Friday, December 4, 2009


Each Thursday morning, bright and early, I board a bus for Manhattan where I teach at a local college.My stop is the first one and I take a seat next to the driver, alongside the stairs leading up into the belly of the bus.The next 40 minutes is a period of observation and thought. Unlike others, I cannot read or write while the bus is moving.Stop after stop, people ascend and descend like the angels in the Genesis story of Jacob's dream of the ladder stationed on earth with its top pointing heavenward. Each human angel is on her way up the ladder of the day, a journey to an office, shop, warehouse, factory, boardroom or schoolroom.
Sunrise fills the sky and pours into the bus, blinking eyes catching sight of skyscrapers beckoning silently, awaiting our arrival. Each ordinary bus ride fills me with amazement as I return to the place that dazzled my imagination when as a young and impressionable teenager of sixteen I stood gazing at the towering reality of Times Square on my first visit from Canada. Manhattan's magic and marvel never cease; I am transported to a world of utter wonderment with each arrival.
We wind our way along the wavy waters of the Hudson; and entering the Mid-Town Tunnel my mind leaps to the Biblical image of a people cutting through the waters of the Red Sea on dry land to safety. The engineering feat of a tunnel creating dry space for motor vehicles to drive through in the hundreds of thousands each day is a constant reaffirmation of the miracles and wonders of modern life."The waters were split, forming a wall for them on their right and on their left."
65 passengers alight from the bus and disappear into the throngs of Manhattan's morning movement. Waves of water, waves of people, the stream of life ,churning and tumultuous, ascending and descending, alive.A spectacle of surprise, another day's gift for which to be grateful.
Shabbat Shalom

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