Thursday, October 16, 2014

Harlem anniversary

The roses are making a modest comeback after hot summer, as the fava beans and peas are rising like skinny snakes from the planters on the terrace. The sun's four hour reign over the garden is interrupted now by the roof of the homeless shelter on 126th Street, so we get sun on one side of it, for an hour or so, a shadowed pause, and then some more on the other, western side, for another two.

Shadows are longer, the apartment is darker, and we have been here exactly a year.

I like the life on the street. The life where you greet neighbours sitting on their stoops, and where you are greeted by strangers on the sidewalk. I like the voices I hear through the window, at loud conversation, in accents only known from movies - deeply black American, a sense of the South. There is eye contact - I like that. I like the ease of communication between people who have never met. In Cobble Hill people studiously and coldly avoided it. I like the diversity. I like the Nigerian dress and the dapper suits and the sense of identity. I like the saxophone practising down the block and the opera singers exercising their voices as they walk to the subway. I don't like the screaming matches and the motorbikes that tear down the street. Nor having to skirt certain blocks at night. I like knowing which blocks to skirt.

I miss having a horizon. I'd give a lot for that bare silvertop rooftop where we could sit and watch the shipping traffic on New York Harbor, and watch the sun's path from its rise to to its setting over Jersey. We both need horizons.

It has been an interesting year. I have learned a lot about myself. In some ways I am weaker than I would like, in some ways I have done well, and have improved. One thing we both also know, and expressed last night - we need to think. I mean, we need time to think. I haven't really thought for a long time. So we need to find a place where we can both think, and a lifestyle that permits it.

Horizons help. One needs a view.


  1. I can relate to the need to rethink your lifestyle. My husband and I are doing just that and, because he is retired and I work from home, we took six weeks to do just that and drove to the west coast and back. I look forward to learning what you and Vince decide to do.

    In the meantime, congratulations on your Harlem anniversary!

  2. Happy Anniversary. Don't worry, your horizon is still there in the people who read your blog

  3. Lost horizons can inspire wanderlust.

  4. Hard to believe it's been 1 year already since you were looking for a new place and settled in.
    I am anxious to see where your new adventure takes plant beautiful roots wherever you land.

  5. You made it a year; now that's something to celebrate. Congratulations, Marie! I truly understand the conflicting feelings surrounding your Harlem home that you write of so beautifully. I trust that you and Vince will find what you are needing - and a view to go with that. Thank you for allowing all of us to go on this journey with you.


  6. Happy Anniversary in your Harlem Home! You have made it so beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us.


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