Monthly Archives: November 2015

Somewhere, Something

Morning Sky

Morning Sky

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
Carl Sagan

This is what drives us to delve into all unknowns. The knowledge that there is more than we know, knowledge based on thousands of experiences over thousands of years dangling in front of us enticing us to dive into the ocean to find the pearl.

The curiosity, the desire to learn more about something or someone is a constant force pushing and pulling our minds like gravity pulls our bodies. Of course, we have to add courage into the mix.  That ability, which surprises even ourselves at times, to do what we know will be dangerous or difficult.

Carl Sagan has summed up the human urge to explore, to examine, to learn more about everything. So, we embark on a journey without knowing exactly where we are going or what we’ll encounter.

What’s more, until we have the ability or the body of knowledge necessary, we dream about finding out what lies beyond. Eventually, we started fires, orbited Pluto, obtained and changed DNA, cataloged different mental states, developed agriculture, written book  after book about love, created an ethical system and laws to govern society. Each generation grows more sophisticated. Still, we ask what is next? What is “out there”?  We prepare each generation providing years of schooling to teach what we have learned and encourage students to delve deeper, to discover something more.

What incredible “something” is just out of reach, waiting to be known?



A Storm and Its Aftermath

The sun in September.

The sun in September.

Hurricane Donna struck the coast of New York in the early mornng hours. It had lumbered up the Eastern Seaboard slowly before its dark arrival. I awoke to windows rattling in the nearly hundred mile an hour wind and rain splashing against the panes in waves so heavy I thought the glass would smash. There was nothing between my bedroom and the furious storm except those flimsy windows. Our apartment was on the top floor of a building that sat on the top of a hill.  It seemed to me like we lived in the clouds. Our windows overlooked a couple of steep, downhill blocks of one-story homes and culminated at the beach.  The horizon was the Atlantic Ocean. There was nothing to buffer our home. I sat in a panic until the daylight which came slow and weak. Then, the damage could be seen.  Tree limbs on top of parked cars, streets flooded and the traffic light swaying on broken wires.

The daylight seemed to break the intensity of the storm.  The winds slowly abated and pouring rain subsided. By midday, Donna was gone. There were breaks in the clouds that let the sun shine down. It was then that my father took my sister and me for a walk on the beach. We walked on streets that were eerily quiet.  The few stores we passed were still closed. Occasionally, we had to circumvent huge puddles that looked more like ponds around the curbs. But, the real amazement came when we left the streets and walked on the beach toward the shore.

When daylight first broke, we could see the roiling surf but now, standing just a few feet away, great white crests crashed down hard spewing salty drops over us. The sound was so loud, so constant, that we had to shout to hear each other.  The sand was littered with dead horse shoe crabs, broken shells and sea weed. There were bits of boats and ropes and tree trunks sticking out of the sand at odd angles. For as far as we could see, there were no other people there.

When we returned home, the windows were no longer rattling and the sun was shining.  We settled in to a calm, normal evening.

I Remember

Winter in Upstate New York.

Winter in Upstate New York.

At least I think I remember what it was like to be love for the first time. I’m not sure what my mind has done to the actual, the factual, if that exists. Have I embellished some things? Did I bury others? Do I chose to remember the romantic and forget the angst? How susceptible is my memory to my current state of mind?

I’m fairly certan that these questions arise because there is a substantial distance in time and experience from the event I’m trying to remember. It’s like trying to make out what exactly lies on the point of the horizon where land meets sky.  The more you focus on it, the fuzzier it gets.

Unlike some people, I usually don’t have memory problems.  Sometimes, I think I remember too much and it might be good to try and forget things that lead to negative feelings.  Forgetting past ills can be cathartic.  Forgetting can also be a convenient way to change history, to reinvent yourself. Do I recall a past that confirms, even flatters who I imagine myself to be today?

Well, all that aside, here is what I remember.

