The following story – an unexpected delight! – landed in my inbox this morning from Mickie Whitley, a 13-year resident of Sheepshead Bay. ”This neighborhood is one of those which has a very tangible natural presence and I find the juxtaposition of this in New York City to be fascinating,” she wrote to us. Then she attached the following story, which we’re happy to share with you.
When I was a child, there was a saying grown-ups used whenever bored children would whine on rainy days: April Showers bring May Flowers. Now it’s May and the jonquils and tulips on Emmons are entering retirement, so what else does a spring rain bring? Fog.
I love the marina in the early mornings. Pre-dawn is when the neighborhood wears its quietest and most contemplative personality. This morning it was the call of the boats that drew me outside. That long, low tone of the fog horn is one of the most haunting and romanticized sounds in the memories and literature of this wayfaring country. Whether by ocean, lake or river, few in America have lived never having heard this plaintive call which both mourns the past and forges the future with one beautiful, paradoxical note… and there’s nothing America loves better than a good paradox.
The air this morning is magnificently quiet. Half a block away, I can hear water dripping from the leaves in the Holocaust Memorial Park and startling still slumbering sparrows. Like the Irish Hunger Memorial in Manhattan, some of the city’s most beautiful and rejuvenating quiet places are built in remembrance of some of the ugliest and debilitating actions of our human selves – another wonderful paradox. The rumble of a truck bounces high off the apartment buildings as The Daily News makes its appointed rounds. One of my most cherished memories of living in Brooklyn, which may seem quaintly old-fashioned in this technological age, is seeing and hearing the news literally hitting the streets.