New York snow this time of year, there’s nothing more beautiful

I visited an old love this weekend, almost a year after we parted. I found her more beautiful than ever, and we spent a wonderful few days together before saying goodbye again. Fortunately, my wife not only tolerates this particular crush, but even shares the infatuation. (Yes, I know — I have the coolest wife in the world). And so Mardell and I walked the streets of the Village and the Bronx and places in between, and we reconnected with our shared love, the city we had fallen for during the years we shared with her.

The occcasion was my law school class reunion. I saw old friends from law school; I also met with friends from the bloggernacle. It was relaxing and fun. The best part of it was meeting people, touching base with my community. And so in this community forum, let me offer a few snapshots from the trip — some visual, and others written:

-Thurday evening; dinner at an Italian place in the Village. Participants (other than Mardell and I, who are participants throughout): Logan and Amy — bloggernacle regulars, old friends from real life. Topics of conversation include blogging, Mormonism, Buddhism, law school, meditation, haircuts, family life, music. Rampant theological speculation is de rigueur for the evening. The food is solid, the company excellent.

-Later Thursday. Washington Square Park, again with Logan and Amy. The pavement near the arch is often used for sidewalk art — impromptu chalk drawings that last a few hours. The sidewalk that evening is emblazoned with a rainbow-hued diagram of The Plan of Salvation. We wonder among ourselves whether the artist is a local church member, or perhaps a missionary. We smile and take a few photos. Later that evening, Mardell and I will return to the park and happen to see a passer-by blotting out part of the mural with a cup of soda.

-Sunday morning, attending church at the First ward and at the Morningside Heights ward. I joke with D. Fletcher about the T&S thread on prelude music. He does his best to provide great evidence for both sides of the argument, staying within the hymns for prelude, but venturing outside (shhh!) during postlude, and both sound fabulous. And God gives me a small, unexpected gift — a sacrament program that includes Now Let Us Rejoice. D.’s version of Number Three long ago spoiled me forever; I cannot hear another organist play it anymore without feeling let down. And so I listen and smile, and thank God for the small gift; I’ll be smiling again during postlude.

-Sunday evening, bloggersnacker at D.’s. Logan and Amy are there; my co-blogger Melissa shows up, and it is wonderful. We’re eating cheese (of course) and tasty cookies from Brooklyn; Melissa has brought one of her famous deserts, and yes, they really do match their reputation. We talk like old friends, like family — about feminism and blogging; community and friendship; movies and books and then more about feminism. We talk about testimonies and blessings and music, about wards and homosexuality and blogging, and about feminism again. We even spend a few minutes watching the end of Big Love. I look around me, and I see my friends, my family, my people. And I smile.

They’re not earth-shattering moments. But looking at Mormon sidewalk art with Logan and Amy, having a piece of Melissa’s wonderful apple-walnut cake, I felt connected to friends old and new, connected to a real community. And I was grateful for the time I’ve spent blogging, the time I’ve spent getting to know my friends. Time among friends is time well spent, and sometimes the bloggernacle gives us — gives me — time among friends.

Sometimes, yes, the bloggernacle can be a place of stress and tension and anger. Sometimes it brings out petty squabbles, and grudges, and tit-for-tat, until I swear to myself that I’m through with the whole endeavor. But then there are times that the bloggernacle community is wonderful, sublime, transcendent — a safe place, a haven, a neighborhood, a home. It’s a place to discover or rediscover friends and friendships. And it is at those times that the bloggernacle can become the thread that makes me smile, the song that makes me feel a little bit less like I’m the only cab on the road.




Logan, pondering

14 comments for “New York snow this time of year, there’s nothing more beautiful

  1. MikeInWeHo
    May 3, 2006 at 1:10 am

    What an uplifting post, and great pics to boot. Did you ever find out who did the drawings in the park? The thought of LDS sidewalk chalk artists in the Village, well, that’s just too cool.

    I really need to meet some of you guys in person sometime. (Any LA area bloggersnackers upcoming?)

  2. annegb
    May 3, 2006 at 1:17 am

    I’m going back, for sure.

  3. Lamonte
    May 3, 2006 at 6:58 am

    Kaimi – Thanks for the nice post. I have only recently become a fan of New York and its boroughs. After living on the East Coast for 18 years (and only visiting NYC a few times on business) I started spending time there a couple of years ago when my son and his family moved there while he attends school at Parsons. They live on Douglas Street in Brooklyn and our most recent trip in early April was very enjoyable. The vibrant activity in the streets and the “family” atmosphere in the urban park nearby as hundreds of young parents enjoy each others company while their children play, gave me positive feelings about the place they live. My granddaughter is now 1 1/2 and growing faster than we wish and they love the city and all that it offers. I think I have a good idea why you miss it so much.

