Letter From New York August 10, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

The past weekend was one of indolence for me. Friday evening when I returned to the cottage, the air was clean and crisp, perfectly balanced in temperature. I threw open all the windows and allowed the air to flow through, a soft wind billowing in the scent of the woods and the creek from below the cottage. I watched a bit of television, read more of Sherlock Holmes, this time off the iPad, on loan from the office. I slept a deep, clear sleep, waking early and rolling over to once again surrender to Morpheus.

As sleep found me on Friday night, I determined to let the weekend be a small vacation. It had been a harried week. The mobile app had launched on Droid but we still wait for iPhone and Blackberry approval. There had been a meeting of channel editors, from all over the country, churning through ideas, one after another for the future. So when morning came on Saturday, a day stretched in front of me with no commitments other than the whim of the moment. I did a few things around the house, stopped at the dry cleaners on my way to town, picked up the weekend papers and settled in to a long leisurely brunch at the Red Dot, lingering in the lovely garden, warming in the sun, reading of the events of the world from which I felt far removed, safely, for a moment, insulated and protected.

It was an illusion, of course, but one I immersed myself in – for a moment wanting to be like friends who have ceased reading newspapers or scanning news websites or listening to anything but music on radio or net. I am not that person though and I found myself deep in the New York Times and my current edition of The Week, seeking some illumination in the words on paper, seeking to understand the ebb and flow of the violence that wracks the world we inhabit, seeking in that sun kissed garden the reason why one person would strap explosives on and then go detonate themselves in the middle of a crowd of strangers. Suicide is at least somewhat comprehensible, mass murder is not.

Deep out in the once pristine waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it appeared BP had staunched the leaking well. I swished flies away as I sat lazily on the teak bench on the patio, thinking about the rapacious need for oil that has resulted in our digging deeper and deeper in every accessible [and almost inaccessible] spot on earth to keep our machines rolling, wondering, lazily, why we have waited so long to seek alternatives? Perhaps because we are as lazy as I was Saturday afternoon, content to let things be than to expend energy to make changes? Do we, like the Louis XV, sit in our gardens and shrug, “Après moi, le deluge…”

And now that the well has been capped and it appears that ecological damage is less than feared, our collective media attention seems to be drifting away from the Gulf and on to…what? We wait to see what new events the digital throngs will next flock to follow, praising or bemoaning. On Saturday, I was only curious. There was nothing on the horizon that seemed the next frenzy in waiting. We have not excited ourselves about Pakistan’s floods or China’s landslides.

It seems the way we live, from frenzy to frenzy. But frenzy seemed far away this past bucolic weekend, devoted to laziness and indolence. From the Dot I wandered Warren Street, sat with friends in their shops and discussed the summer heat and the pleasant relief the day was giving. I lingered at Olde Hudson, the perfect place for cheeses, pastas, wonderful meats and fishes and took in the steady stream of shoppers, stocking up for a lovely summer evening and when I finally went home, I slipped between the cotton sheets and once again felt the soft summer embrace of my little world, far away, for the moment, from all the madness that makes the world so often threatening, preventing us, at times, from the lazy glory that is around us some of the time, at least.

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