So I chanced into Central Park today-- a spectacular day, not hot, comfortable, the sky slightly clouded but that made the blue of it look bluer, just the right amount of people it seemed, enjoying the weather and the setting. To my quiet surprise, there was something unusual going on in the section just below the walkway where the rink for ice-skating is in winter,-- what looked like a new small pond. Lines of people waiting to go down to see whatever it was. I asked, and it was Japanese Buddhists handing out paper lanterns filled with written prayers for peace, to float on the ad hoc pond at twilight. So I joined the line, curious as always, interested as sometimes. Stayed on the line with a young woman from Melbourne, where my daughter-in-law comes from-- she is in this country working with little children, always a spirit enricher as well as a fine way to earn some money in a strange land.
When I got down to the launch, which it was, we wrote our prayers on the paper and went to float our lanterns. A little girl, the one shown here, floated my paper, now set into a block of wood, also provided by the Buddhists, onto the water. An impressive display, with a band-- there were several on the stands built up around the edges, waiting their turn, playing lively music. Interesting that the Peace-Prayers came from a far away land, especially considering that those holding our country in bondage and coming perilously close to sinking it, are those who were elected to hold it together. I wonder how John Boehner sleeps at night, and assume it is mostly by passing out.
Then I walked down by the actual lake, my usual path when I am in New York and go to quiet my soul, and, coming up the stairs, which I don't do with the same alacrity I did in my recent (it seemed) youth, I came across a young couple getting married, obviously with the blessings of God, if He/She exists, as it was, as noted, a spectacular day, and they didn't have to rent a small party room at the Plaza, as we had done, a lifetime ago.
Then I went to meet Larry Ham, the gentle, gifted musician who is organizing, taking down, and sifting all the music for Sylvia WHO? which starts going into the works tomorrow, En Sha-Allah, which I think is the Muslim prayer, why not if the world is to continue? and I don't know the Hebrew for "It Should Only Happen." From the apartment where we are working, and where, if all goes well, we will have the reading on the 30th, I could see the twin towers as they resounded in my very young days, the double steeples of the San Remo on Central Park West, the place where Herman Wouk had Marjorie Morningstar coming from. And I could not help but think the view was kind of an add-up of my life's ambitions, at least the way they used to be. Marjorie was sort of who I was, or thought I wanted to be, in various almost incarnations-- the person I might have been had my mother not married Puggy, putting me on the East Side at least for vacations, the movie they were making from the novel at Warner Brothers, when Tony Perkins thought I should be an actress and so got Tab Hunter to get me a screen test. But instead I started telling the producer I think he was, or maybe the director, how I thought they ought to do the screenplay, and he said "I don't understand… are you a writer?"
Well, i was, and I am, although at the time I thought I wanted to be anything that Tony wanted me to be, though I didn't understand that would have been a boy,
So my whole life was passing before my eyes and I'm not even drowning. At least I hope I'm not. What I am at the moment is still a bit disoriented, as besides the travel which is not so much broadening at this time of my life but tiring, I had to stay in a hotel and then in another apartment at the Hampshire House that was not my own, but seemed infinitely more spacious as the walls aren't filled with the posters and pictures and memories of a lifetime, including a poster of my play set in ancient Athens performed at Bryn Mawr called The Women Upstairs, which was what the wives were doing during Plato's Symposium-- like why wouldn't everyone relate to that?-- and a huge wooden bowl that workers wore on their heads in the rice fields of Bali My place feels crowded with memory and I am trying hard to live in the present.
It was good to go outside, on a beautiful day, which, like everything else, you have to struggle not to be attached to. It can't possibly stay like this. Still, you never know: Maybe everything will fall happily into place, the skies will stay clear, people will connect with their better natures and wish each other well, there will be peace on earth, and Republicans will remember that they are Americans,