Tag Archives: Travel

Landing: Everyday Magic, Days 108-110

For the last two days, it’s been planes, trains and automobiles with bouts of open and clean space between them, a great anniversary party with friends and family, but mostly that sense of speeding through space. Thanks to New Jersey Transit and Continental Airlines, speed has been all around, from sitting in the ambling nicely train while a super sonic whoosh of an Amtrak jolts me with its passing, to sitting in the rounded end of terminal A at Newark International Airport, waiting to board a second plane after our first one was deemed unfit.

Now I’m home, the cat asleep on my lap (a compromise to keep her from sleeping across the computer keys, all an obvious ploy to say: love me instead), the dog asleep by the feet, the dirty laundry dumped out of the suitcase, the pile of newspapers ready to read and weep over, and all the assorted things to get fixed (like our furnace, which won’t turn on, and the wheel alignment after skidding some to avoid a deer on the way to the airport). The room is quiet, the leaves completely stripped from the Cottonwood, the wind slightly up, and the rose in the vase pretty much spent.

I like landing, especially after what it always takes to get from one dimension to another, from the land of my childhood to the land of the rest of my life. Now it time to walk back into this life more fully as soon as I go find some coffee to replenish the coffers.

Why I Love New York: Everyday Magic, Day 107

After walking 12-15 miles a day for four days, I’m post-callous, and we’re moving with greater ease and speed. Last night, Ken said to me that despite our walking like maniacs wherever we’re being called, and despite doing this at least once a year for many years, we can only skim the surface of what New York is really about. Yet that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to love:

  • One massively big window in a small room at our marvelously imaginative, clean, creative and location-location-location digs, Chelsea Lodge.
  • The Cloisters and mostly the park and setting it’s in with paths wrapping around in layers of rock, forests and breathtaking views.
  • Getting out the subway without any frickin’ idea of where we are and just walking whatever direction instinct calls.
  • Antica Venezia, the most astonishing restaurant of my life (and more on this later), and the elegant, warm and welcoming owner who calls me “Bella.”
  • Little surprises in Greenwich Village and all other places too.
  • Afternoon hot coca and espresso with a plate of assorted cookies that taste like heaven in, of course, Little Italy.
  • The light and how it reflects in buildings and across streets when it’s compressed and angled interesting ways by the height of the buildings.
  • The north woods area of Central Park and its non-human inhabitants.
  • Subways underground that suddenly come out into the air and climb to way overground for a stop or two.
  • How you walk one more block and enter one more world, again and again.

Why I Love Brooklyn: Everyday Magic, Days 104-105

Besides it being, as cousin Tzipora points out, the ancestral homeland, here’s why else I love being here:

  • The smell of the french fries at Nathan’s hot dogs.
  • Not just a tree but thousands of elegant, sometimes ancient and often stunningly beautiful trees grow in Brooklyn.
  • The bonsai trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
  • Walking down gentrified but fun 7th Avenue for hours, then going across a tree-canopied street of brownstones to walk down well-lived-in 5th Avenue for hours.
  • Looking into people’s lives, laundry, windows, rooftops and yards as the subway goes high over ground, rising deeper into Brooklyn.
  • Getting out at Coney Island simply because it’s Coney Island.
  • Walking under the elevated subway through Brighton Beach in one of the least touristy parts of New York (where the motto could be, “Get out of my way”) and where all the signs are in Russian, plus we got great fruit at an Israeli store run by people from Central America.
  • Eating plums on the Q train even if we were stopped for 30 minutes where I watched a fairly young man reach into his wallet and hand a five to young Russian mother carrying a baby in one hand and a sign asking for money to buy peanut and jelly for her family in the other.
  • Getting a 20-minute foot rub on 5th Avenue in a subway-sized store where Ken got his first pedicure.
  • Eating some of the most exquisite Greek and Middle Eastern food of our lives at a small restaurant on the corner of 7 Ave and 8th Streets.
  • The way many people kept coming up to us, asking us for directions because we obviously seemed so at home here.

