Time has a funny way of bending in on itself. #NYC

This past November, my husband and I were deep in conversation when our driver suddenly stopped due to traffic. As we looked out into the rainy streets of New York City, I was stunned to see Paley Park just steps away. She (because she is too beautiful to be anything else) was glossed with rain, just as she had been the first time we met in 2007. Time has a funny way of bending in on itself. So much has happened since then, but I am still the same girl; I still believe in all that is good. And, I know I am blessed.

When we returned home, I pulled out a copy of the book I wrote about my weeklong retreat in New York City ~ WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, A MEMOIR. And, I located the chapter where I mentioned my first introduction to Paley Park. I’ve included a partial entry here.

WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, A MEMOIR
Elizabeth Mozley Partridge

💙 https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

2
Simplicity – free of complexity, refinement, or pretentiousness

For only a moment, I forget where I am. I have awakened to the sweet sound of rain, its drops playing out a song on the sill and making a tattoo of patterns on the glass, droplets that splat, gather and run. I’ve awakened in the past, on my old couch. How often I slept my lonesome weekends through.

There was that one soaking April I awakened to find the French doors of my living room standing open, thrown wide the night before to let in the breeze. I both loved and hated that white room, with its spacious doors set across the back. On the second story, it sat as if nestled within the limbs of trees. This morning the rain had made heavy the syrupy smell of warming wisteria and its scent had come inside with the wind to blanket the house. I had risen, prepared a pot of coffee, put Madeleine Peyroux and Miles Davis on the Hi-Fi.

I was determined that spring to make myself happy. Often, I’d waste the day away. Surrounding myself with cookbooks pulled from the shelf, I’d browse the stacks for something to cook, something to have waiting for the children when they returned from the weekend with their father.

So, I have claimed today as one of those days. It will be a day without destination, a day wasted away without purpose. But, really, in all things there is purpose.

Darting along the sidewalk, I sidestep a woman scolding her son for being late. These kids are still in school and will not be out for another week. Continuing the school year through June would be unbearable in Alabama. I turn, and cannot help but watch the woman. Having entered the store behind me, she continues with her barrage of corrections. Something in her tone reminds me of my mother. She is not really angry, but the voice holds the tone of determination.

Mother used to grab me by the shoulders, demand that I meet her gaze and then with an intensity that sank into my bones she would declare, “I want you strong and independent. I don’t want you scared to try things like I was.” She and my father loved me and my younger brother. That was obvious. But, we were never smothered with affection, never spoiled. The objective they sought in child rearing was clearly to produce two kids who were sure of themselves and independent.

Growing up in the country as we did, my brother and I became inseparable. The isolation created between us an amazing bond. But, it also fostered a desire to go solo. When sports began to consume Oba’s weekends, I was left alone in what had always been a shared adventure. Strangely, rather than feel this as a loss, it grew into an inexplicable love, an unequivocal joy. Instead of accepting invitations from girlfriends for a day shopping or burgers and a movie, I preferred instead to spend my days hiking to the lake that sat nestled in the woods, gather a pile of pine needles to make a soft place where I could curl up for several hours in the quiet and read. Other days, I’d throw a shovel in the back of our old truck, and spend hours riding the countryside searching old home places for daffodils. I learned early that I am very comfortable setting out on my own.

The sky rips open and rain begins to spill onto the city. The echo of thunder ricochets off the skyscrapers with alarming intensity! It is unlike any sound I’ve ever heard. I sprint to the nearest cover along with every other soul who didn’t have the foresight to bring an umbrella. Just as quickly as it came, the rain slackens, then tapers off to a slow drizzle. Covering my head with a jacket, I tiptoe through the puddling water on the sidewalk and continue skipping between shops, searching for shelter within each, seeking enjoyment that requires no thought, just an aimless filling of the senses with shape, color, sound and scent. There is no hurry, no course to follow, just the pure enjoyment of an overcast gray sky, the creamy glow of traffic lights, the rain itself bouncing between the buildings as it picks up pace again. There is nothing so soothing as the low sound of distant rolling thunder and the muted light of a dreary day.

