. Precious drops from above.
    Aren’t we lucky to live on a continent with a rainy season all year round. 🙏🏻
    Hugs to you from Oslo x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hah I shall take that lovely comment and feel the freshness of it just like the rains that enveloped us that day. It is hot here, Dina. Quite so. The humidity is the cherry. Yet that Central Park stole my heart. I could see why everyone goes a bit gaga over it. Hugs from Bayonne xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your writing is absolutely beautiful. It’s as if you are crafting a painting through words, and I can see and feel it! I haven’t been to Central Park, but I can imagine how it would be a peaceful thinking place in the heart of a city that never sleeps. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  3. If I didn’t know you at all and had no idea what Central Park was, I would feel the need to go there because of your words. You turn everything into something magic. Now, enough with the cheesy stuff. I thought YOU were going to tango. I’m very disappointed. Misleading tittle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you darling. If this be cheesy, why I love cheesy. Cheesy is also the sound of the awful Bollywood songs I can break into (mostly to annoy Adi and it works every time without fail). You come visit us and we can walk to Central Park arm-in-arm. We can dress up in Jane Austen gowns too for added effect. And I will tango with you. Adi has two left feet and does not want to be caught dancing. Maybe I should blackmail him into taking classes with me? The last time I learnt salsa and jive in Delhi, I was partnered up with a sweet short guy who insisted on stepping on my feet without missing them. Maybe Adi can do better 😉 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. May I get in the Jane Austen gowns and walking arm in arm? What a freaking dream that would be. Except it’d have to be in the fall. It’s so hot! Can you imagine they wore those gowns and the men wore suits no matter the weather. We must all seem like whiny babies now. I walk around half naked most of the time, lol. But seriously, we need to find you a better partner than dude with the abusive feet.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The more the better. We can then walk in twos and three and laugh daintily into our silk handkerchiefs while we discuss gothic novels and the rakes about town. The gowns are essential though. We do it in fall, yeah, when the leaves shall go flaming red and waft around us in poetic glory.

        I had two partners. When the first step-on-her-feet one left to get married, the second one turned out to be humongous and smelly. All in all, enough to make me stop enjoying my evenings of training!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I think, at the very least, she’s going to be annoying Adi tonight with pleas to just give it a try in their living room. Probably a lot of random body jerking and rubbing his chest with a flower for dramatic effect. But seriously, the tango is a beautiful dance. Maybe one day we’ll see a post about her joining her first tango competition, hehe.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hahahaha no chance of that my love. The boy be lying on a couching bingeing on Wolverine and the mutant series. He won’t be doing anything of the sort that needs him to budge his body anywhere.

        The tango is so gorgeous and sensual. I could just watch couples do the tango with my mouth hanging open. I shall leave you with that charming picture xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That would be awesome. And they say dancing lessons are a fun and great activity for married couples. She could also bribe him with food or hikes. He likes that.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I missed out on that entire thread and I realise that now 😛 What you recommended Cheila, I am putting into mine too, the dancing around the living room bit. I tried it with Adi the other day and I thought he would dislocate my shoulder. So I told him to just quietly return to the couch.

        Pole dancing is quite sassy too. Must be working out those quads wonderfully. I think we might have tried a similar genre in street/modern dance? Sounds similar.

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      4. Street throws in hip-hop and elements from ballet and jazz. So it is a sister of modern per say. I remember the jazz hands, pirouettes and the hopeless attempts to achieve splits with some fondness.

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      5. I have not gone dancing in a year or more! At one point I used to go out every weekend. Sigh. Must be the process of maturing like fine wine? 😛 Dancing for hours on stilettos…surely there is a better alternative. Popcorn on the couch. Aaaah. Now we are talkin’

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Central Park! I can picture every one of your descriptions! I try to make a stroll through any time I’m in New York. Very picturesque in winter, covered in snow! Glad you had a nice time, but damn that humidity after the rain! Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ha ha! Only a father would invoke that 5 second rule! Very funny. My sister-in-law would laugh at that (she has two children under 10). Lovely blogpost. What is that cottage in your last photo? Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 Isn’t that cottage so quaint and pretty? I wondered too. Could have been a church… Unfortunately the thunder and lightning came in the way. I intend to make good the next time I am in Central Park.

      Rather a chilled-out father or are all parents like that? 😛 My parents would have whacked me if I had done anything of the sort.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes! It does look like a church. Perhaps so. It must be pretty humid with the rain. We have a friend living in the outskirts of New York but have yet to hear what the summers are like.

        I was pretty surprised that the mother let him do that! It must have been a very valuable popsicle 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think the father was too quick for the mother to react.

        Apparently the weather here has changed since 2011 – or so someone told us the other day. It has become more humid over the years. And as you can well imagine, there is nothing more charming than humidity.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha I am picturing Adi doing the tango and keeling with laughter. My baby’s strong point is dancing like Joey you know. So I should sneak in dance classes into our routine maybe 😉 Thank you for the lovely comment btw xx

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    1. I did not see rats! And thank goodness for that. I will watch out next time. The last time I saw a big one was while dining in this massively popular pizzeria in Rome. Baffeto. We were sharing a table with a French couple and all four of us leapt off our seats. Some Italian boys seated behind us happened to make fun of us till the French girl shut them up with a terse comment 😉

      The rats of CP must be pretty well fed too 😀

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  6. One of the things I enjoy most about my visits to your blog is the way your prose forces me to stop and immerse myself in your world. For a few brief moments, I was in Central Park, watching a father deftly manage an ice cream crisis. This is a gift.

    And of the photos, isn’t it rare to catch a single person occupying and entire frame in NYC? especially one lined with benches waiting to be lounged in?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello hello my friend, I was just checking your blog yesterday for updates and I see it today! Looking forward to hopping over to yours right after.

      It is a rare pleasure that – to catch a single individual slouching against one of those benches. You got that alright. The power of inclement weather?

      You are too kind to me, Gabe. Hey but I shall take it all with a delighted grin. When I have taken off my foot mask, I might do a little jig too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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