Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Parking lots are places of brief, passing moments in our lives. We hurry to find the spot closest to our destination, and scurry away as fast as possible. Except for clandestine , anonymous meetings, these spaces are sterile and practical.
I arrived early by 5 minutes. Coming from minyan, from daily prayer, my favorite grocery would open at eight. Usually the interval of minutes would be occupied with glances at the New York Times; headlines, an article that would catch my interest, and of course, the obituaries. Why death notices? Am I that morbid ? I think not. My advancing age has led me to recognize the fragility and fleetingness of life so that I am reminded of how precious is the gift of each day.
This time I ignored the newspaper. I simply sat in the lot, situated along the Hudson river, and watched the the furrows of water flowing with life in the early morning sun.
The radio emitted the glorious tenor sounds of Guiseppe di Stefano, who had died the day before, singing with passionate restraint the hauntingly romantic strains of Puccini's La Boheme,"che gelina manina"-how cold is your hand.
It was a balmy March day, marking what I hoped would be the beginning of spring. Even the wind, which only a day earlier was bitingly cold, now blew with subtle warmth, embryonic in its message of warmer days to come.
The news. It was eight o'clock, time to make my way for a brief shopping errand. I looked forward to my cafe au lait, one of my few extravagances. As I walked, wind in my face, I waxed grateful for so much in so little time and in such a small space. An open parking lot became a shrine of gratefulness.

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