I remember the excitement of meeting someone new. The world morphed into a magical place from the lonely, empty space I knew. I remember a smile taking over my face seemingly of its accord and my heart racing when I saw  him. I remember feeling light as air and I thought surely I was capable of the most amazing things.

I don’t remember how we parted.  I cannot remember if we even acknowledged that our love was over.  We just took off in different directions. I willed myself not to think of the past, to concentrate on the future.

The High Line

The High Line.

The High Line.

It is so easy to be engulfed by shadows in Midtown Manhattan where the view consists of the bricks and steel of building facades and an occasional glimpse of the sky. It can be daunting, even claustrophobic, to both residents and visitors. So, public parks become havens for those in need of the tranquility of a natural environment and the relatively open vistas they provide. Central Park with its big open fields, winding paths and natural as well as man-made attractions is an obvious place to go when the grid of caverns that comprises Midtown overwhelms.

In the past few years, The High Line, a new addition to New York City Public Parks has become a popular go-to place to stroll and take in stunning views of the Hudson River, the New Jersey shoreline and the neighborhoods between Ganesvoort Street (a few blocks south of 14th Street) and 34th Street.  The High Line was built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. It is a 1.45 mile long linear park that gets about 5 million visitors annually.

The High Line is less of an escape than Central Park.  If anything, it has become an attraction on the lines of the Empire State Building or The Statue of Liberty. You can hear people strolling next to you speaking German or Japanese or a number of other languages while they leisurely snap photos and stop to sit in any of a number of benches along the route.  On any given day, there is some form of entertainment ranging from a mime standing in front of a seating area to a chorus singing Broadway tunes. Of course, there are numerous food carts serving all kinds of food and treats. There is a festive air about The High Line and a leisurely pace that sets it apart from most other walkways in Manhattan.  It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or evening.  The only thing that spoiled my last visit was a  number of people looking like they all belonged to the same group asking for donations along one stretch of the path.

Meeting In The Morning At A Coffee Shop

Coffee Shop

Coffee Shop

Mostly in the early morning, the smell of coffee reminds me of my childhood home.  Memories burst into consciousness and feelings of well-being and the excited anticipation of starting a new day come flooding back.  There is melancholy attached.  Those day are gone. Then, a phone call, a voice I couldn’t place and you were back. My dear friend, my first love. More memories pulled from the long distance of time–Ice skating on a moonlit night, sitting on the front steps of my house talking for hours, walking to the top of the park and looking out at the view of Brooklyn and Manhattan. How fitting that we should meet again to reminisce in a coffee shop where the smell of coffee is strong, part of the fabric of the place, where sweet pastries adorn the glass cases like the pastels of flowers in springtime paintings.

On Location–Friday the 13th


This day in mid-November
is one of Nature’s cruel days.
The sun rose over a monotone
gray sky like lethal gas looking
to descend on us.  Instead,
a cold drizzle falls hitting
my face like pin pricks.
The constant wind is enough
to pull the remaining color
from trees to littered ground.
Occasionally, a bird flies
through the heavy air
and landing on a bare branch,
turning its head, it surveys
the scene and takes off.

Everyday Things

Thor after his morning walk.

Thor after his morning walk.

There is nothing like the early morning.  That first cup of coffee enjoyed in a quiet house tastes the best. It is then that I sit down to write–a habit that brings me great joy.  For me, this is the time when ideas are waiting to be written down.

Then there is the rest of the day.  I take Thor for his morning walk. Together we watch the seasons change, daylight that comes and goes, the terrain changing with spring growth that withers and dies in autumn. We observe the yearly cycle and try to understand how we fit in.

Thor is tired when we return and he curls up and naps. But, it is time for me to unroll a mat and do yoga.  Just recently, I discovered gi gong–such a beautiful fitness practice. I do a short gi gong routine to round out this part of my day.

Of course, there are chores to do.. They are many and they take up blocks of time. It is the end of the day that brings them to a close and that is when reading time begins. Now it is time to travel the world, to solve mysteries, to learn about the universe and to enter the lives of characters I would never meet.