November 30, 2010

This Time of Year

Posted in Children, Family, Holidays, Home tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:52 am by Liliana

Winter Evenings

Winter Evenings

I love this time of year – the interval between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

I know, I know.

The weather is cold, the traffic gridlocked and people complain about stress and consumerism.

Everyone is frenzied and over-hyped and busy shopping.

Sentimental holiday movies and Christmas elevator music surround us like a plastic bubble.

I don’t care.

I love the energy, the festivity of it all.

I love that the children are coming home – from college and law school and various jobs around the country. I love preparing the house for them, baking, starting a big pot of chicken soup. We sit in our warm, fragrant house, watching movies while wrapped in soft blankets.

On a Saturday morning, someone will run out and buy a Christmas tree. If Nena and I go, we will spend most of the morning looking, our hands and cheeks raw and cold, and our tree will be crooked and dry. We always seem to buy the one that no one else wants. If Jeff and Sam go, they will buy the first tree they see, and it will be fresh and balanced and perfect.

On Main Street, trees are covered in tiny yellow lights, flickering like lightning bugs.

I fall for those lights every time. During these fifty years of my life, I have been unable to build up any resistance at all.

October 19, 2010

Streets of New York

Posted in Travel tagged , , , , , , , at 6:55 am by Liliana

Crowded Street in New York

Crowded Street in New York City

I spent four days in New York City last week.

One minute I was in Michigan, and then, a few hours later, I walked out onto the streets of Manhattan.

It is not easy to describe the living and breathing monster that is the energy of this city. One feels its pulse and hears its labored breathing with every step one takes.

On this overcast, steamy Thursday the animal opens the wide sphere of its bottomless jaw and swallows one more pedestrian as she joins the mass of humanity walking down Lexington Avenue.

Everyone and everything seems to be in motion. People and things are: walking, honking, talking, running, sliding, driving, bicycling, arguing, directing, begging, drinking, twirling, dancing, swinging, stirring, swaying, crawling, flowing, hovering, dodging, eating, bustling, signaling, shifting, rolling, fluctuating, buzzing.

The bubble of deafening noise envelops the city like a cacophonous cloud. Traces of exhaust, food, smoke, steam and who knows what else, cling to one’s hair and clothes like barnacles.

There is no sky, no air.

There is no sweet smelling, expanding, green and silent earth.

There is no outside world.

One has been swallowed into the stomach of this leviathan called New York City. But as this willing captive glides with the crowd, she wishes to be nowhere else.

At least for a few days.