Big Nor’ Easter this weekend! We lost power like so many others, and in the midst of it all we had a visit from Parabola’s West Coast editor Richard Whittaker and his wife Rue. When we first lost power on Saturday, we met them in a restaurant which had a festive inn or mead hall atmosphere–lots of people taking refuge from the dark and the cold together. The next day, it took me hours to make a normally short drive to pick up Rue and Richard in Larchmont, which was/is without power. So many huge trees were down, I would never have found a way if a kindly local Samaritan hadn’t guided me along the old Post road. These kinds of things do draw us together, don’t they? They cause us to remember how dependent we really are–on each other and myriad forces.
When we finally made it home, we stayed home except for a brief walk down to the lake with my dog when there was a break in the rain–just to let these folk from La La land experience how bracing and gray and wild it is here in the Nor’ East. We passed many ruined stone walls, remnants from the hardy farmers who somehow scratched out a living in this harsh climate. The rest of the day and night, we talked and feasted (our friend Liz, our “Educational Outreach Editor” joined us for a while, too). We spoke of how to keep going in uncertain times, when the way ahead isn’t clear. In the midst of it all, I realized once again how thing sthat can seem so flimsy and insubstantial–friendship, good will–can turn out to be more enduring that seemingly solid things like huge trees.
The next morning before dawn, Alex and I drove through more rain and dark to take Rue and Richard to JFK. Afterwards, we made our way to Brooklyn Heights, Alex’s Holy Land, the home of her first ten years and her true happiness. We walked on the Promenade and other dear familiar streets, and stocked up on food at Sahadi’s (the man who scooped up our dates doesn’t have power yet either) No doubt the earliness and emptiness of the streets had something to do with it, but I was filled with a surprisingly deep and wrenching ache of nostalgia. I recently read that the Latin root of the word nostalgia means longing for one’s true home. What I felt had to do with an awareness of the way lives pass. I had rolled Alex up these streets in a stroller and now here she was talking about going to Oxford next year. How did that happen? I longed to find my true home…the way people seek solid ground to build on. Ground that won’t give way in even the strongest storm.