I turn a corner onto an unknown road and find the fountain. I know instantly that it will be my favorite and so silently claim it as a place of my own. It reminds me of one in downtown Gadsden next door to the old Pitman Theater on Broad Street. I mark it in my mind so I can return later. I have stumbled upon Paley Park, established in May 1967, a month before my birth! The plaque near the entrance reads, “This park is set aside in memory of Samuel Paley, 1875-1963, for the enjoyment of the public.”

Two questions come: Why is no one here? and What day is it? The realization that I’ve begun to let my days blend together brings a sudden smile. I feel that I am making some sort of progress, but toward what I am unsure. Folding my jacket and placing it in a chair, I sit back to appreciate what can only be a temporary moment of seclusion. The backdrop of the park is the waterfall, a twenty-foot sheet of falling water. Cobblestone pavers cover the ground and, all around, ivy buffers the encasement provided by the opposing buildings. The park is filled with the green foliage of trees with which I am unfamiliar, and a profusion of potted yellow and white flowers. The wind having died down with the passing of the storm, now blows gently through the trees and birds reappear to bathe in the puddles that remain. Bending, I collect a white rock that seems so out of place. Pausing before pocketing it, I notice its jagged edges, its surprising heft, and the way its surface glints against the light.

For centuries, man has erected fountains. Originally begun as wells that provided the city with water, fountains later sprang up, creating a place to congregate, a place to relax. The longest recorded conversation between Jesus and another person took place at Jacob’s well with the woman of Samaria. The Persians are often credited with creating the first garden fountains and Romans the aqueducts and public baths.

Sitting here alone, reflecting on these things, two memories come to mind. I remember the sense of fulfillment I experienced when Anderson, my daughter, and I drank from the fountain on a hillside in Rome, where the cold water poured out onto the streets from the ancient aqueducts.

Though warned not to drink from it by our guide, we couldn’t resist; ambivalence must surely be an inherited trait! The other memory is of a time when having tired of a lecture on the relationship between Southern food and literature I’d made my way through the streets of Natchez, Mississippi where I stumbled upon St. Mary Basilica and its simple but gracious fountain that sat surrounded by old oaks. Rather than being overcome by the majesty of the sanctuary, I was taken instead with the unassuming oasis.

Neither of these memories are distant enough to have been forgotten or shelved, and yet they are seldom, if ever, recalled. But, they come to me now and the recollection of these happy times, these times I felt fulfilled, seem to ease the anxiety that has kept me in constant company these past months.

I cannot explain the need to revisit certain buildings and places, or why it is that they are of such importance to me, a Southerner. But, I think that the love for this city’s landmarks is a universal thing. Most people understand the importance of place to the human spirit. Just as individuals are unique, the characteristics of a place which appeal to us, those to which we attach some meaning or connection, are just as varied, just as distinctive. A place that holds no appeal to one person may be of inherent importance, almost sacred, to another. Yet, experiencing ties to a place and being drawn to one are very different; while we are drawn to those that supplement our soul, we become tied to the one that breathes of home. When people reside in an area to which they feel no attraction or sentimental connection there is often the recognition that something inherent and fundamental is missing. And so they search.

Elizabeth Mozley Partridge, an excerpt from WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, A MEMOIR
All books available on Amazon.

💙 https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

#WeShareTheSameSky #ElizabethMozleyPartridge

Paley Park, New York City 11/12/2022

BE STILL & BE QUIET

Carve out a few minutes every day just for yourself. It has been too long since I last sat quietly in this room & I have missed it.

Make quiet time for yourself in a space that makes you happy.

This room is me. I enjoy the bright light, my plants, books, my humble breakfast of peanut butter & saltine crackers, a too strong cappuccino, and soft classical cello.


Go find your place, take your time & be happy ~ and of course, grateful.

SundayMotivation 💛

ElizabethMozley

WeShareTheSameSky

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

The Advice I Give My Children

Actions speak louder than words, and yet, once spoken, they will hear your words for a lifetime.

ElizabethMozley

WeShareTheSameSky

WE SHARE THE SAME SKY is available on Amazon 💛 https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU

Yes, WE do SHARE THE SAME SKY!

