I’m writing this at a checkered table deep in the Hudson Valley. Though darkness has swept over the house, today held moments of intense beauty. We drove up and down the winding backroads of the Woodstock area passing trees on fire in oranges and reds, yellows and greens holding onto the last shreds of summer. As one in love with autumn, I enjoyed watching the leaves physically changing color and listening to their rustle as they finally sighed, falling from their branches. I learned names of small birds- titmouse, Carolina wren, hairy woodpeckers and baby cardinals as we watched them peck at the feeder filled with peanuts- as we worked in the kitchen on laptops. I befriended a chipmunk and in the car today we saw a black bear loping along the side of the road until he found a tree stump and climbed up staring out at us. I beheld a monarch butterfly perched atop the petals of butterfly flowers closing its wings, opening them.
What this reminds me of: During college I spent a summer in the South of France, lazily walking the streets at the end of a long day in class, at lunch, now “licking the windows” on my afternoon strolls. When our study abroad program ended, a few of us set out for Italy. A deep forlorn valley formed when I left France. In spite of the beauty of Italy- and it was beautiful, it didn’t matter. I couldn’t get France out of my mind. I had left France, voracious for more. And the more couldn’t be filled by the Duomo, by Michelangelo, by gelato, by the weathered streets and cheery fountains in Italy.
A sense of doom lodged itself in me at Chelsea Pier yesterday as the sun was setting. No longer could I walk the length of the pier to Union Square, taking in the people, iPod in ear. No longer could I hop on and off the subway train at 11 p.m. thronged with people awake, wide eyed, thirsty for the night. Instead the sun set over Jersey City and a recognition of leaving entered every open orifice. I accounted it as a lack of rest, a need for some private time but today awoke to find it hanging over me like mist. This veil of longing for a city that is not mine but that somehow is everyone’s.