Wednesday, November 26, 2014
A smiling face lights up one’s presence as if to enlarge the aura inviting those close by to feel similar thoughts of beauty. It’s contagious like a germ on the handles of the treadmill waiting actively to be lifted off and passed around. Sometimes joy of expression pulls in someone on the peripheral of society unsure to join or retreat in the company of others.
Take Kathleen Turner, the actor. A chance moment to cross her path in the audience at a Broadway show, and after the mere seconds of questioning, “is she, or isn’t she?” her signature smile at my husband and I confirm the truth. She is part of the crowd appreciating an evening out, and she still is not afraid to be recognized at a distance letting her glow be absorbed into the bodies of others.
The point I make is that the loveliness of a smile can do so much for mankind to shed the divisions running rampant through the streets of our minds, and acted out selfishly in our relationships.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Let yourself go. Fly a kit. Paint a picture. Scuba dive. There are millions of reasons why not, and a hundred excuses right at the tip of your fingers. The timing is never going to be right. Face up to it. Imagine having the confidence in yourself to soar by taking a risk and experiencing the reward.
Out of all those explorations a new passion emerges taking the entire focus of your existence for the time being. Stick to it. Nothing worth achieving comes easily, or without suffering.
The freedom within to try all sorts of things is inherent in a child and disappears with age sadly. Something can be done about it, though. You have to take the first baby step.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Saturday, November 22, 2014
There’s something in the genes. I’ve noticed how two grown brothers are identical in their manner of sauntering through a crowded room despite they haven’t seen each other in many years; or a mother and daughter have that similar fast paced bounce to their step on the sidewalk like they have springs in their shoes regardless that the younger is wearing high heels and the older is sporting comfortable flats. That’s where the similarity stops, for remarkably, each person walks a distinct path that is made for one set of feet only. As much as two persons appear to be similar, in fact, DNA proves it, life choices take them off in different directions.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Thursday, November 20, 2014
I feel the eeriness echoing from within, and I absorb the enormity of my emotions. I came knowing full well it would be difficult.
Like an infant leaving the hospital snuggled in his mother’s arms, so is the birthing of new life in Lower Manhattan.
The sky is as blue as the azure tint of a newborn’s receiving blanket. It is the identical hue today as on the morning of 9/11/2001. There is not a single cloud in the sky. No wind.
I will leave you to your own story of that dreadful day.
Today, I am standing in line with a multitude of people from all over the world waiting to visit the National September 11 Memorial and Museum commemorating the attacks on the World Trade Center of 2001 and the bombing of 1993.
It is the rebirthing of a site once the hallmark of international trade. I lift my head up and around noticing new building construction rising even higher into the sky. There is no stopping commerce like labor pains in the delivery room. It feels optimistic, though. Resilience.
Since the first anniversary of the attack, I have gone to the site when I am in New York, and locked my hands in the steel fence offering a prayer for those the world lost that day. I am in good company with the other tributes of flowers and notes linked into the enclosure encompassing the vast empty cavity in the earth.
In its place has risen a gentle waterfall sculptural space etched with the names of those lost. It is meant to be cathartic in its power of memory rushing over the water.
When I order tickets online for this particular date and time, I am given information in order to make my experience meaningful. Normally, I read all the details. Instead, I take a different route. I want to walk into the museum and let my own feelings come to the surface without preconceived expectations.
Not surprisingly, the folks that lived through the early days of unrest and trauma are not as anxious to tour the museum. I must say that I don’t blame them. My daughter and her husband carried on like robots during the horrors for weeks on end. One friend escaped miraculously by ducking into a building that saved her from being under crumbling girders.
The museum’s significance rests, first and foremost, in its location: The 110,000 square feet of exhibition space are within the archaeological heart of the World Trade Center site.
The museum takes visitors underground — literally. It lies 70 feet below ground, so entering the museum involves descent from the light of the outside into dimly lit depths, which adds to the overall power and pathos of this hallowed ground.
A variety of fascinating exhibits reveal the makeup of New York City’s impressive bedrock, like a 450-million-year-old chunk of Manhattan schist, excavated in August 2008.
WTC’s architectural grandeur is also showcased via a large-scale model, originally built in 1969 to 1971, which is one of the largest and most detailed WTC presentation models still surviving today. It’s a compelling piece, because it highlights what the World Trade Center was, rather than what became of it.
And what became of the WTC is displayed throughout the museum, including the Survivors’ Staircase, which was the last visible remnant of the buildings after the attacks. The stairs served as a critical life route for many to escape, and in 2008, the 58-ton stairway moved to the museum, where it looms today.
I view a massive twisted piece of “impact steel,” a portion of the north tower facade that suffered a direct hit from American Airlines Flight 11.
One side of the museum encompasses the slurry wall, a retaining wall that was built to keep the Hudson River from flooding the site.
But though the museum is filled with gigantic pieces that bear the scars of tragedy, it’s the small personal objects that are perhaps the most haunting: smudged reading glasses, a pair of heels, a trampled wallet displayed to reveal its contents of coins and credit cards, a flight attendant’s wing lapel.
There is one place in the bowels of the tower where family, friends and visitors may leave a computer message that immediately is projected onto the wall. I wait in line behind a woman and her family hovering over the keyboard. When I read what she is writing — “We miss you and will never forget” — I realize that they need space to mourn and celebrate a life. I back away and leave them in peace.
Like the Holocaust Museum, Pearl Harbor and Gettysburg Battlefield, a silence prevails as everyone has a lot to process. I feel the eeriness echoing from within, and I absorb the enormity of my emotions. I came knowing full well it would be difficult.
In my opinion, the museum is tastefully done. It is both educational and historical examining the past and its continued global significance. I am not sure that I agree with paying an admission price. Someone remarked that you don’t pay to go into a cemetery.
Although the gift shop is not tacky and it is positioned out of the main thoroughfare, I refrain from making a purchase. I can’t think of any object that would want to take home. My memories are in my head.
Traipsing the crowded sidewalk back to the subway, I have spent time in a sacred place. I paid my respects. It was the right thing to do.
Will the world learn from that September morning?
If I want to do my best writing of the day, I don’t check my email inbox. That has to wait along with seeing how many more twitter followers I received overnight, and the latest Asian stock market report. If my writing gets stalled and the sentences are not flowing effortlessly, I will sneak a peak at the obituaries to see if I am listed among those gone to their reward upstairs.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
There's something about the first snowstorm of the season. Northeastern folks question their skills and drive like it's their first time out in slippery conditions when they should know better as veterans of past years. Have they lost their faith in snowplows and sand trucks out treating roads with the upmost care? Winter comes regularly without fail, and gusty winds more often than not are unavoidable. It shouldn't be a big surprise that heavy coats, boots and snow brooms is part of the drill.
How discouraging for Mother Nature wishing to commence with a beautiful season filled with Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas cookies and assorted family activities to be reminded that snow is simply a pain in the neck.
Don't overlook the beauty. Focus less on the inconveniences.