About this time two Mondays ago my brightly lit world went dark.
Super Storm Sandy made her presence known and took away our lights, the Internet and the soft glow of our 42″ flat screen tv. Oh, and lest I forget the necessities: heat, access to money or gasoline and any semblance of fresh produce.
But we survived. We had water, a decent amount of non-perishable food items and candles. Make that oodles of candles (side note: one bag of 100 tea lights will last you 9 days without power and light up to 4 rooms/day. And you’ll still have some leftover to decorate the votive holders stashed around your house. You’re welcome).
I stared at brightly colored postcard, turning the number over in my head for a long while, trying to figure out what it meant.
They had me at Yoga Festival by the Sea — an outdoor yoga event in Asbury Park to support of the Global Mala Peace Project. I envisioned a beautiful, sunny Indian Summer morning participating in an outdoor yoga class as a way to start my day, my $25 entry fee serving as a donation to various charities. But, 108?
I didn’t think much of it, shrugged my shoulders and went about my business. Little did I realize what I had gotten myself into…
Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than moving planes, ships or trains. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is before our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, and new thoughts, new places. Introspective reflections that might otherwise be liable to stall are helped along by the flow of the landscape.
— Alain de Botton The Art of Travel
Or at least 6am in Newark Penn Station. In a few hours time the station will become nothing more than a pass-thru for busy commuters rushing to work.
But for now all I hear is the quiet hum of clacking tiles on the train information board, the muffled tones of the Amtrak ticketing agent through the thick glass and the ramblings of a lonely old man, gesticulating wildly to the empty space of air directly in front of him before the announcer punctures the air with the latest track announcements calling out stops along the way: Rahway, Princeton Junction, Trenton.
My spine ergonomically melts into the curved wooden bench as I survey my surroundings. The opulence and grandeur of the train station is abundant. The freshly polished marble floors that gleam, the ornate details that decorate the doorways, ceiling and windows take me back to a stylish time when train travel was the epitome of chic. If I close my eyes I can see Cary Grant dashing in to find his girl Friday.
So here I sit, coffee in hand waiting for the announcement that will pull me out of my daydream and back into traveler mode, the Acela whisking me away to Boston. But for now, I’ll enjoy the quiet and delight in the scenes unfolding before my eyes.
I’m afraid it’s finally happened.
I have crossed over to the age where you cling to nostalgia and wonder about those halcyon days when life was simpler. A time when we played outdoors until the street lights came on, beckoning us home to dinner. I fear the technological advances we’re now accustomed to have dulled our senses to our natural surroundings. It’s true this happens to all generations, my parents often regaled us with stories of an idyllic childhood similar to the Leave it to Beaver culture of the 50s (confession: I adore this time period of Americana) when we would dare to play Colecovision on a sunny 70 degree day in Southern California.