Monday, January 25, 2016

A Storm Hits Brooklyn

Thirteen years ago, our first daughter was born.  Some years on her birthday, lots and lots of parents and kids drop by.  Others, she has her friends over for a sleepover.  This year, a storm visited town. The biggest storm I can remember in years and years.  I don’t remember the 1996 blizzard when people skied down Fifth Ave and I got stuck in a shelter cause none of the cars trains could get me back to Mom’s house from the Princeton Train station. This year the storm was immense and beautiful.  Our number one was turning thirteen.  We wandered around all afternoon, getting ready, reading comics, thinking about life, friends, went out to meet friends in Manhattan, looking at the graffiti on the walls.  And then made our way home by midnight.  The snow flurries were pouring.  As we do every first snow, we wandered out, greeting the first flurries of the year. All weekend long we’d welcome them, greeting the storm.  She came as a storm thirteen years ago, the war about to rage, our lives turning upside down.  We had no idea of how much everything would have changed when she came. We would not have had it any other way. 

From the Gowanus to Fort Green we walked Saturday, the snow smacking us in the face, the wind swirling through our holy borough.  The wind whirled, snapped in our faces, as we climbed to the top of Fort Green Park.  And descended down, back to home.

Many looked like they had nowhere to go. Some needed help just getting through it. We talked about gratitude, appreciation for what we have, respect and care for everyone in their lives out there. 

Sunday, we repeated the stroll, the kids climbed snow hills, champions of one snow mound at a time.  
Getting older, now one is a teenager, the other ten, taking everything the city could throw at us before we all wandered back to fire. We’re all a little older.

It was almost seventy degrees a month ago, the world in flux, like the kids, shifting, evolving.

The storm hit us hard, thank goodness.

That old Thanksgiving shot from a decade ago in Long Beach feels like a long time ago.
That little one to the left is now a teenager. 

Everyone had their storm stories. 

Rev Billy posted an exuberant one. 

Reverend Billy And The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir with Alan Dawson.
WE LOVE THIS BLIZZARD It's not just that kids love the snow. It makes this suffocating society a joke. We are free! The police solemnly told us that anyone caught trying to drive after 2:30 PM would be cuffed. "We will arrest you!" said the top cop, Bill Bratton. But it was a desperate shout at the unknown, the white-out, the complete domination of the natural world. The thousands of arranged details of the consumerist-militaristic American way have been retired from us, like a science fiction movie of a dystopia in the year 3000... except it is now.
The presence of this wind and blinding snow is a joyous relief. This morning I got up at 5 AM in the dark and ran out to the park, the wind so strong, the swirling white - and I knew that I was completely free of the police. They were not in the park - they couldn't see me! I ran into the woods, the snow stinging my face and the trees howling with the wind. I was free of them! Free!
We must be the storm. The Earth is telling us how to do this. Be everywhere, a shocking temperature, obscure their sight, make them powerless, make driving impossible and make their cops and make their bankers wonder about the power they don't have.