Recently, I was having a lovely lunch with three close friends, outdoors at The New Leaf Café, in Fort Tryon Park, when one of the women announced that she and her husband were planning to sell their place near us and move into a retirement community down south. We all paused in our eating. There was a moment of silence before we congratulated her and began asking questions. We have been together, the four of us, for almost 15 years, meeting at least monthly to discuss a memoir we had read and to share the intimacies of our lives through writing. We are all headed toward 80 and the topic of retirement communities was not a new one. Still, as I looked across the table at my dear friend, I felt tears welling.
In younger days, I traveled with a backpack. It was an army surplus backpack, its green canvas fabric soft and flexible, as though it had been washed many times, although I can’t remember ever washing it. It had fraying straps and an ink stain on one of the pockets. [Click on title to read entire post]
[Click on title to read full post] The east-facing windows of our new Brooklyn Heights apartment, on the 32nd floor look out across the expanse of Brooklyn and Queens, building after building. On the horizon, I can see the air traffic control tower at JFK airport, twelve miles away as the crow flies, more visible in some lights than in others. The horizon stretches north and south behind the tower in a long, flat line, broken here and there by a building that rises higher than the land. The expanse of Long Island lies in the distance behind.
I grew up in northwestern Maine, in the foothills of the White Mountains, at a time when electricity had drawn only the slightest curtain over the night sky. In New York, I missed the stars.
As a young adult, I spent summer vacations on a three-acre island in 42-mile long Moosehead Lake, a venue which offered the most rewarding of night skies. [Click on title to read the whole post.]