I awoke this morning thinking I would get an early start by going out into the snowy streets to take some video footage. But then I looked at the weather and it said with the wind chill it felt more like about 20 degrees and I thought better of it. So I practiced my French, answered a bunch of emails, and then finally layered up and went out into, as it turned out, the not so cold, cold.
I did a little shoveling of the sidewalk, took a walk, reminisced about New York City and things that I was reminded of as I walked, before heading home. Here’s that video:
As I finished posting the above video to YouTube I looked out the window and saw this…
So a little more snow, evidently is here. However, according to the weather report on my phone app it is cloudy right now and will rain this Friday. Go figure. I think it’s safe to say that the weather forecast is unpredictable and often incorrect. However this pandemic means that whatever the weather, it doesn’t make any difference because we weren’t planning on going anywhere anyway!
When last we spoke I was getting headaches almost constantly. I am happy to report that I have not had one in two days! My mother reminded me that drinking more water can help, which I have been dutifully doing, as well as a whole routine that involves daily warm compresses, eye drops and neck exercises. And did I mention drinking lots and lots of water? Lots and lots of water.
Aging takes up a lot of time and requires a great deal of energy, I’ve concluded. My mother used to say “aging isn’t for the faint of heart.” At other times she has been known to put it more succinctly: “Aging sucks.” So we can just leave it at that.
Any little bit of snow is exciting news here in New York City where we used to get several big blizzards a year, but now, not so much. So in anticipation I went out for an early morning stroll and had such a lovely walk. I made a video of my morning outing and just posted it on my YouTube Channel: Ariane Zurcher ~ On the Other Hand.
As often happens when I’m video taping while exploring New York City, I ended up reminiscing about when I was a Parsons School of Design student, a roommate who used to keep a pair of cross-country skis in her apartment and would ski down Fifth Avenue when a good storm ripped through the city. I remembered a trip my husband and I took to Iceland, and three days into it, I fell and shattered my right elbow. The photo below was after I’d had it stabilized, so that we could continue our trip.
As I strolled along the snowy New York City streets I decided to wander over to Madison Square Park and then found some old photos of the Victory Arch that was built just to the north of 23rd Street and the Flatiron building. The arch, celebrating the end of the first World War, was subsequently torn down.
A few photos of my walk, but if you want to see more and hear about my various adventures, watch the Youtube video I just posted.
These days we hardly get any snow at all, so this storm was greeted with a lot of eagerness and excitement, by young and old. The two photographs below are from a snow storm we had in February, 2009.
The most magical times in my life have been those moments when I met someone and the connection was instantaneous or they did or said something that was particularly moving and memorable. Likewise there have been places that felt magical, like some sort of spiritual vortex, inexplicable, yet utterly unique and beautiful. And there are those moments spent in the company of an animal, whether domesticated or not, moments when your breath is taken away because of the sheer beauty and magnitude of this creature that you are sharing space with. And then there are those times spent in nature, so exquisite, words cannot do the experience justice.
I had one of those moments last weekend. I was accompanying my husband to the Farmer’s market and happened upon a young violinist, Wael Elhalaby, playing in front of the Union Square Market entrance. I stopped and began recording. The music he wove expressed a deeply soulful, yet playful being. Entranced, I stood video-taping him and when he finished we chatted for a few minutes. That man made my weekend. It was one of those magical moments, beautiful, rare and profound. I made a youtube video and inserted the entirety of that recording into the video. So if you’d like to hear it, click ‘here‘ and go to 3:06 to see the beginning and through to the end of his playing. It’s well worth it. In the description section of that video I include links to all of Wael’s social media as well as how to help support him, if you feel moved to do so.
I’ve been lucky as I’ve had a few of these kinds of encounters. I still remember them in minute detail. A couple even led to friendships that I treasure to this day, others were one-offs and I never saw that person again, but all of them were magical.
When my children were young, we had spent a long hot day in the park and were headed home. Both kids were in, what I referred to as the “hummer” of all strollers. It was a double wide – in other words seated both children side by side. My son in a moment of cranky exhaustion began squirming, managed to unhook the straps securing him in the stroller and when I asked that he sit back down, refused. I tried logic, I tried bribery, I tried cajoling to no avail. I was tired and had zero patience left. My daughter, having been asleep, now awake, began to scream bloody murder and then suddenly a complete stranger appeared by my side and said in a soft voice, “I want you to know what a good mother you are. I can see it in your eyes and your children know it too.” I looked at this woman and burst into tears. She smiled, held her arms open to me and embraced me. Then she whispered, “Thank you for being such a good mom.”
“So in a lot of ways, what has happened over the last several weeks is challenges and structural problems here in the United States have been thrown into high relief. They are the outcomes not just of the immediate moments in time, but they’re the result of a long history of slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and institutionalized racism that too often had been the plague, the original sin of our society. And in some ways, as tragic as these past few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they’ve been, they’ve also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlining trends, and they offer an opportunity for us to all work together to tackle them, to take them off, to change America and make it live up to its highest ideals.”
President Barak Obama – June 3, 2020
“Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of colour to deal with it. It’s up to all of us – Black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets.”
“Dehumanizing people debases us all; humanity is beautifully and almost infinitely diverse. The bonds of our common humanity must overcome the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices.”