So I took a break. I’ve been blasted by the 105-degree Arizona heat (go out quick, feel the fire, duck back in), and have enjoyed the delicious sage aroma in the air and the sight of baby jackrabbits drinking moisture from the putting green turf. I’ve found that sushi tastes great in the middle of the desert. Oh, and I’ve enjoyed talking about The Orphanmaster with 75 gracious seniors at a place called Silverstone, in Scottsdale, home to mom and dad.
It’s always interesting to share pictures related to 1660s Manhattan when you are in 2012 and across the country from Manhattan. You can show the intricate, drawn-to-scale street plan of New Amsterdam dating from 1660, and it looks not so much like historic fact as it does magic, a fantasy of a place invented, a tale out of a story book, not possibly real. And yet it all was. The sights and sounds of that Manhattan could be experienced as vividly as the hot gale off the desert here today, or the sumptuous sage, or the nibbling bunnies on their sea of acid green.
In 1660s Manhattan, sea lions sunned themselves on rocks in the surf at the base of the island, where Battery Park is today. You could look up in the sky at noon and witness pigeons wheeling in clouds so dense they blotted out the sun. Ox carts clogged Broadway. Bears climbed in the orchard trees. Noise. Scent. Knockaround drunks. Dazzling meadows of wildflowers.
What I wouldn’t give to set foot there, step into that 1660 map for just a split second.