New York, on the subway, is always an interesting experience, because of the multitude of people, of different ethnicities, dress, orientation and speech. If I travel on my own, I am standing looking at the map of the underground, working out where I transfer and where I get off. When I wanted to visit the Museum of Natural History to see the mineral collection, I found my way, on my own, with just a few enquiries of strangers. The queue was long and even longer inside the museum. I was lucky to go to the information kiosk only to find out that the mineral exhibit was closed until sometime in 2019. We tried to look it up before leaving home but the site was not helpful. I had the unreasonable expectation that someone somehow would let me see what I had come for, if I could but meet that person. I found the bathrooms and left through the revolving doors that reached up three stories high.
I then decided to cross Central Park and go the Guggenheim Museum of art, on the other side. A ride on a bike-carriage would cost me, so I decided to walk. The park was beautiful and sunny, with some of the trees holding onto their leaves, and the buildings peaking over the top of them and with an ice cream in my hand I set off.
I sat on a bench in the sunshine before leaving the park and I painted as I rested. The wind tried to blow my paper away but I caught it in time.
After this time, I was tired enough to want to go home again. I was sorry not to see the paintings I love in the Guggenheim Museum, but evening was coming down fast. After some more walking, being distracted by a shop with cakes in the window and cocoa for sale, I found my underground station and settled in for the two hour ride home. A change in Jay Street Station got me onto an F train, the same one my family was traveling on, a fact we realized after exchanging a few texts.
On this last leg of the journey a man got on the train near where I sat and started to talk out loud. He overcame all other noise, except the screech of the train brakes as the train stopped and started at the many stations. He addressed everyone yet no one looked at him. I caught the eye of two different women as his story went on. I smiled broadly and they gave me the slightest of acknowledgement with a half closed eye and a hint of a smile. He told us he was retired from the army and that he was well looked after, and had no complaints.
From there he said that, as we were all on this train now, so we would be on a different train some day. We would all be strangers to each other and we would be trying to explain to the other people what we had done with the life entrusted to us. At the end of our lives, would we be happy with how we had reacted to what had transpired?
I was distracted enough to get off the train, only to realize I was at the wrong station and that it was the next station I needed. I leaped back on board coming to a sudden stop in front of everyone. They were all still listening to his story.
Our storyteller was now going over how we only pay attention to such petty things as, who said what and how angry it made us, and what a huge waste of time many of our thoughts, emotions and feelings were. The only requirement for a perfect life on this earth was to love each other.
Screech Screech went the brakes, and I was off and texting my family as I got out at the right station, wandering off in the wrong direction. They shouted after me, scattered before me as they made different efforts to get my attention and get me home with them. By the time I had walked home I was so happy to sit down to a family feast of Chinese food and the little delicate, air filled chocolate cakes I got in Manhattan, celebrating an upcoming birthday.
I would have to ponder the little train sermon later. I look back on the storyteller with a feeling of warmth, that he should put himself out to try and get our attention with his other worldly train story. The darkening evening, the speed of the train, being up on rails over the buildings all added to the surealness of the story. I am sure it was a gift to shortening the journey, to raising consciousness, as the little cakes, created by a genius cake maker, were a gift to our feast, raising our delight in their beauty and taste.
This was a great ending to a few days in the Big Apple.
And if you have a dream of snakes and want to discuss it or of black birds or strange stories, be sure to call and schedule an appointment with me so we can find out how to fly like a bird with such special knowledge.