I keep saying this, to anyone who will listen: what I really want in this life is to go places. As much as I love my little cozy house in the country and all the ways rural life manifests for me, I am not content to just sit in my patio chair shelling peas and wondering. I want to go. There’s a whole big world out there! There’s so much to do, so much to be amazed by. When I turned fifty last week, it didn’t go as planned, you guys. I totally meant to celebrate my half-century of life in this world, and to embrace the beginning of the next phase, but instead I wallowed in self-pity and was, in general, a giant ugly pain. And then I hated that I couldn’t, even at fifty, be a grown-up, which made me feel worse. I have never yet learned to keep the emotional baggage of my birthday at bay, and I always spend most of the day near tears, for complicated reasons that honestly don’t have much to do with getting older. I am thrilled to be getting older, in part because it means I am not as yet dead, but also because I feel more free to yell when I want to and when somebody needs it, and to care less about what my hair and backside look like, and because my children are grown, I have more time and resources to go places. So when my birthday was finally over and I had cheered up a little, Doc and I got on a train for New York.
A word about train travel. I’m a little afraid that somebody will find out how wonderful it is to travel by train in the US and ruin it somehow by adding a bunch of annoying rules, but until that happens, I’m traveling that way whenever I can. I could write long verses of love poetry about train travel—it is so uncomplicated, so civilized and gentle. So comfortable. It is patient and kind. Liberate yourself from the airport security line and take the train.
I love New York so much. There is such an abundance of life there. The theater lights glow golden in the twilight, the same color as the hurtling, honking taxis. They are everywhere, but still, take the subway; it is so much more pleasant and I am not even joking. It is clean and efficient, and everyone makes room for each other, and teenage girls get up and give their seats to grandmothers, and kids on their way home from school play rock-paper-scissors and read library books, and if someone bumps your foot, they apologize. If you don’t know how to find your stop, someone will help you. I just love it.
Central Park is ravishing. It is in bloom right now, and filled on a warm weekend with children and dogs and musicians and people (like us) walking hand in hand. We walked for miles, for hours, dragging up, finally in a sandwich shop on 43rd Street, and I sank gratefully into a chair, planning never to get up again.
At the MoMA, we finally saw “The Starry Night”, which has its own guard, and a big crowd of people lined up and waiting to take a quick picture with their phones and then leave without even looking at the painting (Doc said, quietly, to me, “You know, they sell postcards of that in the gift shop...”). The Cy Twombly gallery was the one that really made me light up, though; that one up there is from his huge “Four Seasons” work. They were so wonderful, and I am wildly inspired now.
Of course I bought yarn. Armloads of it. I could have bought armloads more. Much more about that later.
Until next time, NYC. #heart