Strange Days

Well, my time in Sarasota is over and I find myself back in my warm bed in Brooklyn. The other night I saw the huge scoop of the waxing crescent moon hovering above lower Manhattan, looking almost as if it would graze the antenna on top of Tower 1 at the World Trade Center Site. Now there’s one building I wouldn’t mind not having a view of: it has no panache – no style. But that moon, on the other hand, is a reminder of how piddling our little works are – how pale our electric lights, by comparison. What cares the moon for the barking of dogs?

Were it not for the moon’s changing and the shifting of the seasons, I wonder how we humans would keep hope alive. Were each day just another day for the sun to rise and set on its rigid parabola, were there no such thing as Summer, Fall, Spring and Winter. I think we do not know how blessed we are to bear witness to the cosmos through our little window into it. We evolved western types are taught to look down our long noses at our forebears and at any who continue to believe that there is significance, importance, power in the celestial bodies that fill our night sky. Because science has helped us understand the chemical makeup of stars, we believe that we understand their essence. But is a human no more than a conglomeration of molecules? What, then, makes us any different from those burning bodies in the ether? Or from any other bit of matter? A rock, a lake, a jellyfish, a leaf?

It is difficult, sometimes, to practice what I preach. I have such high ideals of love and forgiveness. And yet, I sometimes have to face down old demons. Can we love our demons without embracing them and letting them run amok among the hills and valleys of our strange lives? Can we protect and respect ourselves without building walls around our hearts? Can we forgive, though our memories are tenacious and our tendency to chew on old bones is strong?

One late night in Sarasota, my phone rang and a ghost of friendships past spoke up from the other end of the line. My old instinct to repair and forgive kicked in and I found myself dressing in the unseasonable cold we had, preparing to revisit a relationship long dead. It started off ok, but then it spiraled down quickly and suddenly we were sorting through the ashes of the past for old reasons and explanations, placing old blame, and I realized that there was no point. Forgiveness, in order to be bestowed, must first be asked for, and apologies made, and it was clear that no such request would be forthcoming, so I said goodbye again and closed the door on that crypt for good.

It seems to be that old loves were on the menu right as Venus wrapped up her retrograde, and I drove across the state and through and enchanted bower of old Florida forest and finally found myself in the company of someone who once might have laid claim to my heart, but in my years in New York, he chose another heart to call his own. Though time, I thought, had shown us how to be more than simply former lovers, years also reveal where things break down and old bonds, once their forging is forgotten, oxidize in the atmosphere of other attachments and desires, of conflicting goals and comprehensions of what it means to be bonded to another, even in friendship. This is something harder to close the door on, but what do you do when the hinges begin to rust and no one is getting what they want from the old bonds anymore?

I had another scare two nights before I left Sarasota: mom’s dog, Skeeter, followed me outside and didn’t seem inclined to go back in, so I let him ramble in the front yard for a bit, thinking he’d tap at the door as usual when he was ready to go in. But an hour later we couldn’t find him. Mom was in a panic because he is elderly now and can’t hear well. Earlier in my trip, when mom and I were visiting my Aunt in Miami, my grandmother called to say Skeeter had wandered off and she’d found him under a bush, seemingly unable to walk.

I had planned to be headed back to New York by now – what if my thoughtless action led to Skeeter’s death?? That night it rained lightly and I climbed down from my studio tower to call to him, in hopes the drizzle would entice him to the porch, but he didn’t show. I envisioned mom finding his still golden form curled somewhere the next morning and prayed for his return.

The next morning – another grey day in Sarasota – I awoke to find that Skeeter had returned, tired, but safe. He snoozed in the living room that day as I finished my submission for a creative writing MFA in the city.

I headed north the following morning and drove back to New York with a pit stop in North Carolina, to see my friend Mary Caton and her husband.

dromedary cloud en route

dromedary cloud en route

I took blue highways through Pennsylvania and marveled at farmhouses and rolling fields, snow-covered, all the way back to Manhattan, where I parked eventually on the west side of Midtown and joined my friend Silvia’s birthday party in progress at a Cuban restaurant with a live band.

The next day I modeled for a drawing session and then pulled my usual shift at the Beauty Bar. In between, I went to my cousin’s apartment in Brooklyn Heights, where we celebrated my soon-to-be second cousin – or is it first cousin once removed?  Then I had a few days to recover from all the traveling before Fashion Week saw me working long hours in the Lexus Lounge – which I heard got a write up in the New York Times.

runway show at milk studios

runway show at milk studios

All week I was with a tight crew of coworkers and clients – many of whom I worked with in September at the last Fashion Week.

the boys of the lexus lounge

the boys of the lexus lounge

The final night culminated with a late runway show and a party, after which I was totally worn out and it was all I could do to get myself home, though I did allow some time to shake it with a curly-haired Chilean coworker at the underground party in the basement of Milk Studios. Meanwhile, snow shows no sign of stopping its dropping upon us, and gusting winds forbid wanton wandering out of doors. I caught my customary post-fashion week cold like clockwork, but this time managed to frighten it away with loads of water and bed rest.

Now one must simply wait for winter to exhaust her supply of nastiness and let spring begin to unfurl her pale green tendrils and bring us all back to life.

A few nights ago, I awoke from thirst at some point in the early morning and saw the huge peach moon again peeking in at me, this time clearly in the act of setting, throwing her faint orange glow onto my window frames, the light before dawn, pale but beautiful in its delicacy.

I didn’t want to stop staring, but sleep again overtook me and escorted me through the dark underbelly of the night and produced me into the light of another strange day.

Love and miss,



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