Letter From New York

Or, as it seems to me…

It is Sunday afternoon as I begin to write this; the day is impeccable: mid – 70’s for a temperature, cloudless blue skies and a soft wind blowing through the changing leaves. Fall has arrived; there is no going back and next week I’m sure one of the major tasks will be to blow the drive clear of fallen leaves. But today is perfect. In the background, soft jazz plays on Pandora while in the kitchen I am slow cooking appetizers for a neighborhood party later today.

I am a world away from everything here. While sun sparkles off my creek, the world beyond me implodes. While soft jazz plays, more are dying of Ebola.   While my appetizers simmer, refugees go hungry. I am constantly, continually baffled by the contrasts in the world. And while I am baffled, I realize I live in a world of contrasts and that it has always been a world of contrasts.

Outside my window, my local groundhog happily nibbles on the fallen acorns, a lovely moment in my afternoon, watching him. Two days ago when I went out to the car, a family of deer was in my drive, watching me with idle curiosity before they sauntered off into the woods.

It is bucolic here. There are woodland creatures that remind me of the rhythm of nature; there is an expanse of trees, leaves turning yellow and crimson, reminding me of the same. The seasons are changing, time is moving on. The natural progression of things is happening.

In a few weeks, I face another birthday. It’s another mark of progression. I am getting older. We all are.

Now, as I write this, the sun is setting in the west. Twilight grey is spreading across the cottage and its bit of land. Another day is moving away from me.

Last night, sitting in my living room after a lovely dinner at the Red Dot with my friends Lionel and Pierre and Lionel’s sister, brother-in-law and nephew, I found myself ruminating about life and aging.

Not unsurprisingly, I am feeling the winds of time. I am older than I have ever been. Stories come to me of my contemporaries leaving us, too soon, too much before what I feel should be their time. Yet it is happening. Nothing is secure and nothing is sacred – everything, including us, is susceptible to the churning of the clock and the vagaries of the universe. Suddenly, one day, health deserts us and we lay vulnerable when perhaps just the day before we felt invulnerable.

A contemporary of mine travels more than anyone I know and he has begun to wonder if when he locks the door of his hotel room at night it might not be his last night. These are thoughts he had never had had before, thoughts that come to us unbidden now that age creeps up on us and becomes part of our reality.

So last night I was thinking of several friends who have been wonderful friends over the years and I wanted to reach out to them to say: I am grateful you have been part of my life. However, I hesitate. What would they think? Would they appreciate it or would it disturb them in some unanticipated way?

A long time ago I made a promise to do my best to not let go unexpressed the care I had for another. For the most part, I think I have done that. But there are those I only see once in a great while you have been so much of my life and have I said enough to them that they know how much they mean to me?

It is a challenge for me to consider in the next weeks. I am fine today but we are, as I have said, susceptible to the vagaries of the universe. Perhaps we should all remember that as we move from day to day. If we reminded one another of how much we cared, perhaps the violence quotient would go down?

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One Response to “Letter From New York”

  1. Lorne Mattner Says:

    Thanks Mat, all the more reason to live in the moment!

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