Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Time Recaptured

Friends in early childhood were situational, and they weren't really friends; you met them in the park or in other places your parents took you. Eventually you were old enough to venture out on your own, and then you could "make friends" with other kids in your neighborhood (this was before the world was such a scary place that real play was replaced by parentally arranged "play dates"). Again, initially you had location in common - which, as I think about it, has always been necessary to starting a friendship.

Eventually you were discerning and actually chose your friends. In your teens they were kids you "fit with," people like yourself; later perhaps you became friends with someone because you admired them and in some way perhaps you and the friend enhanced each other. Lovers and friends were more distinguishable then than in this generation, although throughout history and even in my youth (when the earth was still cooling) it was wise for lovers to also be friends.

Friendships most often seem to be killed by distance and time, or rather, the lack of time.

Lately I've been making friends from a distance. The Internet has removed that once-essential first step of friendship, Location. The irony of this is that while I have made a number of new virtual friends (some of whom I eventually got to know personally), the Internet has also reconnected me with a number of far-flung old friends from various periods in my life, friends who had been "lost." Yesterday I received these wonderful lines from one of them:

I've never felt pressured to write
By anything you've said or implied.
But yes, there is an urgency about it,
Brought on, no doubt, by my own sense
That time has been lost
And that writing is the only way
To try to make up for it.
It's simple - the more I send,
The more I get back.
And therein lies the time recaptured.

said, old friend. How delicious is the recapturing!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Make Your Metaphor!

Wizened Eye photo

Today is "Make Your Metaphor Day" on the Wizened Wizard blog. Here you see a nice big pile of steaming hot manure. Perhaps a politician comes to mind... or a false friend... or your high school cafeteria...
This pile makes me think of horses, but that's only because I'm thankful to them for producing it. But hurry: this offer won't last long! It's already beginning to smell sweet, and soon it will be garden loam, dull as dirt. Compost happens...

Monday, November 27, 2006

New York’s Finest

I’m a pretty good fire builder. Coaxing heat from logs is something I do well, and that skill is a blessing in the cold north woods that I call home. My husband cuts the trees, bucks up and then splits our winter fuel supply, we haul it home (either in the pick-up truck or using the 1952 Ford tractor and an equally old trailer), stack it for the wind to dry, and then move it into the indoor “woodshed” before the arrival of fall’s cool nights. It’s good wood, and we are warm.

This Thanksgiving we carried some kindling and a dozen or so pieces of beech, maple and cherry to New York City for a Thanksgiving day fire in my brother- and sister-in-law’s fourth floor apartment in “Nolita,” the neighborhood between Soho and the Lower East Side. Their place is newly renovated and spacious, with a nice view of the park that runs south from Houston St. just west of Katz’ Deli (you remember the “I’ll have what she’s having!” scene from When Harry Met Sally). The dining room table sits near a modern and attractive fireplace towards the glass-walled balcony end of the flat.

I laid the fire and lit it just as the afternoon hors d’oeuvres and wine were served, but when you ask a wizard to build a fire, expect the unexpected... The wood crackled and everything was cozy, although what had been some distant siren noise suddenly grew closer, and curiosity soon caused some of us to step out onto that balcony. Below were three large fire trucks and a swarm of firemen, all looking up. We looked up too, but as far as we could tell, there wasn’t anything to see.

The next thing we knew, the stainless steel elevator door into the apartment opened and three FDNY professionals in full active duty attire entered, looking for the fire! Someone had smelled our smoke and called 911.

They declined the hor d’oeuvres and a glass of wine, but – like us – were pleased that ours was a fire they had no need to extinguish. We exchanged greetings, and they left.

Here’s to these men who – on Thanksgiving and every other day of the year – work to protect and rescue us. Thank you, Fire Department of New York.

Law and Order: Criminal Intent

I knew I shouldn’t have done it. I’ve read enough whodunnits and seen enough TV to know that most criminals get caught. Sometimes they’re tracked down and a confession squeezed out of them; sometimes their guilt overwhelms them and they tell all as the investigator simply bears witness. Whether it’s Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, or V. I. Warshawski – they always get their man... or woman, as the case may be. I knew it, but that didn’t stop me.

It was a dark and rainy day, the kind that makes you wonder why you got out of bed in the first place, and as Lady Luck would have it, it was Parade Day. I stumbled from my bed, cursed the previous night’s wine and rich food, and groped my way to the bathroom. The mirror didn’t lie: I looked like yesterday’s leftover fish.

The TV was blaring, maybe left on overnight or maybe the others had seen it and gone out without bothering to silence it. I looked through the window down to the wet street reflecting neon and gathering dirty puddles: Turkey Day, 2006.

On the large flat screen, two anchors bantered of floats and bands and celebrity marchers, probably from some snug, warm studio, the parade projected behind them. ‘Easy for them to laugh, I thought.

The true criminal probably spends most of her time living a mundane life, thinking thoughts common to all of us. She sleeps, she rises, she makes her coffee, and only then perhaps does the evil, deviant plan begin to formulate in her mind. So it was with me. I picked up my camera, faced the flat screen and began shooting.

The rest of the weekend I tried to forget what I had done. The sun came out, and as I pushed my way through the crowds in Chinatown, I snapped some more photos. It had been the perfect crime, and a few outdoor NY shots (and editing the NBC logo out of the parade pictures) would cover it up completely.

And then I saw Vincent D’Onofrio coming toward me on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Glimpses of New York City, Thanksgiving 2006

A rainy Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Rockettes dance despite
the cold drizzle

A Saturday walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

Vendors and shoppers
along a Chinatown Street

Fish market offerings