Wednesday, June 06, 2007

48 Rings

Possibly the best tonic for disappointment and weariness after New York is walking around my familiar old neighborhood, back home. On Franklin a medium-sized Norway maple had been chopped down since I left, and big hunks of trunk were piled at the street awaiting pickup. I paused to look and counted the rings: 48. That makes me think the much bigger trees on my own street must be at least 70 years old. Without putting too fine a point on it, I noticed the rings got wider with age. Open to the hopeful possibility that things grow bigger and better with years, I took a grateful deep breath and walked on.

Mallard couple in Gilkey Creek, muddy and full after recent rains -- a sign, perhaps, of the improving health of the watershed.


Bob Forbes said...

Macy/Sanisi - I enjoyed reading your accounts of NYC. Even though outcomes were not what you had hoped for, I could relate to your trepidations beforehand as well as your descriptions of the people and places afterward, followed especially by your relief in getting back home to a quiet walk amidst a more serene environment.

Growing up in a small southern town on the east coast, I have vivid, early memories of tales from local travelers who ventured to NYC for one reason or another and came back to warn the townfolk of all the perils and pitfalls of the Wicked City up North. We heard about children who grew up there without ever seeing a tree -- an unfathomable thought to a Carolinian. And everybody knew that if a local bigwig had to hire a New York lawyer, that guy was in deep doo-doo and obviously guilty of something bad.

Later on in the 1980's I somehow got to know an attractive, smart and interesting lady of Lebanese descent from Manhattan, who changed my attitude about NYC quite a bit and showed me many interesting sites, including the historical sailing ships that paraded through the harbor in 1986, and a dinner in Windows on the World at the top of the WTC -- a place that now only lives in photos and memories...

Looking back at my visits of 20 years ago to NYC, they seem like such innocent and naive times!

Nofo a e,

Lopeti F.

Macy Swain said...

It's so nice to hear from you again, Bob. Your writing always touches me -- rich in observed detail and reflection. Are you continuing to write -- about your grandfather, for instance?

Despite the searing effects of 9/11 on NYC and on us all, I was impressed by the brio of the place, epitomized by the pedicab driver Harry, who described becoming a Buddhist and who continues, it was clear, to adapt and remake himself. His active pleasure in the beauty of the Literary Walk in Central Park and in the details of his life were reassuring and energizing. New Yorkers are a resilient tribe.

bob forbes said...

Macy - Yes, it's one of those summer days when I'm wont to steal time from workday drudgery to read more interesting writings (such as your blog) and take the time to note some reflections that inevitably follow my reading.

In response to your query, I will email you the bio-sketch that I wrote on my granddaddy Gus Forbes for the Pitt County (NC) Chronicles. It was all done based on interviews with my parents and other old relatives because he died before I was born, but I felt a great connection to him via those interviews and my resulting 5-page writeup on his life came as a pleasure and a joy.

I also wanted to let you know that by a quirk of job-related fate I'm going to be in the Seattle area next week and have arranged to spend an evening with our friend and former PC Trainer, Pila Stults. I've tried to contact Lopeti Peterson, who also lives in that area, but am afraid that he may be out of town on vacation next week.

In any case, Pila and I will toast a Steinlager to you, Charlotte and Night Blind!

Lopeti F.

Macy Swain said...

Oh, that is so cool! I wish I could be there too to hoist my own Steinlager and talk about the old days. Give my warm regards to Pila!

Did you get that email from the Tonga PC guy about the 40th reunion?

And please do send me your grampa piece.