#WeShareTheSameSky Join me for a week in #NYC, visiting historic sites, enjoying the history, famous eats & reflecting on growing up in the #DeepSouth

~Ah, and the battle for best cUpCaKe between Magnolia Bakery & Sugar Sweet Sunshine; my quest for the tastiest rice pudding & frozen custard! What a satisfying trip!

💛 In pApERbAcK & #KindleUnlimited

WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir is Available Here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1985762838/ref=cm_sw_r_awdo_RAMP9ASEEAV4ZGDFXEB4

#ElizabethMozley #AlabamaAuthor

—Did you say, “battle for the best cupcake?!”

#WeShareTheSameSky Join me for a week in #NYC, visiting historic sites, enjoying the history, famous eats & reflecting on growing up in the Deep South. ~ Ah, and the battle for best cUpCaKe between Magnolia Bakery and Sugar Sweet Sunshine; my quest for the tastiest rice pudding & frozen custard! What a satisfying trip! WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir is Available Here: https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU

#ElizabethMozley #AlabamaAuthor

ROAM!!

Travel when you can – hop a flight, ride the train, or just step out of your own back door and roam! Join me for a week roaming New York City & reflecting on growing up in the rural South! amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozl…

WE SHARE THE SAME SKY,
ELIZABETH MOZLEY

Take time to reconnect with who you truly are!

For me ~ I have begun with an early morning walk, followed by a cappuccino & blanket on the front porch, warming in the golden sunlight and fleshing out the second Memphis novel.

Join me for a novel! https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley-McGrady/e/B00J7KJWIU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

#WeShareTheSameSky

#ElizabethMozley

#TheDonatiFamily

Wanderlust ~a strong desire or impulse to wander, travel, explore the world…

“Not all those who wander are lost.” 
J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

I am equally envious and excited when I hear people taking off on adventures I have also yearned for.  Example -for years I’ve longed to hike the Appalachian Trail.  The AT runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine; is roughly 2,200 miles long and passes through 14 states.

I have watched every documentary I can find on the subject, and each time I sit for hours afterward trying to plot out the HOW.  And, how is a huge thing!  It takes 6 months to hike the trail from end to end.  Six months –time away from family, jobs and paying the bills each month.  It also costs about 4 thousand dollars to finance the hike.  Finding a solution doesn’t seem possible.  Perhaps it is something we will postpone until retirement –like icing on the cake!

The fever hit again this morning when I came across an article on Yahoo Travel.  It is a great piece written by Julie Fast about the tragic loss of a friend and her quest along the Appalachian Trail.  The Amazing People I Met While Hiking the Appalachian Trail Changed My Life. Julie Fast‎. Oct‎ ‎06‎, ‎2014

julie-fast mountain

Finding peace in nature helped me to heal. (Photo: Julie Fast)

 

However, as much as I long to hike the AT, my favorite film/documentary about just getting out and experiencing the world remains 180° SOUTH!

film-box

THE TRAILER http://www.180south.com/trailer.html

The film documents Jeff Johnson’s 2007 adventurous trek from California to Patagonia, a trip based on the earlier expedition of environmentalist Yvon Chouinard and his friend Doug Tomkins (founder of The North Face), taken in 1968.  Johnson’s expedition is meshed with footage from the first one.  A third component of the film is the inclusion of existing environmental issues discussed by Chouinard and Tomkins (almost 70 now) who continue to live their dream and relish a personal relationship with nature.  Doug and his wife Kris own and live on a 2.2 million acre reserve in both Chile and Argentina where they concentrate on a “defense of nature”. http://www.conservacionpatagonica.org

The film is indescribably good.  Appealing to both my love of the ocean and the mountains, it makes my heart yearn.  When I’ve had a really bad day I listen to the soundtrack in my car.  I’ve watched the documentary so many times that the association the music provides makes me happy within minutes.  In my mind’s eye, I can see Rapa Nui!

I know exactly what I’m watching when I get home tonight –right after I make a huge cold cut sandwich~

*****

ELIZABETH MOZLEY

@ElizabethMozley  &  @CentipedeYAread

And on Facebook – We Share the Same Sky, author Elizabeth Mozley

We Share the Same Sky, a memoir

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU

The smallest change in schedule can be delightful~

4:50 a.m.

night-sky

Instead of my morning walk, I am up early to water the plants.  It is beyond dry and I’ve no intention of letting the trees and plants I’ve babied for six years go without a fight.

