A Lesson from “M Train”: Connections

I needed a pencil for underlining. Finally found one way in the back of the pantry on the bottom shelf in a cup of pens. One lonely pencil. “Hilton Riverside” written down the length of it. It must have been from the tIme in the ’90’s when we evacuated there for a hurricane. I remember the wind was blowing the rain horizontally when we took the dogs out to pee and I had to lean into it to stay upright. I’d never seen that before. I had the best cup of coffee of my life the next morning when it was all over.

Hilton owns the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in NYC where I’ll be staying next spring.

I’m using the pencil to underline in Patti Smith’s memoir, M Train, which I’m reading right now. A pen is too harsh and a highlighter too bright. I needed a pencil, that thing my fingers haven’t wrapped around in years, with its soft and forgiving attributes.

Patti lives in NYC and much of the book is about her life there. She writes a lot about connections. Between events, between people, between people and events. You know, life. She sees connections between what most people would call inconsequential things, random stuff that isn’t so random when you look closely and think on it a while.

Signs.

Serendipity. image

Karma.

She’s shown me, in this book, the importance and grace of recognizing and acknowledging the serendipitous. To notice things I’ve not connected or paid attention to before. To see how connections can become ritual and rich. To think about how one thing touches another and makes both (or all) shine or comfort or become deeply personal.

So.

Pencil. Book. NYC.

It’s going to be a fine, fine trip.

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