Last night was a disappointment to the children in my neighborhood, with the exception of Eva. Eva is a bright, beautiful tiny dark-eyed provider of light in my building, even when the electricity might fail, as was feared with the recent dreadful disaster/crisis brought about by Hurricane Sandy, that flooded much of the East Coast and gave the lie to those who refuse to acknowledge Global Warming. (I just made a typo, and wrote 'Global Warning,' which I think it indeed was.)
Anyway, Eva, all pink and sequined in her Fairy ensemble, with a tutu and shiny shoes, and a wand that she was to have tapped along with the spoken 'Abracadabra' that she could not quite manage, still being two,-- though she did say 'Baba da kababa' while hitting me on the head with her wooden, sequined star wand-- was undeterred from the wonders that are Halloween to the kids, and those of us who are still basically kids enough so it is our favorite holiday. She passed me in the hall on the way to meet her grandmother, who is lucky and clever enough to live in the same building, so she can see this little package of delight as much and as often as she wants to.
But the story on the street was different, as confused tourists dragged wheeled suitcases to different hotels, the planes having been cancelled and buildings in this vicinity evacuated because of the hanging crane on 57th street, a testament to the greed of men even if they aren't Mitt Romney. The building was a hideous, plastic blue and yellow(can you imagine?) eyesore going up, in this unnecessarily overbuilt city, where there are already too many empty apartments because no one has the money to live in them, but of course there is an Arab who has paid a rumored ninety million dollars for a yet-to-be-gotten to hundredth floor, which will be only seventy five floors in reality, enough to destroy the view of Central Park for for those who live in Carnegie Tower, and more than enough to ruin the previously iconic skyline seen from Central Park. Quelle horreur!
There was a mystical thrust for me for the event. I had called my teacher of the spirit, the consciousness raising maestro Jack Kornfield, with whom I have studied since the 70s, to ask for an
assignment for Halloween, hoping for inspiration. Jack, probably tired from non-stop workshops and lectures, rather than doing a guided meditation, said I should read The Tempest during the tempest. I did, and as a once Shakespeare major, was stunned by how much I missed, and wished I had a summary of the plot, the kind of thing my stepfather Puggy used to read to us at dinner on Thursday nights before we went to the Met, something he had a season subscription to, in order to feel as rich as he had struggled to become, having been an impoverished and orphaned Jew who had risen high (read The Motherland.) All during the Milton Cross summary, my mother would nag "Skip! Skip!" But he never did, and we would go by limousine(not so much a symbol as proof of the fact that he was afraid to learn to drive) to the Met, then on 39th St. Once in his seat, one of four, he would turn devotedly to the opera and promptly fall asleep. So my experience of opera is limited, and except for a few, less than addicted.
Still, when I walked on Broadway and saw that the Met, now at Lincoln Center, a few blocks from where I live, was playing that VERY night a new opera of The Tempest, I did consider it an answer to a kind of prayer, and bought a ticket. So there I was, beside a lovely couple from Brazil, who had endured the hardships of this difficult time, staying in a hotel downtown where there was no power, and no hot water, his young wife being pregnant. He is a lawyer and an opera buff, but what he was looking for was a genuine opera, and this one is modern, atonal and dreadful, and had I not been seated next to them, finding them dear and interesting, would have left at the first intermission. There were scenic splendors, but the music was, in many instances, a literal screech, with Ariel, the spirit in thrall and service to Prospero, actually screaming her entrance. All in all an agony, except that I'm now clear on the plot, though I still wonder what it was that Jack would be teaching as he expressed a wish to do. Shakespeare's magic is, I'm sure, a course for scholars. But I would have enjoyed actual music.