  4. May 3, 2006 at 9:00 am

    Looks like you got a good shot of Logan with his classic “I’m confused” look. Awesome!

  5. May 3, 2006 at 9:01 am

    Kaimi,
    Sorry I missed the bloggersnacker (damn church responsibilities!), I would have liked to have been there. And I’m sure I missed some good cheese :( It sounds like you guys had a great visit.

  6. May 3, 2006 at 10:43 am

    Love the pictures. I too was sad to miss the bloggersnacker.

  7. D. Fletcher
    May 3, 2006 at 10:44 am

    Good times! It was great to see everybody, and I’m sure some of our dialogues will make it back here as blog threads.

  8. Melissa
    May 3, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    What a delight it was to attend Sunday’s gathering with all of you. Sharing cheese with Kaimi was definitely on my things-to-do-before-I-die list so I was happy for the invite!

    “I’m sure some of our dialogues will make it back here as blog threads.”

    or elsewhere . . . .

  9. Islandgirl
    May 3, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    It is interesting to read of the reactions and feelings in response to Kaimi’s comments here. He has always had a liking for unusual and different things.( ?living in NYC?). He has always had interesting perspectives, expressions and questions.
    When he was 3 we moved to Germany and lived in American-style apartments that were wired for 200 volt usage.. All of our appliances were wired 110 for use in the USA, so we had to use ‘transformers’ to be able to use our 110 volt appliances there . And if we plugged too many things in at once, the transformer would blow the circuits. One day when this happened, Kaimi asked me “How come when the power goes off, the toilet still works?” Curious little guy.
    Yep, you guessed it-I am Kaimi’s Mom and we are so proud of him and his little family. I’m glad NYC is a happy place for him and brings back pleasant memories. But I am even happier that he lives in San Diego now because it is only a few hour drive and we are at their house. Love those grandkids, and of course Mardell and Kaimi too.

  10. AmyB
    May 3, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    I had a great time hanging out with yous guys. It was great to meet Melissa. I like lurking in the bloggernacle, and have found a lovely home over at ExII, but for me nothing compares with spending real, face to face time with people. It was grand.

  11. May 4, 2006 at 1:26 pm

    Kaimi,

    For a taste of New York in San Diego, drag yourself up the hill from Thomas Jefferson to Hillcrest. On Washington there is a little restaurant called Bronx Pizza. The dudes there are as NY as it gets and the pizza is delicious.

  12. May 4, 2006 at 1:27 pm
  13. May 4, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    I’m also sorry to have missed it–especially since there was apparently so much fascinating feminism to be had–but I wasn’t feeling well on Sunday, and trust me, you all did better without me. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet you all, though, and it would have been nice to see Melissa again (now with cake!). Ah well, perhaps next time…

  14. Kaimi Wenger
    May 4, 2006 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks for the comments back, everyone.

    Mike,

    I never did find out, but if I hear, I’ll let you know. And I too hope that there will be some SoCal bloggersnackers some time soon.

    Bob,

    But Logan _always_ looks confused, doesn’t he? :P

    Rusty, danithew, Emily,

    There was this wedding, and these virgins, and they forgot to put oil in their lamps, and . . . neener neener neener. Hey – don’t forget your oil next time! :P

    Ryan,

    It’s now on my list of things to investigate. I consider myself somewhat of an expert in _real_ Bronx Pizza, so I’ll let you know how it compares.

    LaMonte,

    Yep, it’s a fun city. If it weren’t for the kids, we’d probably want to stay there. (As it is, the advantages of a yard outweigh many other things).

    Annegb,

    It’s never a bad time to go back to NYC.

    D.,

    You’re the consumate host, as always – thanks for putting up with us.

    Amy,

    I love reading your comments at ExII. (Isn’t that a movie, starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine?) It was great hanging with you guys, um, err, gals, um, guys-and-gals, um, well, you know what i mean. :) And let’s definitely do it again some time, on one coast or another.

    Melissa,

    Wow – I made your things-to-do-before-I-die list! That may be one of the nicest things anyone’s said about me. (Now I feel a little embarrassed that I didn’t bring more and better cheeses — true confession, those were just our personal cheeses, that we bought for ourselves, but brought to the party. (Um, many of my cheese plates operate that way).) In any case, it was wonderful meeting you and discussing things, and I hope that we have many more cheese and desert nights in the future. Perhaps you need a month or two hanging out in San Diego? :)

    Mom,

    Yep, we had a blast. The city is great. But we too are quite happy to be a few hours’ drive away from free babysit — err, I mean, from family. :)

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