It has been a most amazing week, and I have been a lame correspondant. Amazing times with my family, all 100,000 of them--siblings, spouses, step-siblings, step-siblings-in-law, nephews, nieces, and my Dad and stepmother whose new Buddhist name is Samayadevi. Everyone healthy and doing well, and so loving, it's hard to put into words. I am lucky. Lucky, lucky, lucky!
For the last three days we've been at a little hotel close to JFK airport in NYC. Everyday we've taken a shuttle to an airtrain to a subway and tramped all over NY in the 95 degree heat. I am beginning to get a grasp of the subway system. I now understand the differences between downtown (the Village), midtown (all the expensive stuff, plus Central park, plus the big museums,) and uptown (Harlem.)
Today we went to the MOMA to see the Richard Serra installation. He has these huge sheets of iron that make curved round walls you walk through and around, like a labrynth, or a ship listing at sea. C commented that he felt like a paramecium crawling through the sculpture. I felt like a bit of food being passed through the small intestine of a giant. It was a parasite's eye-view.
I couldn't help thinking of the incredible expense--in all ways--monetary, time, effort--to make these monumental pieces and then somehow ship them and install them. It's inconceivable. It's like the Pyramids or Stonehenge or something. What nkind of ego would you have to have to conceive of such an artwork and then be confident that the resources would be there to help you execute it and exhibit it? I'm not sure how I feel about that but I'm glad we saw the sculptures. They were inspiring and humbling.
There were also six floors of other paintings at the MOMA--everything from Monet's Water Lilies--I hadn't realized it was so big--to Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon by Picasso, a bunch of paintings by Miro, by Chagall, by Jaspar Johns, by Joan Mitchell (my favorite), by Jackson Pollack. and Matisse, and dozens more which I am neglecting to mention.
The women are so well-dressed in this city I was constantly gaping and appreciating. I am embarrassed to say how much I love fashion. It's not politically correct, it's completely weird given that I am on my way to one of the poorest countries in Africa, but the sight of all those well-constructed flouncy skirts and interesting drapey tops, and colors and patterns and textures made me happy. The women were like walking works of art themselves.
In fact, I've been blown away by the beauty of New Yokers in general. I don't know if it is because I am in love and seeing everything through rosy-colored glasses, but the average Joe or Jane on the street just glows to me. And the city is beautiful, even in the stifling August heat. It's amazingly clean and user-friendly, probably one of the best-organized places I've ever been. Central Park is like Paradise. Tomorrow I say good-bye to C early in the a.m. as he gets on sa plane and goes back to California. And then I'm going to go back to the Park and just sit on the grass and people-watch and write all day. And then tomorrow night--the plane to London--and then onward to Malawi!