The stars are out and it is a brilliantly clear sky.  The wind has a chill to it and my heavy hunting jacket is necessary.  Its deep pockets give me a place to put my phone so I can keep up with the time; otherwise I’ll get into what I’m doing, begin to daydream and be out here all morning.  I have to be at work before the students begin to arrive at 7:20.

Sweet Alabama!  Today it is supposed to be in the low 80’s and that is a glorious thing.  The past few months have been unbearably hot.  Dead grass crunches beneath my work boots; it is an unpleasant sound.  Lowering my head, I put in a small request for a long, soaking rain.

There is something so calm and peaceful about being outside in the early morning when everyone else is still sleeping.  Well, actually many are not.

One day last week when I could not sleep, I got up at 2 a.m., started a pot of coffee and went for a long walk.  I was surprised at how many lights were on.  I could actually smell breakfast coming from the open windows of some.  But, the quiet, the black sky and brilliant stars with the wind gently blowing was both invigorating and calming.  I returned home, settled on the couch with coffee and books, and read and until it was time to ready for work.  It was as if I got an extra weekend morning on a weekday.  The simple change in my schedule, the positive way I had begun the morning carried over into the day.

Just One Little Change…

*****

ELIZABETH MOZLEY

@ElizabethMozley  &  @CentipedeYAread

And on Facebook – We Share the Same Sky, author Elizabeth Mozley

We Share the Same Sky, a memoir

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU

 

Night Sky Photo: http://www.rarewallpapers.cm

WORRY, EXPECTATIONS, CONTROL – OH, MY!

You wouldn’t carry around and nurture a rotten egg.

Yes, it is a silly thought, but it reminds me how foolish it is to worry, when worry accomplishes nothing.

For the most part I am a really happy person and I tend to wake up that way almost every day.  But, there are days that once I get going, I begin to WORRY.  And, there are other times when the blues strike for no apparent reason –not a sadness mind you, but rather a deep funk.  Thank goodness these are getting fewer and further between.

They say that women have a greater propensity for worrying than men, that we tend to over analyze things.  It’s something that once it hits, I have to get a hold on quickly.  I have learned to turn to two books: Change Your Thoughts –Change Your Life, Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Peace a Day at a Time, 365 Meditations for Wisdom and Serenity by Karen Casey.

books

Although, I am a Christian, I appreciate Buddhism’s lessons on kindness, generosity and self-love.  So picking up Dyer’s book and delving into it was a given.  It is an easy read, but if you read the lessons twice you gain a deeper meaning.  The other book, Karen Casey’s, I picked up without realizing that it is a book for AA.  I simply picked it up in the bookstore when the title caught my eye, flipped to a page, read it and was hooked!  Its lessons are so short and simple that it is hard to fathom the effect they have on your thinking.  Bookmarks now fill each and I’ve underlined and written in all the margins my thoughts and feelings, little phrases that sing to me.  Both books are filled with Biblical scripture as well; and like faith, neither are one dimensional.

If I am honest, my worrying has another component that I don’t like.  I call it the ugly cousin –CONTROL.  Trying to control even the smallest of things seems almost an addiction.  I know it is poisonous.  It can make what should be non-stressful situations stressFULL and can place a hardship on even the strongest relationships.  For example, because I am an extremely punctual person (a little OCD when it comes to time, I have multiple alarm clocks) I let what should be a minor irritant –waiting on someone for what I felt was an ungodly amount of time- almost ruin a friendship.  A girlfriend told me she would meet me at a specific time, and showed up 45 minutes late; she was smiling and chipper I might add.  I was beyond ill.  What I didn’t understand at that time was that I was the one with the problem, not her.  It was my expectations that caused the problem.

Give up expectations of others, stop worrying and just find something to smile about.

It is amazing how much of this I began to understand once I read Dyer’s and Casey’s books.  By changing the way I viewed things, I changed the way I felt.

 

book

*****

ELIZABETH MOZLEY

@ElizabethMozley  &  @CentipedeYAread

And on Facebook – We Share the Same Sky, author Elizabeth Mozley

We Share the Same Sky, a memoir

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU