When I Get To New York

When I get to New York

It will be in the fall
When the leaves turn red and gold and yellow
And drop precariously all around.

When the crisp air carries
A promise of change

I will arrive on a train
Through Grand Central Station

And before I even enter the City
I will shop
And eat
And people-watch.

I will take a yellow taxi cab
To Central Park
And run along the paths

Before I buy a bag of roasted nuts
And sit on a green bench
To enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells.

I will think of the movies
And the songs
And the stories

That have filled my head and heart
With such wanderlust
That brings me there.

I will wait until the sun sets
And make my way
To Broadway
Where I will stand on the sidewalk
With arms open wide
And voice lifted high

And people will stare at me
But most will smile and applaud
In understanding.

I will quiet myself as I enter
The theatre
And hum quietly along
As I take it all in
And vicariously live a musical.

I will find a street vendor
For exhaust-flavored hot dogs and coffee
And stroll through the streets
Through the night

Until I find myself
Like Holly Golightly
Looking through early morning windows
At Tiffany’s
And their beautiful blue boxes.

I’ll lay my head on a pillow
At the Plaza
And wake to look over
The City that Never Sleeps.

I’ll walk underground
And ride the metal beasts
Of the Subway
From one end to the other.

I’ll go to Yankee Stadium
And cheer out loud
For my team.

I’ll ride the ferry
To Ellis Island
And remember how this Great Country
Was, is, and will be.

I’ll tread lightly at the Library
And smell pages and pages
Of History
Fantasy, Reality, and Life.

I’ll stroll through the Village
And eat treats unheard of
And pretend I belong in Soho
If just for the day.

I’ll skate at Rockefeller Center
And laugh when I fall down.

When the lights come to life
I’ll find myself exiting
The elevator on top
Of the Empire State Building

And again I’ll sing songs
While holding my breath

As I look over the expanse
And make more dreams
Than I knew I could hold inside me.

I’ll awake with my muses
Flying rapidly about
Onto paper and thoughts

And take myself to the MoMA
To let it all in
And let myself out.

I’ll sit on a bench
And instead of writing
I’ll look around
Until

I’ll close my eyes and see it all
I’ll open my ears and hear whispers
I’ll speak later, when I find my words.

I’ll walk in a daze
Down 34th Street
And find myself
In the miracles of Macy’s
And all it has to offer.

I’ll listen to street musicians
And tap my tennis shoes to the beat
Until my dancing feet
Take me

To Times Square
Where
In the midst of possibly everything

I will finally just stop

And stand there
In awe

Of neon lights
And honking horns
And tourists
Just like me.

I will buy me a keychain
And a statue of the Statue.

Then I will make my way
Home

And write it all out
As bits and pieces
Come back to me

Until

I
Come back
To it.

I’ll Fly Away

My favorite hymn is I’ll Fly Away. I particularly love the Jars of Clay version. In fact, when I die, I want everyone at my wake to gather together and sing it loudly and repetitively. I just love this song!

“Some glad morning/When this life is o’er/I’ll fly away/
To a home/On God’s celestial shore/I’ll fly away/
I’ll fly away/Oh, glory!/I’ll fly away (in the morning)/
When I die/Hallelujah, by and by/I’ll fly away/
When the shadows/Of this life have gone/I’ll fly away/
Like a bird/from prison bars has flown/I’ll fly away/
I’ll fly away/Oh, glory!/I’ll fly away (in the morning)/
When I die/Hallelujah, by and by/I’ll fly away/
Just a few more/Weary days and then/I’ll fly away/
To a land/Where joy shall never end/I’ll fly away/
I’ll fly away/Oh, glory!/I’ll fly away (in the morning)/
When I die/Hallelujah, by and by/I’ll fly away.”

That really doesn’t have much to do with this post, except the title. Well, maybe just a little more than that. The title was inspired by a great story from my friend, Corrie. She even provided the photos.

It was earlier this summer when a baby bird fell out of its nest. Pushed, probably, by its momma who wanted it to fly. But the bird wasn’t ready. And so it fell. Ker-splat. Onto the ground. Corrie’s daughter, Amber, found the baby bird and rescued it. They gently placed it back into another nest with other babies and a new momma bird. The new momma bird looked after the baby, adopting it as its own. But again, when the other babies were pushed out into the world, this baby bird still wasn’t ready.

Ker-splat. Ker-splat. Each time, Amber found the baby bird. Each time, the baby bird followed Amber. It began to follow Amber around the yard. It became as tame as a wild sparrow could be, allowing Amber to pick it up and hold it often. Each evening, Amber put it to bed in the nest.

A few days later, the new momma bird kicked the babies out again. And while this baby bird knew how to fly, it didn’t want to. It wanted Amber. But this particular day, it couldn’t find Amber right away. So it did what any lost bird would do. It went looking for her… in the house.

It was Amber’s birthday, and the house was decorated in celebration. She wanted bright and colorful owls. She also got a bird. The baby bird. It made an appearance, sang its Happy Birthday chirps to her, and let her put it back outside.

A day or two later, after enough urgings from New Momma Bird and Momma Amber, the baby bird finally flew away into the world. It was strong enough, and secure enough, to make it’s own way.

The joy it brought to Corrie and Amber formed memories they’ll keep forever, and keep sharing.

This story got me thinking about how many times we think we’re in the right place, when really we should be some place better. The environment we sometimes find ourselves in, while even loving and safe, is not where we’re destined for. How often are we led astray, by others, by ourselves? How often do we resist the help of others to get us back on track?

Sometimes through circumstance we find ourselves in a new nest. Sometimes we fight too hard to stay where we don’t belong. We hold onto to what we know is good and safe, and forget we’re designed to move on and explore.

There are grand horizons just waiting to be crossed. So spread your wings and take the chance. You may fall. But know that if you do, there’s plenty of people willing to help you get back up, and get you where you need to be.

Amber and Baby Bird