Photo by Dennett
Our vacation did not end as expected. After a rough day in NYC yesterday left me barely able to hobble up the stairs to my stepdaughter’s house, I reluctantly decided our last vacation day would be spent in New Jersey, recovering from back pain in preparation for our long train trip tomorrow.
One of the goals of this trip was to visit the Poet House, a place unknown to me until recently, a place I was eager and excited to see. Today was to be my Poet House day, followed by a 9-11 Memorial visit, a leisurely walk along the Hudson, and lunch at the Merchants River House Restaurant. None of these happened. All but the Poet House were missed but had been done before. Not visiting the Poet House broke my heart. There have been many disappointments on this trip but that was the hardest for me to accept.
I am trying to focus on the good moments — the meals and conversations with our hosts, Ben’s daughter and son-in-law, and their gracious hospitality; the birthday dinner party for Ben’s daughter and son in the East Village; brunch with Ben’s son and his partner in Chelsea; High Line Park and the poet Bill Keys whom I met there; meeting a Florida friend’s daughter who works at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Soho; lunch at Cafe Lalo; strolling in Riverside and Washington Square Parks. All precious memories.
I have much for which to be grateful, but I am a glass-half-empty sort of gal. Disappointments overshadowing pleasures. Regrets greater than achievements.
Today, after cabin fever and sad regrets settled in, Ben and I drove to the 9-11 Memorial at Eagle Rock Reservation near his daughter’s home. In the distance was the gray skyline of Manhattan, One World Trade Center towering high above the other buildings, reminding us of what had been there and was no more. We read the names of those who perished in the attack, running our fingers lightly over the letters engraved in a long plague that lines a stone wall. My melancholy multiplied.
As we left, a family of deer appeared in a small meadow, reminding me that family was the important part of this vacation. I thought of the people lost in the World Trade Center attack; the families left with unexpected gaping holes. Disappointments may have shadowed this vacation, but my glass is overflowing with family moments and memories.
We will leave tomorrow and what was missed will be less important than what was not.