Sometimes New York comes in waves.
There are years I feel like I’m riding the crest.
Movements are teeming.
We are everywhere.
People pouring into the streets.
Other years, waves ebb and flow somewhere else.
Taking people elsewhere, moving on to other coasts and convergences of bodies in time.
I keep missing them.
I can’t find anyone.
Everyone is doing something else.
You should have been here last week, the waves were great, the ever searching surfers are told over and over again in the Endless Summer.
Still, the enterprising surfers persevere.
I have felt a bit like that for weeks now.
The whole city is ebbing beyond me.
Like the man who missed Sandhill Cranes.
The cranes were everywhere.
You should have been here yesterday.
You just missed it.
I’ll be riding elsewhere.
But there is a life to lead here and now.
Sometimes the universe ebbs our way.
Sometimes we catch the wave.
But not always.
Sometimes its everywhere but here, just like the Sandhill Cranes.
And we’re left to wonder who are we?
The blues always tell us something about ourselves.
But its not easy to hear it.
Is it really possible to be part of everything and nothing?
Is it possible to renounce it?
There is a fire burning off the beach. I walk to it.
Hopefully, I’ll catch a little of its warmth.
The Sandhill Cranes of Nebraska by Billy Collins
Too bad you weren’t here six months ago,
was a lament I heard on my visit to Nebraska.
You could have seen the astonishing spectacle
of the sandhill cranes, thousands of them
feeding and even dancing on the shores of the Platte River.
There was no point in pointing out
the impossibility of my being there then
because I happened to be somewhere else,
so I nodded and put on a look of mild disappointment
if only to be part of the commiseration.
It was the same look I remember wearing
about six months ago in Georgia
when I was told that I had just missed
the spectacular annual outburst of azaleas,
brilliant against the green backdrop of spring
and the same in Vermont six months before that
when I arrived shortly after
the magnificent foliage had gloriously peaked,
Mother Nature, as she is called,
having touched the hills with her many-colored brush,
a phenomenon that occurs, like the others,
around the same time every year when I am apparently off
in another state, stuck in a motel lobby
with the local paper and a styrofoam cup of coffee,
busily missing God knows what.