Saturday, April 2, 2011

Acquainted with the Night


Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you




When I was feeling low one day my grandpa Max told me something. How when he was a young man, feeling low, he would walk and walk and walk the streets of Brooklyn, smoking Sobranie oval cuts and thinking to himself until dusk turned to evening and evening to night, in and out of the pools of light from the street lamps, even in the rain, in the cold, in the heat, until something righted itself in his mind and he could go home again.

The vision of the young man walking, walking, smoking oval cuts superimposed itself and made me the same, made me as he was, as we all were, young people everywhere in every time. I am sure that if I were to go now, some drizzly April night, down to the Promenade that overlooks the harbor and the cityscape across the harbor, I would see the un-substance: brooding and walking, walking, brooding, the only solid thing the curls of smoke disappearing on the wind off the water. And I could take my place beside him and walk along there, until my mind cleared and I could go home again...

12 comments:

The Unbearable Banishment said...

A beautiful post card to a beautiful man and a beautiful city. Walking that Promenade is on the of best therapies I've ever engaged in.

Leah said...

It is wonderful. Especially in a spring dusk.

Brian Miller said...

smiles. my walks just take place in the woods...but thoroughly enjoyed brooklyn last week...

Leah said...

Brooklyn is just HUGE and contains woodland as well as urban decay lol (though not so much in my neck of the woods)...but I do like a tramp through the woods when I am upstate!

nick said...

Walking often clears my mind too when I'm feeling flat or weary or simply scatty. But mostly I just carry on regardless, following my usual routine, until my mind recovers itself. Your grandpa's neighbours must have wondered what he was up to, plodding up and down the streets.

Leah said...

I wonder too! But he was only a young man, so maybe he cast a romantic figure...

Jimmy said...

Perfectly succinct, the intricate detailing "the only solid thing the curls of smoke" is masterful.

Sharon Longworth said...

A compelling piece of writing - I love the image of your grandpa walking and walking. And it's a lovely thought that any and each of us can set our minds right if only we walk for long enough. Great writing.

Princess said...

Lovely piece Leah,
"Angels speak to a man when he takes a walk"
It is something that works for me....
it clears the head space..

California Girl said...

Your writing paints a clear portrait of your grandfather.

Pat said...

Walking can be life saving. Smoking - alas - not.

MJ said...

Walking is the best medicine...and it's free!