Thursday, May 21, 2009

You're Gonna Need Someone on Your Side


Erin knows why that song is there, & More memories of Central Park:

Erin and I trekked through Central Park, one sunny and cool December afternoon, in 1990, following a trail that wove through the trees and shrubs. The trail appealed to us because it was so organic, so in contrast to the cement rigidity of the city, and we quickly forgot about the mad rush of life, a few yards away. Though I had been living in Chicago for the past five years, and couldn't imagine my life any where else, I still felt the undeniable pull of nature, and the need to wander the woods, as a periodic cure for the city. (After 24 years in Chicago, that pull to nature is long gone, but I now live by a park that reminds me of Central Park, and being there somehow draws me to New York and High Cliff.)
During out respective childhoods, Erin and I spent a lot of time in the woods, and I guess the surprise of finding a good chunk of nature in New York was a novel, welcome surprise. Before long, we noticed we had a guest with us during our hike, who picked up the pace when we did, and soon I remembered where we were, and this guy probably wanted more from us than our company, so I grabbed Erin's hand, and dove off the trail. Oh yea, Erin said. We're in New York!
As we wandered the more populated trails for the rest of the day, we finally found the Alice in Wonderland statue, and we got caught up in losing the sense of time and place, as only Central Park can do, and near sundown, we came upon a large group of still, quiet people. We looked at each other in wonder. As we got closer, we noticed the group were all ages and races, and many of them were crying. We looked at each other again. Curious, we crept closer to what looked like the focus of their attention. Below our feet, we saw the large circular memorial for John Lennon, strewn with flowers and lit candles. Maybe someone was playing Imagine on a radio, maybe some were softly singing that song, maybe both.

This is the tenth anniversary of his murder. Erin said. I was in school, in Spanish class. I said. I was in English. She said. Let's go back to 15th Street, and buy some wigs! I said. (I'll post those pics later.) On our way out, and after completing almost an entire loop of the park, starting near 70th street, we heard the faint refrain of Pennies From Heaven. Walking closer to the music, we sat on a bench near a lake, near the man who was playing his own version of the song, over and over, on a boom box, as he gazed at the water. Being tired from our long day of walking, we sat hypnotized for dozens of playings of Pennies From Heaven, as the water danced on the rippling lake.
Then we bought wigs....