Monday, March 15, 2010
Upstairs from me lives an Indian family: a father, a mother, their son, and the grandmother. For the past two years I have been watching the little boy grow from infancy to toddlerhood. I often see the boy and his grandmother in the foyer, the grandmother calmly keeping him company while the boy explores the hallways. They greet everyone who enters with gentle eyes and shy smiles. The little boy's face lights up when he sees The Pooch. When he was smaller, and would squirm to touch The Pooch, the grandmother, not trusting an unknown dog, would disallow it. Now that the boy is older, the grandmother has grown more lenient and he squeals with delight to feel The Pooch's soft fur. Once, in the beginning, the grandmother said to me. "It's not good for a little boy to sit inside by himself in the apartment all day." So, in order to have the company of others, they hang out in the foyer. I used to imagine that, being from India, they must be used to constantly having people around. But on further thought, I now think that it makes sense in any culture. Being alone in one's apartment can't be good for one's soul, no matter how old, how young, or what country one calls home.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Yesterday and the day before brought an early taste of spring to NYC, roughly two weeks after one of the biggest snowstorms in recent memory brought the city to a halt. I walked to work under a Caribbean blue sky that lifted my mood with the promise of returning life. For the last several months, I had been trudging through winter's muted grays, my energy level matching the leaden skies. But tonight The Pooch and I walked through a heather garden recovering from winter's devastation. Purple crocuses, the first to bring spring's cheer, had sprung up overnight under one of the gnarled trees. White bluebells dotted both sides of the path like stars. The Pooch and I sat on the Linden Terrace and watched the sky aflame with sunset. I was reminded of gentler days, when people walk more slowly and smile more easily, when life's trials flow away more gracefully into memories. Now the weather threatens to turn cold again. The weatherman has forecast three days of rain. But tonight's lighter springtime mood will carry me through. Nature is trustworthy. No matter how cold the winter, her rebirth brings an end to all the seriousness, reminding us to rejoice in being alive.