one of my favorite things to do is to go out at midnight and take a walk to the wooden bridge across the street from my house on Ideal Park Road. I stand there, in the moonlight, watching the Esopus run by. this ritual has become a way for me to release thoughts, let out ideas, scream, or be quiet... that spot across the street from my house is one of my favorite refuges.
tonight... in my pink nighty. Ugg boots and the long black puffy winter coat that has been patiently waiting for a frosty night to make it's seasonal debut, I wondered under the waxing moon with the dog in tow. I walked slowly down the gravel driveway, looking up at the stars and the moon that was once full. the crisp air lightly pierced my exposed skin, a sensation I relish because it's telling me that winter is coming.
when I got to the bridge, I began to ramble aloud. I know no one is technically listening, but it feels good to just get out what's on my mind. in the summer, the fireflies are listening, now that the cold weather is upon us, I imagine I'm sharing my ramblings with hibernating bears or the moon itself. tonight, my heart slowly split as I walked down to my favorite place. looking up at the billowing clouds that danced around the moon, the stream rumbling fiercely with the continued run off from the storm, I cried.
after 4 days of powerless cabin fever, we emerged to a changed world where people we actually know are missing, suffering, challenged, displaced. it's not like Katrina and NOLA, where it seemed so far away, this storm ravaged NYC, my home town. somehow, this one feels very personal. I feel powerless in a different way tonight, because I can't figure out what to do next, where to go, who to help or how to fix it. there's panic, marshall law, looting, vandalism and friends being challenged by the ravaged city.
the effects of this tragedy, which I wasn't sure of for days and days, is all being revealed to me now that I have my beloved internet access again. the images, articles and stories are graphic. women losing babies in a tidal wave, people gauging each other for gas, streets filled with drifting beaches, cars washed up onto people's homes and reports of neighborhoods I love destroyed.
I've thought about how I tried so desperately to move back to NYC this summer, how I was determined to live on the waterfront of Brooklyn. now, with a sense of some relief, I'm selfishly glad that plan misfired.
as I reach out to friends, we commiserate on the challenges of things... bits of my heart feel as though I'm shredding it with a giant cheese grater. large chunks of my soul just pulling away uncomfortably from the very flesh it should be attached to. and ... I confess, I am immensely sad right now.
it was impossible to nurture myself while being a mom, caring for the kiddo, and worrying about the world. tonight, on my bridge under the moonlight, I let it out and I cried. alone, as I always am, I swelled with the pain that the world has been forever changed, my home town, my friends, and family I care so deeply for are struggling. somehow I can literally feel the very darkness and suffering others are going through, and wish so badly I could figure out how to make it better.
the greatest challenge for me is thinking about the what ifs. what if we had it bad up here, who would come to our aid? who would help me? it is moments like this, as much as I know that I have such a strong network of friends, I am very isolated, there is no emergency somebody who would check on me. no one to help, or just be here with me.
these are the times that it feels as though there is a giant spotlight on the sheer fact that I am alone, doing all of this on my own with no one to come to my rescue.
I wonder how many NYCers feel this same way. if I've learned anything, it isn't geography that defines being alone, it is a lifestyle. a choice we make to save us from having to do the tough stuff, share our vulnerability and 'need' for another person with anyone else.
the power came back on at my house last night, and with it I stayed up for hours on my Facebook and cruised the web fumbling to reconnect with my electronic connections that fulfill my sense of being connected. if the black out taught me anything, I can live without this electronic dependency, the issue is, I don't want to disconnect from the false sense of security I have in knowing there's this network of people who take up the space that I've fostered so that I can be detached from the world.
yup, the tears are flowing. my heart is wrenching. and I know the answer to kill this pain and loneliness, there is really only one solution . be in service to those who need help. I'm going to find a way to volunteer this week. if I offer myself ... the ability to give to those who need ... will be the nurturing and replenishment I truly seek.
To learn more about how you can get involved in volunteering and helping, check out Occupy Sandy Relief