Thursday, September 30, 2010

Seeing the Unseen

I'm in NYC the land where "dreams" are made and realised or so it's been said and I'm walking through the streets of Manhattan and Time Square and life seems to be thriving! Harmonic melodies from the blues joints, the hustle and bustle of the afternoon traffic... Everything seems to be... well, 'peachy'!

I walk a little farther and there's an elderly man on the sidewalk, container on the ground, shoulders bent, guitar in hand, hat on his head and speakers below... He plays the blues... sweet tunes echo through the chords, through the guitar strings - in its hollow core... but although my ears arch to hear and sing to the beat, my eyes can't deceive me... In the midst of the skyscrapers, the majestic buildings, luxury cars, fashionistas and gurus... the one that suffers, stands out the most!

Again, I walk through the city - a tourist I am to this place... Camera in hand and I'm snapping my memories as they come... Another man is playing the saxophone on the corner... this gift of music can't replace a home.

Night comes and the city comes alive with bright lights and nightlife... I'm heading to the Staten Island Ferry... There's a lady outside the port - singing her soul for a quarter... She's average looking, casually dressed as she sits on the wayside as people pass by; some drop some change in her cup as she continues to sing... The place is crowded as everyone of all sizes, race, colour and status, wait patiently to get on board the ferry as it comes... for a free ride across the sea...

Many tourists stand on the outskirts to capture the moment and grandeur of this place! I see the Statue of Liberty!!! What a sight! Then I catch a glimpse of something else. I saw an elderly woman walk unto the ferry, loaded with a large plastic bag on a cart filled with empty cans and plastic bottles...

As the ferry glides across the still waters, I look at her from a distance... She's going through the bins, she takes out the cans and bottles and places them in her bag... Her face is weary, the harsh lines on her face and the curve of her back tells her story... She's had a hard life... Who knows how she ended up like this...

I shift my eyes back to the sea and watch the City buildings and its beauty... I get lost in its serenity for a while, as it occupies my thoughts and feelings at this point... A sadness comes over me.

Unto the next ferry for the ride back, I decide to take a closer look at the people around me... Families and friends gather for the experience and I'm wishing that my family was here with me, especially my three year old nephew! I know he'd have a time... I look at the little ones and their amusement... their innocence one longs to keep safe.

There are the travellers who've been here before and are just taking the ride to get home... There are those in conversations and those who wish to be left alone... Young mothers with many babies and single.

The ferry docks and I get off and exit from my point of entry... The lady on the wayside is still there after half hour, singing her soul...

Seems like there's so much opportunity, except for those who fall through the cracks in all hopelessness!

There are men sleeping on benches - their bed for the night... No room for the shelter...

I drift back to my homeland, Trinidad and I visualize Port of Spain at night... A vagrant on each corner, in the promenade, on the sidewalk, in every nook and cranny - that's our city! They look more decrepit than the ones I see on these benches in New York City.

Maybe if life wasn't hard at home, they won't be on the cold, hard, dusty streets... Maybe if they weren't hooked on drugs... Maybe if society didn't give up on them or treat them like outcasts... Maybe...

The sun rises and its sets... day comes and then the night befalls us and in that time, we rest or stay awake when robbed of sleep or when the perils of life seem too burdensome to close your eyes to dream...

Sometimes life's journey can be a long and winding road, but in that journey one needs to remember that life is what we make of it... and sometimes all you need to do is Pray!

Look around you and remove the blinders - begin to see!

Rachael N. Collymore

© 2010

NB. All Pictures herein are the sole ownership of the writer and are subject to copyright laws!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely rache..drawn me within it... made me visualize your perception, your view.. gotta say, if i read a few more like this, i aint got to make much trips ;)...nice write