Just in case you wondered whether I actually saw anything else of New York City except for inside of subway trains, giant paper mache sculptures, Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben and hippies playing trumpets, I'm here to tell you that I did.
Left to my own devices and on a tight schedule, much of what I saw was accidental, serendipitous, but honestly that is kind of how I like my cities. Natural History museums, street art, subway music, random places to eat, random places to see, I'm not big on agendas, or sights, even when I have the time.
My gracious hosts, Demetria and Rebecca were gone most of the time I was there, and I got in late and left early, but it was really wonderful to have a place to stay that had wifi, a teapot and cats.Most nights I just crashed onto the couch with a cup of tea, or played with Rebecca's super sweet, but very suspicious kitties. Winning those cats over became like half my mission in NY.
Unwinding in a nice apartment and getting the little sleep I did and some healthy meals I could cook for myself, really made the difference for me. It was also pretty cool to be in an actual neighborhood and get to see a tiny slice of real New York life.
The time I spent in NYC was by necessity short and sweet, crammed chock full of events and seminars and lots of walking, but I did have two half days off to see the sights. Mostly I walked around Brooklyn, in Park Slope, Gowanus and of course, Williamsburg, which actually really reminded me of Seattle's own Ballard, a once working class place that got hip and then incredibly gentrified with many, many condos going up constantly.
My last day in the city, Demetria and I finally managed to get in
We talked about books, blogs, the country and the city, about feminism and womanhood and activism and empowerment and style and everything else, it seemed, between heaven and earth. We even wore matching plaid outfits ;)
Incidentally, all through my time in NY I was noticing small signs of "psychic connections" everywhere. Typically, I'm at my most receptive with that sort of stuff, when under-nourished and sleep-deprived...
The thing I love the most about cities, the thing that does seem otherworldly and oddly meaningful, is the amount of tiny, magical co-incidences and secrets that constantly wait for whomever is willing to find them. A city is a little like a never-ending easter-egg-hunt that way. One of those moments in NYC was stopping at the neighborhood's little free book store and finding a Joan Didion book just waiting there, ready for a plane ride home.
I was also lucky enough to convince Demetria give me a tiny tutorial on close-up photography, which was really fun. She's a food photographer who takes these beautiful pictures brimming with mood, the light and the dark and a little feel of the old world, even as they look totally current. Having only recently found my way back to photography and being very much a impatient shooter, it was fascinating to hear a little about how she constructs and image. Everyone should get to get their pointers from professionals sometimes.
And in the true spirit of Psychic Energy and the Fall Equinox, which just happened to be that night, we ventured into a magic shop for some supplies.
We got some lodestones and some citrines, some jadeite, for clear heads, for our true North, for success in our endeavors.
Maybe I was feeling extra sensitive…well I mean, I for sure was, because of the afore-mentioned emotional intensity, and outside stimulus and new thoughts by the barrel, but everything about that afternoon, took on a kind of strange hue of meaning and significance. I walked around as though in a trance.
Later that day, I wandered by myself through the wide, leafy boulevards and small meandering paths of Prospect Park. I watched, in awe, the small strenuous birds and insects and squirrels that populate the grounds, making a life wherever there is room, tenuously pushing against the brownstones and tenements and pavement. Crawling in and out of the tiniest cracks between the disparate universes of nature and manmade.
I won't lie. I hugged some trees. I may have cried a little. It was a wild, wild place to be and I was exhausted.
But something about walking in that park was deeply grounding and healing and helped me integrate everything that had happened in those short four days. As strange and foreign as it was, it reminded me of home.
That night, we told fortunes under the new moon and in the glow of Brooklyn's street lights. They were frighteningly accurate…
ps. Don't forget you've got one more night to win a copy of Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything by commenting here, or here.