This was the view from my kitchen window last night.
For the first few months that I lived here, I’d get home, throw down my heavy bag, and squint out into the distance. Perhaps I needed new glasses, or maybe I was just looking at something really far away, but I’d always swear that I could just make out the pale green arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty.
Last night, after a really pretty dusting of snow, the sky cleared, my eyes relaxed from my staring at a computer all day, and I could finally make out the full statue.
It seems kind of weird to think that a kid from California is here staring out at the Statue of Liberty from his kitchen window. Back in Los Angeles there were no snow covered roof tops, no chimneys pouring radiator steam into the night’s sky.
Los Angeles was stop number two in my young life. We moved there from Ann Arbor, Michigan to be closer to my grandparents. They would help take care of me while my mom was sick. Looking back, I’m beyond grateful that they were there to provide me the stability and comfort a small child deserves. We built forts out of blankets, and worked on projects out on the garage tool bench. They always had surprise desert plates made up of fresh fruit or ice cream or dried papaya (that was my favorite). Those are good memories from a time when most could have been terrible.
And yet, when it came time to go off to school, I only had one place in mind. I headed back to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and four years later, New York City. In the back of my mind I knew was retracing my parents’ steps, seeking the comfort of places they, and we, had been together.
I think I wanted to be closer to her. I wanted to be closer to the places where we were a perfect family, before she passed away in Los Angeles.
So I retraced their steps, weaving my way back across the country in search of an idea, a feeling, a memory. An imagining of the past that I wanted to find again.
And now I’m here in the city where my parents started their lives, where my grandfather grew up and where my grandmother came to be with him after they met in Cairo during the war.
The thing that I now realize (and this has taken a great deal of work), is there’s no more ground left to retrace. The hard, but only truth is that it’s my turn to let go a bit - and pardon the cliche notion here - It’s my turn to chart out a path of my own.
I could swing back around here and connect the historical significance of the Statue of Liberty to my own glimpse into the future. I could put forth the metaphor that the clarity with which I saw the statue last night is symbolic for a clearer, more healthy view of what lies ahead of me.
Instead, I think I’ll say that it was really nice to see the statue clearly. The snow made it all the more beautiful, and it’s nice to finally be living here.