Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!
Tomorrow is the anniversary of my birth. The celebration started with the gift of a one day trip to New York City from my long time friend, Celeste. We rode up on Greyhound at 1:15am on Wednesday the 17th. Celeste was wondering if I would have another Greyhound adventure. We arrived in NY at 8:15am. After freshening up, we walked from Port Authority on West 42 and 8th Ave. to Macy's on West 34th and Broadway. There was a chill in the air but it was invigorating. We went into Macy's and looked at the decorations. We also went over to the M.A.C. makeup counter, where a marvelous make up artist showed us some beautiful blushes and gave us tips. We decided to go outside and look at the window decorations. Macy's always has different, unique and beautiful window displays.
After enjoying the displays and taking pictures, we walked to find a place for breakfast. Lo and behold, the place was organic! Celeste who was raised with organic foods really enjoyed the eggs. After breakfast, we walked to the subway to go to Chinatown. Celeste had to get a metro card and I just needed to refill mine. When I put the cash in and the change came out, it was in coin form. I wasn't sure at first if they were tokens or money. While I'm trying to figure that out, my metro card which had ejected, went back into the machine! I called for assistance and was told that I had to mail in my receipt and payment would be mailed back to me. The clerk said for me to come to the other entrance and he would let me in to ride. Moral: get card and check money later. I usually pay with the debit card so I never had that problem before. Live and learn!
I'm not that familiar with Chinatown. I only know a few streets so we walked to find the area that Celeste wanted. After walking for quite some time, a young woman told us where to go. Most older Asians will not help. In Chinatown, women and men are in groups on street corners. It reminds one of prostitutes except they are all trying to get people to buy their wares not their bodies. "Psst, psst", they say as you walk by. They become annoyed if you ask to see an item, which is on the phone camera, and then not want it. We continued to walk until we saw some items that caught Celeste's eye. There weren't many vendors set up outside, perhaps it's a weekend thing.
Our next stop was Harlem. We took the train and transferred to 125th Street. There weren't many vendors out on the streets there either but it was warmer. We did manage to see a pair of earrings we liked. Then we were able to get some oils. We also went into Nicholas, Sonya, your favorite store for all things health related. We decided to have lunch before heading to 116th Street. We saw an Applebee's and had a lunch combo, which meant we could eat the other half on the bus later. We walked off the food as we walked to 116th and Lenox Ave. The Harlem Market is there and full of amazing African items. I mentioned to Celeste that the vendors expect one to barter. Most Americans don't however. If you say no to the price and begin to walk away, the price will come way down. Celeste wants to go back in the Spring.
We took the train to head back to Port Authority. Every transit clerk let me in to ride once I explained what happened. That was a blessing. As the train approached for 42nd Street, I said to Celeste, we can catch either of these I think. A man who had been sitting on the bench said, "Follow me, I'll get you there." We knew where to go and where to get off but he insisted and sat down beside me. This man pulled out a bottle of Brandy and asked if I wanted a drink. I politely said that I didn't. He then began to loudly talk about the people on the train. But he didn't stop there, he spoke about himself as well. His name is "Silky" and he said he was a "NY hustler". He said he was an alcoholic, a drug addict, an intelligent man, a handsome man and a well dressed one. I asked him why didn't he change his life and he said he was trying, as he pulled the whiskey out of the bag again. No judgment, it takes time to change.
He asked my name and I told him. He seemed to want to engage in conversation. I didn't want to set him off, having seen him go off on a man who placed himself in our conversation. When we reached our destination, he walked with us to Port Authority. On the entire walk he tried to put his arm around me and he asked for a kiss. I had to draw the line, even if he cursed at me. I told him that we didn't know each other and that his behavior was not permitted. He laughed and then asked for money saying he was homeless. This was probably the crux of the entire situation. Celeste and I finally ditched him. We walked around to satisfy a sweet tooth and then headed down to the bus. We sat inside a restaurant while waiting but then I decided we needed to stand in line. Our tickets were number 1 and number 2 and we were the first there.
As we waited a young woman, who spoke French, appeared to be ill and the bus clerk said she would place her on the bus first. After waiting for awhile everyone could see that she was only "ill" when it suited her. Our bus was scheduled to leave at 6:15pm but the clerk placed us in another line for the 6:30pm bus. She said it was an express and we would get in sooner. Finally we loaded the bus. Celeste and I wanted to sit in separate seats because we were exhausted from ALL of the walking. We were able to get the seats to ourselves and Celeste kept checking to see how many more people needed to get on. We thought we were in the clear. NOT! A woman who had gone past me, turned around and asked if she could sit next to me. I gave her the seat and went over to sit with Celeste. This woman had 1900 bags; how she thought she was going to sit with anyone, I don't know! The remainder of the trip was uneventful. We arrived in Richmond at 1am.
I awoke the next morning and could hardly move! My arms, legs and everything else were sore. I couldn't get comfortable on the bus and it showed. Later I had a mammogram and all is well, thank God/Goddess/ and All That Is! That night some friends joined me in a pre birthday celebration. It was great fun! Today, I am being taken to brunch and to see "Annie". Tomorrow, on my actual birth day I will rest and reflect on this past year, which brings me to the Winter Solstice. Today is the Solstice. It is the shortest day and longest night of the year. It is a time of stillness and reflection. As we release with love and forgiveness, what no longer serves us, we can then move forward. Because this is a new moon solstice it is a great time to set intentions for the coming year. What do you desire to bring into your life, what do you want to see manifested, what gifts and talents lay dormant in you? Bring these desires into your consciousness and allow them to become embedded in you.
Many people are not aware that the Solstice or Yule has been celebrated for centuries and pre dates Christianity. It honors the returning sun as days will become progressively lighter from now until Summer Solstice. Jesus was not born in December but in September. I believe it was Constantine who combined the festivals, as a way to satisfy Pagans and Christians, when he converted to Christianity. The Christmas tree has its roots in the Yule Tree. The Yule log was burned at Solstice to release the past year. Food and drink prevailed during this celebration of the returning light. I researched this back in the nineties and was astonished at how many Christian holidays have their roots in paganism. This season is a time of light for many spiritual traditions. As an Interfaith/Interspiritual minister, I honor them all regardless of my path.
It doesn't matter what month Jesus was born; it matters that he was and that he brought a message of love and peace. The old ways have given us many blessings and the baby should not be tossed out with the bath water. I value truth above all else as I seek to follow the light of love, peace and hope. Happy Holy Days, however you celebrate this season of light!
Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Gypsi Mama Michelle