make-believe: cherry blossoms.

April 27, 2020
cherry blossoms | brooklyn botanic garden | reading my tea leaves

We’re staying home, we’re staying masked, we’re staying far away from everyone we know (and also everyone we don’t) as we do our part to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 12,000 people in our city. Here’s what I’d most want to do, if only I could:

I want to ride the subway to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and wander shoulder to shoulder with strangers under cherry blossoms in peak bloom. I want to sit under a tree and ignore my kids while they run pell-mell and declare themselves best friends with kids they’ve only just met. I want to drink a covert cocktail. I want to feel a flush in my cheeks. I want to take the long walk home, through the exit that passes by the lilac bushes. I want to feel unexpectedly too hot. I want to throw my hair into a pony tied up with colorful silk. I want to coax tired kids to walk just a little bit longer. I want to give up and stop for an early pizza dinner at a restaurant where the owner gives everyone hugs. I want to cave and say yes to ice cream cones. I want to run into my niece and nephew and give them a million sloppy kisses. I want to chat on the street corner with my sister until kids start to melt around our ankles and we have to say goodbye. I want to come home to an apartment I’ve been outside of all day long, to kick off my sneakers, to put kids exhausted from a day’s exertion to bed.

An extremely cheerful dress.

A pair of springy sunglasses.

An aperitif (on a mission).

A cocktail glass to take on the road.

A fan for keeping cool.

A net bag for necessities.

A gloss for poppy-colored lips.

Too big earrings.

A pair of high-top classics.

A comb for taming uncut hair.

A pair of silken scrunchies for getting my hair off my neck.

A tube of sunscreen for good measure.

A favorite magazine for flipping through in the sunshine, a book about a particular pet peeve for reading on the subway.

A fistful of flowers to bring back to my kitchen.


Take action:

In an effort to ground this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few very real things we can do:

Wear a mask: Know the difference between ingress and egress; you wear a mask for your neighbors and your neighbors wear their masks for you; even with masks, we all stay at least 6-feet apart.

Track the spread: For fellow New Yorkers, take a daily survey to help track and stop the spread of Covid-19.

Give a book: Libraries and schools are closed, but kids still need to read. First Books is helping get new books to kids who need them; contribute to their efforts here.

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  • Reply Lee April 27, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Beautiful writing as always! I was grateful to be taken on your imaginary adventure for a moment. It feels so bittersweet though thinking of how long it might be until we can venture out safely again. I’m 25 weeks pregnant and living in DC and heartbroken that my dreams of sitting in the park (that is 5 minutes from our apartment) with a newborn are unlikely due to COVID-19. Wishing you and your family health and safety during this wild time.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 27, 2020 at 12:36 pm

      So hopeful that you get the chance sooner than you think!

  • Reply Stephanie April 27, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    This season’s stuff from Caron Callahan: all the heart eyes.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 27, 2020 at 1:47 pm

      such a dream!

  • Reply Virginia April 27, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    stripes and florals– my new favorite.

    • Reply Aubrey April 27, 2020 at 9:45 pm

      I have those “too big hoops” and I LOVE them. Everything shop machete makes is lovely but I especially love that her earrings are made with cellulose acetate and bio-acetate instead of plastics.

  • Reply Megan April 27, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Honestly, the first half of this made me cry. Very much looking forward to park picnics with ban mi’s from the place down the street that will hopefully reopen. Counting down days until my parents can make the trip from California to Colorado to play with my now toddler and meet my new babe at the end of August. I’m hopeful that this will be sooner than later, because I have to be. Until then, distance and safer at home.

    • Reply Sarah April 27, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      I started to cry reading this, too. To sunny days at the park with an ice cream cone for us all. <3

      • Reply Lindsay April 29, 2020 at 9:21 pm

        Also a crier. Admittedly it doesn’t take that much these days.

  • Reply Andrea April 27, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Oh such beautiful words. This has all taught me that I will never ever take the simple pleasures for granted again. I live for the moment I can take my precious little grandson in my arms & smother him with kisses. That for me has been the absolute hardest, not being able to be around him , seeing all his little milestones, babysitting on Saturday evenings so my daughter & son in law can get out just the two of them. And the kids live 20 minutes away. But I have hope that things will eventually improve so that we can all enjoy sweet special outings. Stay home everyone and stay safe!

  • Reply Lisa April 27, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    Made me teary reading your beautiful words. Such beauty in walking the streets of New York. Thank you for letting me daydream for a brief moment.

  • Reply Anna April 28, 2020 at 2:39 am

    This sounds so lovely! And so normal and ridiculously impossible at the same time. I‘m sure we will appreciate all the little things even more when all this is over. Fingers crossed our old normal will be back soon.

  • Reply Neha April 28, 2020 at 8:36 am

    So beautifully written!

  • Reply Anna April 28, 2020 at 9:20 am

    This made me all teary. All the things I wish for too, in my own city, another country’s epicentre. This was perfectly timed as I’d lain in bed awake far too long the night before wishing that somehow, magically, I could wake up to everything back to normal – abracadabra, as it was, nightmare over. Off to the parks and the pizza and wine on the restaurant terrace and the crowded summer festivals. It helps to share the daydreaming, at least!

  • Reply Diana April 28, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    This was beautiful, all things I hope to never take for granted again <3

  • Reply Nicole April 29, 2020 at 5:07 am

    Sounds like a perfect, ordinary day, one that I hope so much to have soon. How special and amazing all these everyday moments will seem from now on.

  • Reply Lauren April 29, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    I am so with you in this dreaming. Sending love from a handful of blocks south…XO.

  • Reply Mo May 4, 2020 at 8:40 am

    This brought tears to my eyes! On Saturday my brother, sister-in-law and I sat down in the sun (at a safe distance from each other) and had a beer/shared glass of rosé (in separat glasses) to celebrate my nephews one month birthday, and the sense of normalcy was so overwhelming! I have been physical distancing since I came home from i funeral at the beginning of March and those little normal things are the ones I miss the most. (Actually, what I miss the most is a hug. And to cradle my newborn nephew in my arms and soak in his newbornness.) To be able to be spontaneous, to meet up for a coffee. To pop by the shops to buy this or that. To twirl my dance partner without a care in the world. Visiting my godmother in her care home. Sunday dinners with my mom and stepdad. Even watching my brother play a video game while snacking on popcorn (and cuddling a baby). Those are the things I really miss.
    Much love to all in confimement.

  • Reply Kate May 6, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Yes. This literally made me cry. Maybe next spring.

  • Reply Rachel July 21, 2020 at 10:46 am

    I was brought back to this post yesterday, as I envisioned next spring and summer with my new daughter. So hopeful and optimistic to spend time with her in gardens and parks and on benches outside cafes, while trying to ensure I’m not overly disappointed by the options available for outdoor hangs with an infant. Purchased the jumpsuit version of that Caron Callahan dress to wear next year in the spirit of optimism. Thank you for sharing this!

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