Friday, April 16, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Tea in the Park

Cup of the Day #15
Topiary cup by Gwyneth Leech
Colored India ink on white cardboard cup, 2009

I am in a cranky mood. Everyone is in Central Park on this particular day and one can hardly turn around. It is the first warm Sunday of the year, just a few short weeks ago. Buds are bursting as if before our very eyes and the feeling of an impromptu party which I get in this park on any day, in any season is especially strong.

We came up to the 72nd street entrance on the East side to watch the model sailboats in the boat pond and climb on the Alice in Wonderland statue. The latter is possible but the pond is to be a gravel bed for two weeks more. A family stands by the rim of the ugly, empty concrete pond, sail boat held disconsolately under the father's arm.

Over at the Alice in Wonderland statue there is a veritable scrum on the polished bronze surface. Grace is making her way over the top, sticking her tongue out and occasionally giving another child a shove. This is not attractive behavior and I have had to reprimand her several times.

I am now sitting on a bench with a cup of tea my older daughter Megan has thoughtfully bought me from the Kerbs Boathouse refreshment stand, a favorite stopping off point. I love the thought but I hate the tea. It is Earl Grey. I have tried to love Earl Grey and Lady Grey for years, but I just can't do it. It is the Bergamot - a pungent flower that infuses this blend with, to my nose, a noxious perfume. I don't hide my distaste and both Megan and husband David are hurt.

 Alice in Wonderland Statue
Central Park, 2010

I am remorseful and drink the whole cupful. Then I look at the cup. It is covered in ads for Chock Full of Nuts and useless for my purposes - polished, printed and Styrofoam. The bright colors mock me from the shiny surface. And the black lid is a complex feat of engineering, involving a separate tab that folds back and locks into place. When this thing goes into the trash it will be there for a long, long time.

Not so the cardboard cups I collect and draw on? It turns out that there is not much difference. They all currently go for landfill, not recycling because the cardboard cups have a thin plastic lining. Read about it here. Who knew? I am now determined to carry on and reuse all the cups I buy or am given this year. I have over 100 since January. They are stacked in teetering towers in the corner of my studio behind a folding screen. Can I keep up and draw on them all? Hope springs eternal in the minds of men.

We shall see.

Signs of Spring - Living Statues
Central Park, 2010

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