Communication from the universe


The rhythm of the F Train is something I have come to love since we moved to DUMBO in October. It’s a magic train that seems to go everywhere I need to get to in Manhattan. I hold a false belief, though, that every trip should take about half an hour, whether I’m going to the upper east side or Soho, so I’m frequently running late. I can’t help thinking, if I get to the platform just as a train is leaving, about which 6 or 8 second activity I might have forgone before I left if I were to perfect my timing so I didn’t have spend a precious ten minutes waiting for the next one. In other words, if I hadn’t responded to one last email, put on lipstick, talked to somebody for a few more minutes, or whatever.

Yesterday afternoon my husband and partner walked me to the elevator, and said, as I stood there in my favorite hat, “I love that hat for you”.  We tried to remember what trip to Paris we acquired it, which reminded us that we haven’t been to Paris for too long for our taste, moved on to comment on how the falling Euro makes it easier to justify, then came to the conclusion that we don’t want to go when it’s filled with spring tourists, don’t want to leave home during this glorious spring, and don’t want to leave our puppy.

All this…. and I still made the train with perfect timing – racing down the stairs just as the announcement to “stand clear of the closing doors” was ending. I was feeling pretty fortunate when out of nowhere a gust of wind blew up (it does down there), snatched the hat from my head and blew it onto the tracks, in a huge black puddle in front of the train just as it was leaving.

I felt stunned – not just by the fashion tragedy – not by the loss of the beloved hat that I have cherished and been so careful not to lose for at least five years, but by the intentional nature of the gesture. It felt wrong in so many ways to watch the hat go up in the air, try to grab it just at the edge of the track, think for a split second about whether I could save it (I did actually flash on going after it), and then getting on the train as it pulled out, knowing that what was seconds ago pristine and whole on my head was now crushed under the enormous weight of every car in the train. And then, realizing that New York had reacted like it always does – in that way that a person can be in a crowd and be completely isolated in what happened to them. Nobody’s eye to catch, no look of understanding, no evidence whatsoever that what had just transpired really happened.

Symbols are everywhere and I try to read them, looking for signs and meaning that will provide some wisdom or understanding. All I can think of in this event, is, “Don’t lose your head in the wheels of time and motion”. Point taken.


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