A Stroll Through Central Park, Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time...

Magic words. The beginning of every great adventure. The promise of a thrilling tale.

I'm re-reading the Brothers Grimm and delighting in their grimm-ness; their stories begin innocently enough, but by the end of most, you're left with the distinct impression that life was much, much harder for the tellers of these tales, and it was best not to sugar-coat things for the kiddos who listened, rapt, at the fireside. 

Bad things happen to good people (or mice, as the case may be), good things happen to bad people (or cats, as will happen), loyalty is rewarded, jealousy is punished, love is blinding. All important lessons, all mostly absent from the modern-day iterations of the stories - kids might never know that the Little Mermaid doesn't get the prince and doesn't live happily ever after - in fact, she doesn't live at all, but is reduced to sea foam as punishment for her ambitions (Hans Christian Andersen was a downer, too). But I suppose Disney can shield us from the harsh reality of life only for so long; it catches up to us all, sooner or later. Is it really so wrong to believe in perfect, happy endings for a little while? And so...

Once upon a time, there was a girl in New York and she loved to meander the green-arched lanes of Central Park. On one perfect spring day, she strolled, alone but not lonely, for hours through the winding paths, and saw along the way balloons and bubbles and ball games,  statues and kiddos and parents and lovebirds, old couples, young couples, gay couples, straight couples, dogs of every shape and size, joggers and bikers and rollerbladers, and there even was a drum circle pounding a hypnotic beat and a pianist playing Chopin in the slanting afternoon sun and a lonesome saxophonist saxophoning beneath a bridge (aren't all saxophonists a wee bit sad in that beautiful, heartbreaking, I-left-my-heart-in-Paris way?).

This is Christopher Columbus. What a story!
What a pleasure to see such green after months of snow and bare branches.

The girl's soul was full on life and she was happy. She treasured these feelings, because she knew that spring doesn't last forever and winter is coming. (A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the greatest tales of our time, but that's another story.)

The end.

Yours truly, one meandering tale at a time,


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