The Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
How to get ready?
What is needed? What
can be left in the closet?
I would like to leave the scars at home. The tough skin designed to protect from further damage can get very heavy. Not possible. The scars travel with me. I can leave false friendships. That will certainly lighten the load. I have to take love but that won’t be easy to carry. It’s so very fragile, so prone to fading and fraying. I must be cautious. Luckily, memories are stowed in the mind and, though weighty to someone like me who has lived decades, they travel compactly. I will take the self-confident look, the friendly smile, the understanding that comes from long life. Although anxiety and sadness and fear are coming, I am packing them in travel size bottles that meet Transportation Security Administration requirements.
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.
At the edge of the woods.
Today I find myself in a familiar place. Familiar as in state-of-mind familiar. Although I have walked through forests, looked down onto the tree-lined sides of mountains, noted the absence of shade trees by the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and watched the sunrise over the Cypress Trees in Tuscany, I’ve never been here standing at the edge of this densely wooded, dark forest before.
Yet, as I face this wall of thick tree trunks, I know which path to follow. I’m used to being alone and I’m comfortable with new experiences. I’m confident that this day, this walk will be filled with wonders unique to this place. So, I’ll continue on into the woods accompanied by curiosity and loneliness.
As in a dream, it comes in a rush like when you pull the stopper out of a sink filled with water. Then, you know. I was an African once and then an Egyptian. How do you know. Rhythm. Through the resonance of rhythm, the awareness erupts and the movements of dance reverberate deep inside. And the realization of a soul that goes back to the beginning when we rolled out of the muck and slime of the sea to breathe air and walk on land, hits like the push/pull of the tides. The never-ending rhythms buoy us on timeless vibrations as life evolves into new forms, new consciousness, new knowledge.
The sky is gray now but I can see the pink and blue of sunrise in the east. It is 6:30 and I am walking Thor up the hill of a dark street in upstate New York. There are no street lights here and only a crescent moon so I am walking in the middle of the road. Thor is busy sniffing and peeing in the roadside bushes tethered to me by a fifteen foot leash. The crisp silence of this late autumn morning is disturbed by a sudden wind that jostles the bare tree branches. I look up at the brightening sky.
That’s no bird on the top branch of one of the tallest trees. It’s a leaf—maybe the last one on that tree—clinging even as the wind lifts it skyward then drops it down. My attention is pulled away from this sight by the clack, clack, clack of a very long train judging from the time it takes for the sound of metal on metal and the intermittent cry of the horn to cease. I walk only a few feet before I here two quick shots—bangbang—reverberate through the air. Is it hunting season?
I am suddenly chilly. I rush the dog back home and into the warm kitchen.