And the steaming bird, fresh from the oven, rested on the sideboard, waiting to be carved for the feast of giving thanks.
I must quiet my mind.
Sometimes it can be done with reading on the train. And sometimes it needs to be done by formulating, or finding, some clear thing out of the jumble of tangled strings and wires— the ones that formed knots in one’s head during the tumult of the day.
The severed heads had been put on pikes for all and sundry to see; made examples of. The unseasonably warm autumn weather made grotesques of each— death masques submitting to rot and gravity; to the punishments meted by the state.
Passersby turned their heads, and covered their faces with kerchiefs, but there was no ignoring such a brutal and noisome spectacle.
First: you may disagree, but I don’t demean a beautiful wood grain by referring to it as white noise.
Sometimes the most powerful tonic is a meditative white noise. It’s one of the things I love about the hustle-bustle of this town. Everything retreats as you wander; as you dive inward for a moment— take an amuse-bouche of psychic space. A slice of some steady static can be a city person’s version of soft, reassuring silence.
As a farm girl, I tell you it’s a quieter version of the symphony of cricket-song, late on an early summer’s night. It’s a cacophony of release.
I give you: w o o d g r a i n !
Saturday evening, perhaps twenty minutes before the arrival of some friends, as I sat on the Queen Anne, a shadow shape limped into my peripheral. I said Mouse! And then my tone changed immediately as I saw him slump to a stop on the floor just a few feet from me, and close his eyes. …Mouse?
I thought he may have perished before me in that instant, as he did not move when I interrogated him, nor when I stood up.
My mind searched for what I might do about his limp body. I fetched a wooden drawer that I’d just come across the day before, folded a paper towel in, and used a second to pick the poor thing up. He did not so much as blink when I approached, so I knew he must be feeling very poorly, but he was not yet dead..
I set the box on the kitchen table, and put a tiny butter-pat dish of water and some few pieces of granola in, and left him. He moved around a few times, perhaps trying to get comfortable. I’d warned my guests of his presence, and we left him in there while we gathered in the living room.
Hours later after they’d gone, I went in to check on my new charge, and found the box empty, without so much as a thank you. He clearly had recovered, with speed. Lord knows where he is now, but the insolence! Such rudeness!
Next morning after relaying this new to one of my visitors, I could only joke on the disappearance, “Just like a man!” And then there’s me— always taking in broken things.
That’s what some few of we Brooklynites call Manhattan— the ‘Hatters*. Also, Work Island, The Big Town. Often accompanied by a groan (implying the MTA, etc)
I’ve been spending a fair amount of time there the past few weeks, and it’s been brilliant. I’ve had to re-calibrate my perspective; always a healthy pursuit. Seeing my town with fresh eyes. Remembering why I’m here.
I missed my accustomed, promised Thursday post yesterday, but I was okay with it, fine with it, as I’ve been posting nearly every day for a month. Hope you feel soft towards my remiss as well.
For now, enjoy this dynamic of skyscrapers and rhythmic windows in the perceived (and sometimes actual) heart of NYC on a fine sunny day. Looka’ that crane, building more UP!
If you’ve never done, check out This is New York, by
. . .
*This is a Tara Lynne-ism.