On the Edge Of Sickness and the City: Everyday Magic, Day 103

Tomorrow we leave the house at 4 a.m. to fly to New York to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Months of planning and dreaming about walking for hours in the brisk air across and throughout the city have diverted me into a slightly dreamy state. Yet as the gods of bad luck might have it, here I am the day before feeling sick and sicker with all manner of symptoms and a long afternoon of herb and over-the-counter intervention. Now that I’ve just downed two over-the-counter sleeping pills (and god knows what I’m writing at the moment!), I’m hoping to wake up restored. A friend of mine once told me our immune systems work like demons when we sleep, and I hope these demons dance up a storm of wellness for me tonight. I see me walking down the streets of Brooklyn and New City refreshed, happy and well. Hope you’ll have similar ventures out tomorrow.

From Following the Possum to High School to Riding the Rails: Everyday Magic, Day 82

The possum was walking toward the high school, so my wonderful escort for the day, Lori, and I  followed. Three high school classes later, with a fast and delicious interlude for lunch in Barnes, KS at Our Daily Bread, the possum was no where to be found, but no matter. It was time to return to the motel, lay stretched out on the bed for a bit, get up, eat and apple and then go with Kelley, Al, Laura and our arts host/organizer/new-best-friend-for-eternity Wayne to ride the rails.

The Marshall County Central Branch Railroad Historical Society, coalesced by the vision, research and chutzpah of the wonderful Ann Walters, saved the last remaining portion(some 88 miles)  of the railroad by raising $45,000 in just seven days. Now they run a delightful little train to give people like us the feeling of what it was like to ride the rails while also sharing the history of these tracks and those who rode them.

Feeling the wind and sun sweep over me as we carried on down the tracks replenished all of us. Prairies, woodlands, coveys of quail springing into the sky and the clear skies holding all of this together encompassed us. We even got to throw rocks down from the tracks to the Big Blue river, making our wishes. I wish for days like this to wrap around us all on occasion, for the possum to get what he needs out of high school, and for the trains to go on with their owl calls day and night.

 

 

Lions, Dogs & Deer but No Black Squirrel Yet: Everyday Magic, Day 81

Today at the Koester Museum, where I’ll be giving a reading tonight, I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of marvelous mammals, and so statuesque too! I haven’t found the famous black squirrels yet, but I’m determined. In the meantime, I’m happy to discover there are all kinds of critters and angels guarding the historic Koester Museum, built by a banker for his family and completed in 1876. The inside is pretty snazzy too, but for now, let us admire the wildlife remembered in stillness and gold, still guarding this elegant home in sunshine and shadow.

On the Cusp of a Road Trip, Mystery & My Childhood Dream: Everyday Magic, Day 80

Tomorrow I head west, at least a little bit, and a lot north, meandering until I find myself in Marysville for five days of being Marshall County’s little poet-in-residence. There’s little I love as much as heading off to someplace new to see what happens. Add to this that I get to meet with dozens of high school students, lunch with elders, give a reading at a historic museum, ride the rails, meet lots of arts lovers, eat a bunch of food, do an all-day writing singing and workshop with Kelley Hunt, and perform with Kelly as well as our friend, the sublime dancer (and artist) Laura Ramberg, and well, I’m kind of in heaven.

When I was growing up, trying to imagine what I would be (as opposed to just being who I was, which has its own fascination but often got me into heaps of trouble), I knew the contents of contentment, but not the form. I wanted to travel, sing and perform, make things, meet people, and wander. In my mind, I even invented my own band called the Rootin’ Tootin’ Tootets, and of course I was lead singer, but I also would bang a tamborine against my non-existent (at the time) hips. The band and I toured extensively, each day an adventure. Turns out it all came true except for the singing part (although one could say reading poetry is its own kind of song).

But I think what I’ve always craved is taking road trips into the mystery of the wide-open world, and by mystery, I mean the present magic around us at each moment. Sometimes it’s easier to see and appreciate when stepping out of the car in a tiny town to look at what’s left of a charmer of an old gas station, but nevertheless, travel is clearly just a way to come home. And home is where the motion always is too.

This is all to say that jumping in the van tomorrow and aiming myself some place new is a way to become that Rootin’ Tootin’ Tootet lead singer again, thrilled at what the road will bring next.

Pictures (from top): Black squirrels from a park in Marysville — I WILL see those squirrels; Koester House museum, where I give a reading Thurs. night; the tour bus for my band would be even more colorful; Waterville Opera House, where Kelley, Laura and I perform on Sunday.