Tuesday was a day of tender hearts and tears here in this too Big Apple. I am sitting at the window of a Starbucks on Canal right now trying to put my thoughts in a straight line once again. I am here with honesty and today, which is going to be difficult because I have to peel back a layer, I have to reveal a bit more. I spent time at the Met yesterday, I was there with little expectation and a quest to cry, to be moved. Elizabeth gave me precise instructions and assurance that I could “do this”. I did. I made it Uptown with a Metro card and a bit of anxiety. I got off of the train on 82nd Street, a street lined with black Mercedes and Range Rovers and a small sprinkle of Teslas, manifestations of the “good life” from Park Ave to 5th. I watched as people funneled down to an elite sort of ultra-wealthy New Yorkers and I appreciated them. There were very old men dressed well as they did decades ago with stooped shoulders and small well groomed dogs on leaches. Coiffured wives on their arms and tots in tow were no longer apparent. I also saw plenty of babies being carted along the avenues by nannies equipped with cell phones and bottles and some sense of purpose, I suppose. Then there were tulips. The tulips on Park Avenue were different than the other tulips planted in small batches along the mere “streets”, these were bountiful and embedded in rich soil that gave them the best start.
Past the tulips and the baby carriages was the Metropolitan Museum, the Met. There were the steps I walked up 4 decades ago and there to the left was the Egyptian Art I quickly walked through in my youth, only to say I did it. I knew I would head straight to the European section…up the stairs to the2nd floor; if any emotion would stir, it would be there, amongst the lives lived in Montmartre in the late 1800s when artist began painting with light and met at Gertrude Stein’s to talk about it over absinthe and ale.
Anyway, it made me cry. I suppose it was my memory of Nice and my friend Kathy. She was drawn to his work and I to van Gogh during those days of youth, I saw what she loved just then, I saw the light. I continued to the van Gogh room and saw his self-portrait encased and center stage and knew he painted it because he could not afford a model, he could not afford his life. I lingered and thought of mine.
The day continued in an introspective way, mostly walking through the streets of New York and thinking about things using the backdrop of this enormous city to compare. The size and population density helped me to put life in perspective, to understand how fleeting it all is and wondering why I worry so much. But I do. Mothers worry about their children. We start with counting fingers and toes and continue by counting minutes until they come home during long nights in Manhattan…