Saturday, March 01, 2008

Moving Slowly and Breathing Deeply

This morning I woke up, and sat in my pajamas for a couple of hours, sipping coffee and studying for a midterm in my history course. I made smoothies and tidied the house a bit. All in all, it was a typical quiet morning here on the hill.

Two weeks ago, I woke up to a very different day. I woke up that Saturday morning very, very early in a hotel room in Manhattan. One of the things that kept me busy during the month of February was a quick trip to New York City as a chaperon for our high school's music department trip. 25 years ago, during my senior year in high school, I went to NYC with about 10 girls from my class and our English teacher. So, when this trip opportunity came up, with both of my daughters eligible to go (and the oldest in her senior year of high school) how could I pass up the opportunity to chaperon?

Aside from the long, long bus ride, this trip was fascinating. We saw Hairspray on Broadway, and saw the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. We visited the Statue of Liberty and toured midtown on a bus, with a friendly, funny tour guide. We stopped along the curb at the World Trade Center Site for quiet moment, looking tearfully at the colorful tiles made by children that line the fence. We shopped in China Town in the afternoon, and along Broadway in the evenings. We spent a couple of hours at the Museum of Modern Art one afternoon, and an entire day at the American Museum of Natural History the next.

If you read this blog, you know how much I love my quiet, country life. Still, the vibrant life that surges all around a visitor to New York is incredible and enervating. One daughter would like to live and work in NYC one day, which is exactly how I felt when I visited at 18 years old. At the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) I purchased a book about a day in the life of Monet (more about that in another post.) The clerk at the counter asked if I was a member at MOMA. "No, I'm not," I told him, "Apparently I only get back to the city about once every 25 years." We laughed about that together. In the midst of a cosmopolitan museum, at the heart of a huge bustling city, people pause in their busyness and connect. For me, it was a "quiet country house" moment, despite my geographic location. It isn't really about the little house on the windy hill. It is about moving slowly and breathing deeply, and recognizing the rich sensation...the quiet joy... that comes from appreciating life.
photos from NYC by Haiku, February 2008 1) Seagull on the waterfront 2) Statue of Liberty
photo from NYC by Aisling, February 2008 3) the garden courtyard at the MOMA


Chellie said...

I went on a family trip to NYC while in elementary school. I was fascinated to see such a completely different lifestyle. I must say though, I was more than ready to get home. I'm in the minority of those who don't want to live there!

Aisling said...

Chellie, Though I wanted to at 18, I really don't want to live there now. I would like to visit more often though! :)

There were plenty of kids on the trip who were eager to get home to the country, and our tiny little village.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Margaret Evans Porter said...

Aisling, I'm a country mouse now but as a young semi-ambitious actress, I thought one was supposed to want to live in NY. And I would try to want it. But whenever I went there to visit actor friends, or take classes, I'd think, "No way, not for me. Only in small doses."

But I do love the theatre and the museums and the galleries and the vibe.

I've got a trip to NY coming up...for professional and family reasons. When I first made the arrangements I was giddy with anticipation. The closer it gets, the more I go into hermit mode!

Aisling said...

Margaret, I'd be thrilled to go there once every few years for shopping and culture and then come back home. Once every twenty-five years is a little dull, though that would be different if I was doing a lot of other travelling. Some day!

I'll bet you have some wonderful stories about those years as a young aspiring actress! I hope you enjoy your trip, depite the "hermit" inclination. lol! Just think how nice coming back home will be.

Nancy J. Bond said...

I'm glad you had such a happy trip -- thanks for sharing it with us. :)

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

Oh Aisling, wow! What a great trip. I've never been to NYC and a dream of mine is to go there for a broadway show. My mother used to get to travel there during her working years and she got to go to broadway several times but the one we always laugh at is when she saw a show staring Tony Randal. He appeared nude and caught her quite by surprise. All she says about that play is, "I saw Tony Randall BUCK NAKED!"

Aisling said...

Nancy, Thank you for your nice comment! It was fun to relive a little of it, through writing my post. I have a few other stories to tell about the trip, if I get time.

Robbin, Your Mom's story is hilarious! George Wendt, Norm from Cheers, played the mother in Hairspray (the role John Travolta had in the movie - which I haven't seen.) That was really fun! :)

Rapunzel said...

I'm so envious! I've never been to NYC but am dying to!

Aisling said...

Rapunzel, It would make a good place to meet up one of these days, don't you think? *grin*