Tonight, I walked back home from the Cloisters Museum in Upper Manhattan, and heard the rage of a isla beat from the speakers of passing cars; watched crowds buy treats from the ice cream trucks; and felt the moist, warm air of the city waft between my toes. Spring has come to the island.

The end of a holiday always makes me feel melancholy, like Sunday night when I was a little kid, and knew that I had to go back to school the next day. When I lived in Brazil, I dreaded weekends, because those were the longest, loneliest hours of the week, when the cars cleared out of the city, the shops shut down, and my friends went out of town with their families. As long as the city was busy, its streets filled with noisy buses and office girls, I felt at home amidst the bustle. It was only when the streets cleared, except for the beggars, that I was reminded that I had nowhere to go; that I was a foreigner, and the city was not my own.

This city, New York, is mine, now that we have decided to remain here. And yet today, Memorial Day, I feel a longing for a city and a time that is not my own: strange, because I had such a beautiful weekend, and have only more of such weekends to look forward to as we head into summer: days riding my bike and knitting and reading, nights spent cooking meals for friends and enjoying the lit splendor of the George Washington bridge from our building's rooftop, glass of wine in hand. I love the humidity of New York nights, and the way that the city's restaurants and bars spill out onto the sidewalk, like in Buenos Aires, inviting guests to linger far into the warm nights. I love the summer, and even as it is just begun, wish that it could last a little longer.

Something in me resists change, wanting to hold perfection in my hand, like the poppies frozen in the digital frame. When happiness comes I grab at it, hoping that I can keep it just this one time -- golden moments, like this afternoon spent wandering the paths of Fort Tryon and snapping photos of blooming flowers.

There is a whole genre of poetry devoted to this sentiment, I know: tempus fugit, gather ye rosebuds where ye may, etc. When I read the verses I know that what I am feeling is universal to the human experience; I am not the first to wish for things to remain just as they are. Yet has another generation lived in a world where things recycled themselves with such speed and rigor, I ask myself?

Even that feeling, of living in a tumultuous age, unlike any other, is nothing new: think of Rome at the end of the Empire, or 15th century Spain, when the crops had failed and the New World was just a glimmer, or those anxious years just before the first Great War, when European poets thought that a new era was near, explosive and clean:

Guillaume Apollinaire,

La pétit auto

A commentary on what I understand is another of his poems of the same name, whose text is not available on the internet.

This afternoon, I was not thinking of the French avant-guard as I sat in front of John Rockefeller's castle at the Cloisters, knitting a lace cardigan and trying not to get sunburned. I thinking, in fact, of what to make for dinner, and whether or not I needed to buy anything at La Rosa, and whether or not my favorite Spanish bodega would be open on this holiday. I pictured the salmon that was defrosting on our kitchen counter; and I thought of my father, and mother; and I imagined my husband scoring a goal on the soccer field all the way down in Chinatown, and buying me dried persimmons for me before he caught the subway back up to the Heights. All of these things I thought about -- so much, right here -- as my fingers moved back and forth, and the sun sunk lower over the west bank of the Hudson.

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