Charlotte whispers in my ear

Charlotte Mason's words whisper in my ear sometimes. When I wake early to pack a lunch and check a bus route, I imagine her encouragement to make the effort for day-excursions to outdoor places.

A change of scenery feeds the eyes, multiplies connections, and lives as a memory. After spending a day in a new place, home feels different. When I question why I'm heading out the door early with bundles and packages and kids to catch a bus to take us Elsewhere when we have Perfectly Nice Places near home, I hear Charlotte say, "Go."

Knowing our neighborhood is important to me, but knowing our neighborhood makes more sense when we know what surrounds it.

So, we go.

Last week we went to City Island, an island in the Bronx on the Long Island Sound. We knew how to get there because it's by the beach where we've been going. There is one bridge to City Island,  and we got off the bus and walked across it. The boats and docks were the first thing we saw when we got there.

We walked the entire length of the island on the main drag and explored some side streets too, picking out the houses we liked best. We were disappointed there is no access to the water on the island except the benches by the docks right by the bridge, but we were charmed by the small town that City Island in the Bronx feels like.

I heard chattering birds as we walked along but I didn't tune in to them as I took in the sights. Then, my daughter saw a flock of bright green birds fly by.

"Where did they all come from?" she said and we looked up.

"That's a parrot's nest!" my daughter said, and my son agreed.

I messed with the colors on the photo below to better show all the holes in the nest where the birds fly in and out. Maybe you can see them.

As we walked back to the docks and the bridge, we heard the birds and searched for them. Their colors match the tree leaves perfectly and we only caught glimpses as they moved from tree to tree.

We sat by the water for awhile and drew what we saw.

We go on excursions, and then, we go home again.

Sometimes when we get home, we google things we found curious during the day. We found out that the birds are monk parakeets and that there are a few flocks in the area.

As we prepared for Hurricane Irene last week, we worried about City Island. We wouldn't have had that concern if we hadn't taken the bus a few days earlier and walked across the bridge to the little place, which we know see as partly Our Place too.


  1. What a beautiful place so near to NYC. One day Jemimah and I are going to come and visit you. Perhaps you could take us here? I'd like that.

  2. Bring your appetite - City Island is full of restaurants. :)

  3. I really enjoy you blog. I tried to follow, but the link is not working. Thanks, Karen

  4. I'm dreaming with Jeanne about visiting you and going to 1/10th of the places you mention, that will make for a visit full of outings, ha ha ha.

    I love the sketch and your information about the parakeets.

  5. Sippy Cup Central Mom - I'm sorry the link doesn't work...and I'm sorry I have no clue how to fix it. Please do come back!

    Silvia - My dream destination is Iceland. I'd really love to go there. I wonder if it will ever happen?

  6. Iceland? Wow, that is a destination...hope you get there someday.

    Enjoyed this post and the sketches!!