Travels / April 16, 2016

Journeys Must Be Taken

Hurricane Sandy delayed my trip for several days but that was the only inconvenience. My friend’s Park Slope home never lost power. There was no loss of life or damage of property for her. I rode out the storm in a warm place and in the company of friends. I was truly one of the lucky ones to have remain unscathed by Sandy. My Florida experience made me the Hurricane Consultant. Still, a hurricane in New York? It just feels strange. Fortunately, Brooklyn survived Sandy without as much damage as the other boroughs. A neighbor’s car two doors down was not so fortunate.

New Yorkers are resilient. It is one of their most consistent traits. Restaurants and supermarkets were open the next day, even if it were on a cash only basis. My friend’s children got their homework assignments for the week via email.. much to their chagrin. And shuttle buses drove people across the bridge. There seemed to be only two things that slowed Brooklyn down: loss of train service to the City and the unavailability of gas. I passed by one gas station and saw cars wrapped around the lot. Many of the cars had run out of gas and were pushed to the station. Sandy created a rare standstill moment in the City that never sleeps.

Halloween was rescheduled in New Jersey and other parts of New York but the streets of Park Slope were filled with Ninjas, goblins and ghouls. As for myself, I discovered that I had the perfect Halloween custom. I was a zombie walking around frazzled by stress. And it was frightening. I knew that I had been overextended and I knew that I was exhausted. What I did not know was just how overwhelming it was until I stepped away from the source. These extra days in Brooklyn gave me a chance to unwind and decompress before the real journey began.

I spent my time catching up with family and friends who are family to me. I reconnected with cousins that I had not seen in over twenty years. One of whom walked from downtown Manhattan and over the Brooklyn bridge to meet me. He was happy to see me but his greatest joy on that day came from the fact that it was the first time in three days that he was able to take a shower. Under these circumstances, I did not mind been a close second. I also went to see Cloud Atlas. The makeup was amazing. Each of the main characters play anywhere from five to six roles. It was a little long…three hours, in fact. It was also heavy on the action scenes and a little light on story. Nevertheless, it is always interesting to see how Hollywood takes on a subject like reincarnation. Its success is that the film opens up the world to the idea that we are all connected and continually reconnecting without any religious or dogmatic implications.

Journeys of the imagination will not suffice. The real journey must be taken.

On my last day in New York, I also completed a basic Sanskrit course. The instructor explained that it is the Language of the Gods. Sanskrit is also very concise. What we in English must explain in many words, Sanskrit needs only just a few. For example, RATHENA YATRA NA MANORATHENA means JOURNEYS OF THE IMAGINATION WILL NOT SUFFICE, THE REAL JOURNEY MUST BE TAKEN. Naturally, I agree.

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