That's what they call those shortcut paths beaten into parkland by human feet seeking the quickest route from A to B. There used to be only one way to enter the Long Meadow directly from the crest of the path from Grand Army Plaza: a desire line worn into the slope. But the park must've smartened up, because this log-girded walkway now welcomes visitors onto the vast expanse of grass. I took this shot a few weeks ago on a balmy December day, just after we bought our Christmas wreath at the Greenmarket; who could have guessed that the balminess would last through Christmas and beyond?
As their parents talked in boring adult fashion, these little guys found great sport in harvesting and rearranging bark chips on the log railing. In this year that saw an ugly high-rise condo pierce "my" side of the Prospect Park treeline, the Long Meadow maintains its air of secluded mystery, opening up like a miracle as you enter from the traffic and stress of Flatbush Avenue. The Long Meadow is long enough to be shrouded in mist at one end on a foggy morning, long enough to walk and feel as if you've really discovered something, long enough to clear your brain. Here's to a coming year of joy and discovery, of peace and health to all my friends and folks in Brooklyn and beyond. May your feet beat a shortcut to your dreams.