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Lions Roar : November 2012
67 SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2012 loss all over again, as the driver took me to LaGuardia. It didn’t matter that I’d known from the outset my stay was temporary. And yet I was starting to see that the city itself brimmed with hidden treasures, and that my clinging to what I’d known had prohibited me from finding something better. That summer I rented in Fort Greene, again from a graphic designer. She was a slight person who lived without one com- fortable piece of furniture. The chairs were hard plastic, the sofa an Ikea cushion on wood ribs. But I loved walking around and around Fort Greene Park for exercise as the gigantic old trees blossomed. My husband bought a handmade bowler at Malchijah Hats. Changing the hatband, if you ever wanted to, came free. “You doing it! You doing it!” exclaimed a man on the street—smiling at my husband’s hipster style, but not nastily. The night before we departed that second apartment, I sat on its brownstone steps. I was stricken again with melancholy. Saying goodbye was both easier than before and just as hard. It’s unfair, I protested with childish logic: I love this, therefore I should get to keep it. And yet despite myself, the city was teach- ing me that those treasures I most enjoyed were the ones I could least anticipate because they were devised by people whose personalities had different strengths than mine. I was learning, too, that surprise was crucial in determining what I might fall in love with. The world was often better than I expected. I didn’t have to be so in control all the time, so on guard. Why, even something tiny can cause great pleasure! I recalled the Fort Greene neighbor who wore around her neck a bandana out of which one day poked a brilliant yellow trian- gle that cried, “Peep! Peep!” “Is that a bird around your neck?” I asked. It was. It had fallen out of its nest, and this woman was nursing it to health. She’d worn it everywhere: on the sub- way, on her dog-walking jaunts. She showed it to me, opening her bandana further: the plump black glossy grackle body, the gleaming eye above the urgent yellow beak. See, I told myself. You never know what beautiful surprise might come! Stay put, and you see less. That thought provided some balm as, the next morning, I hauled my suitcase down the stairs. The third apartment we rented from a composer on Mid- dagh, in Brooklyn Heights. It was a famous tiny street. Carson Surprise was crucial in determining what I might fall in love with. I was starting to see that the city brimmed with hidden treasures. PHOTOSBYATISHAPAULSON