Saturday, May 23, 2009


Wednesday night I walked three blocks south to visit my friend Sarah and her five month old son Evan. Sarah prepared fish tacos as I sat at the kitchen table keeping her company. I held little Evan on my lap and gently poked his Buddha belly. At first he seemed not to mind, but soon grew squirmy. I turned him around to face me. His face lit up in delight, his eyes big as saucers and directed straight at my chest (reminiscent of my fifty-something super who can't help himself when he sees a pretty girl in a tight tanktop). Evan, overcome with excitement, grabbed fistfuls of my hair. Embarrassed, I pretended that he was distracted by my long curls. Sarah laughed and said "No sense in pretending. Things are really transparent at his age." Some things are hard-wired nearly from birth.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Feeding squirrels

One evening, while I sat on the Linden Terrace and watched the sunset over the Hudson, a man joined me on the other end of my bench. He had a scruffy gray beard and wore a skirt and women's flats. Quietly, he opened a plastic bag and placed a treat for the squirrels on his lap. He waited patiently while a squirrel hesitantly climbed down a neighboring tree. The squirrel rushed onto his lap, snatched up the food and retreated nervously to the tree. The man offered more food, the squirrel accepting with growing confidence. After several more forays, the emboldened squirrel grew lazy. It sat on the man's lap greedily nibbling its meal. Then, incredibly, the squirrel climbed up the man's chest and sat on his shoulder. The man's face lit up with joy. He spoke not a word, remaining calm and peaceful. There was a time when I would have judged that man's eccentricity: a cross-dresser who befriends squirrels. Yet these days I appreciate such gentleness. As the sky faded into a soft lavender, I thought, "He's doing what's right for him, and I'm doing what's right for me."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Suddenly Spring

Spring sprung with a hurry. The daffodils appeared overnight, blanketing the hillside by the W190th St. subway stop in a flurry of yellow. The tulips appeared soon after, standing stock straight, confident in their rainbow of beauty. Then the lilacs started, filling the air with sensual perfume. Not to be beaten, the wisteria hung like lacey grapes in fierce floral competition. Now little bluebells are appearing close to the ground increasingly covered with ferns and ivy. The trees have spread a lime-green canopy of electric green new leaves, transforming the skies into a jungle of green that overfills the eyes with abundance.