Monday, June 27, 2011

City Lights

Just yesterday I was looking down over the hive of Times Square in New York and thinking how ironic it is that the busiest part of Manhattan holds the fewest New Yorkers. It's mostly tourists and the vendors who hawk their cheap souvenirs to them that fill the streets. Pretty funny stuff.

I got back today. It was heaven to hold hands with my husband and take big gulping whiffs of my kids. But Kazzy's husband, formerly Professor Burton to me, posted a quote on Facebook today that best sums up my experience. "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." — Mark Twain (The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It) 

Now, I know it's true that all profound words ever spoken in the history of mankind before 1950 are attributed to the same four men: Abraham Lincoln (anything about justice), Winston Churchill (anything about courage) and Ben Franklin and Mark Twain (anything pithy and clever). But that quote sounds exactly like Mark Twain.

Anyway, it says better than I can the exact thoughts that had been running through my head through my whole four day trip. Even as I spent a few days with my old college girlfriends preoccupying ourselves with eating and shopping, my mind kept expanding in spite of itself.

It's uncomfortable sometimes. But I'm coming back from vacation more charged up than ever with ideas about things and people and time and art and culture. And my contribution and my gain.

I love New York.


Chantele Sedgwick said...

Oh, how I wish I could go to New York. Someday. :) I'm glad you had a good time!

Donna K. Weaver said...

It's wonderful to come back from a trip so energized. Glad you had fun.

Barbaloot said...

Hey-I had him as a teacher as well! Crazy:)

Isn't it nice to go on vacation, and even more nice to be happy about coming home?

Maggie said...

Wow, what a wonderful quote. I think I will use it to keep nagging my hubby about going on vacation.

Becca said...

So glad it was good - energizing and rejuvenating and stretching.
(Did your kids look older when you got back?)

Melinda said...

One of my favorite quotes I've seen on Facebook is "Never believe quotes from the internet." -Abraham Lincoln

New York sounds amazing, I'm so happy you got to go, how awesome! I agree with your quote whole-heartedly, great stuff!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I haven't been to New York since I was a child, but I'm planning on going next spring if I can save up for it. Because I have to see Ricky Martin in Evita on Broadway.

For the record, nostalgia is fueling this wish more than whatever other reason may appear to be the case. (Read: I'm not a cougar who drools over gay men.)

LisAway said...

So true. One thing I love about America is that you have so many different cultures and we get to understand and like each other despite, and sometimes because of, our differences. I think that's part of what I loved about moving to California from Utah at age 11. A new world and such different people. Same with coming to Poland. I cannot see things the same anymore. Even if I hold many of the same views as before, I can now see issues from so many different perspectives. It makes life (and not judging) so much easier, richer and more interesting.

wendy said...

I have never been there...but I've heard if you can make it there,you can make it anywhere.
I love that true.
I think we can't learn very much if we don't broaden our experiences.
It helps us learn of tolerance too I think.
glad you are home safe and sound