I spent yesterday in New York City and Brooklyn. It was a challenge logistically to take care of all the people and animals here at home. My husband is away on business. The friends who usually care for the horses when I am gone both had the flu. I left my neighbor, who is not a horseperson, and my mom, who is 93-years old, in charge. There were no options. I had to go to the funeral of one of my closest friends, so I crossed my fingers and tried to go and come back as quickly as possible.
The weather cooperated. It was sunny with the promise of Spring in the air. I took the train to Grand Central and the subway to Brooklyn, as I have done countless times before. It was my friend’s 60th birthday, but certainly not being celebrated the way her family and friends had expected. I saw people that I hadn’t seen for decades. I recalled the joy and energy of my twenties and thirties.
I brought a birthday present for my friend. She loved the color turquoise. A few days ago, I tracked down a man who had some beautiful blue feathers. He is a medicine man, and he made a“paho”, which is a Native American prayer stick, with an exquisite turquoise feather from a macaw. I gave it to Pat’s family, and we made plans to plant a memory garden at their farm in Maryland with two special trees and her favorite heirloom roses. They will place her ashes there, along with the “paho”.
The one thing I wanted to do was go to her house in Park Slope and have a cup of tea with Pat. We had sat together so many times over 33 years, savoring the moment and our friendship, so it was not something that either of us took forgranted. Now, there was a huge emptiness in realizing I could never do that again. Instead, I got back on the subway and the train and came home.
Pat’s husband said that there was a point in their lives many years ago when they had considered moving to California. They were fortunate enough to have two homes, one in New York and his family's farm in Maryland. As they were sitting on the bank of the river at their farm, trying to make the big decision, Pat looked at him and asked, “Do you see what you have here?” They stayed and built a very meaningful life with their children and their efforts to protect the river and save the Chesapeake Bay.
I drove home from the train, along the winding roads through forests of trees that are starting to bud. The rivers and reservoir are overflowing from all the rain we’ve had. The sun was setting. The horses were waiting for me at the gate, so glad to see me. Everyone at home was safe, and I appreciated where I live so much.
I loved New York City so much when I was younger. It was the place where everything happened first. I felt like I could feel the pulse of the world when I lived there. It was always exciting to be right on the cutting edge. I still am grateful that I can easily dip in and out like I did yesterday. Last night, standing with my horses as they contentedly munched their dinner, I knew that I had lost my edge. If anyone finds it, you can keep it.