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