10.10.2010

JOHN LENNON'S 70th BIRTHDAY, YOKO ONO'S TREE, MATISSE'S LIVING ROOM


It was just one of those New York days--you bump into things that carry you in a completely unexpected direction from the one in which you set out. I went to MoMA to see Matisse, lingering long and lovingly over a blue painting called The Window. I wondered at the way the sheer white curtain became a film of light pouring over the floor...

...wondered as well at how the two chairs looked as if a conversation had been stopped and its occupants had just left the room, wondered then at the love with which the vase had been filled with flowers from the garden, wondered at how I could feel the breeze stirring through the room....and simply wondered at the way paint can work its transcendent magic.












On my way out, I happened to glimpse a work in progress in the Sculpture Court; it was a Wish Tree created by Yoko Ono.



People were filling out white tags, and tying them to the young, lithe branches.

There was a hum of activity, and, judging by glimpses I got of the cards, an outpouring of hope for love and joy and forgiveness and compassion--for everything good that life has to offer.












The activity around the tree was unabated for the next half hour or so that I stayed to watch.


We were like bees, swarming to this sweet spot, and drawing sustenance from the very wishes we were leaving behind.

Later that night, I wandered into Central Park in front of the Dakota. I knew that it would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday, had he not been so cruelly murdered. As it happens, I was on 72nd Street, right across from the entrance to the Dakota, late that night on December 8th, 1980, when Lennon was shot. I was on my way home, and of course I had no idea what was going on; it was mayhem, police cars, ambulances, people gathering. Last night, I was drawn into the Park when I saw people coming out--it was around ten at night, and I thought I would go visit the IMAGINE plaque and pay my respects to John Lennon.


I found a crowd of people gathered round in a circle. Threading my way to the front, I saw that the mosaic was covered with flowers and candles. But the most remarkable thing was that everyone was singing--singing their hearts out. A couple of musicians were playing guitar, bass, piano; and there were fans there who knew every single word of every single song. Musicians dropped out--some had already been playing for five hours--and others arrived, unpacked their guitars, and began strumming. One man, named Scotty--I know because someone in the crowd greeted him warmly--was a wonderful guitarist, his fingers strong and nimble and the sound that came forth rich and warm.

Those who didn't know them found the lyrics on their iPads and sang along too. I joined in, and lost myself in the chorus of voices. We went through dozens of Beatles songs. These were songs I have been singing since I was ten years old, songs I sang to my own children when I was bathing them, or putting them to bed, songs that are part of the soundtrack of our lives. While we sang Yesterday, I found myself thinking about the blue living room, about lives that are interrupted, conversations that are halted, hopes that are destroyed. We sang and sang and sang, and when I left at midnight, people were still playing and singing. We created a joyous, beautiful, communal warmth. Imagine.

29 comments:

Bruce Barone said...

Thank You for sharing such a wondrous happening. So beautiful are your words and memories, they brought tears to my eyes.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Those are some of the joys you find on the streets of NYC. I love how people of the city can band together like that -for anything really! The city has great community spirit, much like a small town.

annie said...

Your description allowed me to be there, as well. Thank you.

Cindy White said...

I think it's the best post you have ever done....

Ashling said...

What a magical, synchronous day you experienced...thank you for appreciating and sharing it so vividly.

Amy goodhouse said...

Such a beautiful description. I was in Central Park the night after George Harrison passed away (first date with my now husband) and experienced a similar happening. Tons of people singing along to Beatles tunes. We were entranced. And it's something I will always remember. So glad to see New Yorkers carrying on such a wonderful tradition. So sad that John Lennon was taken from us.

Sara said...

Thank you for another beautiful post that inspires living purposefully.

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

Thank you for sharing the beauty of such a thoughtful and joyous day. I'm filled with hope reading this ; )

Karena said...

Dominique, a day to remember forever, the Matisse you have shown is one of his greats. The tributes and John's Memorials so touching.

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

carlymac21 said...

Dominique,
You always brighten my day.

Jen said...

Thank you for your wonderful words and weaving of stories, thoughts, images, love and beauty. I am grateful for the places you bring me through your writing and perspective. Thank you.

Tricia O'Brien said...

Thanks for the photos. I will be in NY next week, perhaps it will still be there. I started doing a wish tree on New Year's Day. I noticed the wind blowing one of the wishes around a few weeks ago and thought about what had been written on them. What had come true and what still needs to happen before the year is over.
Thanks again, Tricia
www.cafetrix.blogspot.com

quintessence said...

What an incredible adventure - both the original and now this. And as ArchitectDesign aptly pointed out, these are the miracles of New York. So wonderful to be able to experience this special day vicariously through your post. And your photo of the evening, I assume taken with your phone, is magical - the grain and light gives it a modern Seurat-like texture - just wonderful!

Jane K. Schott said...

That was truly a New York Minute...I loved it and was thrilled to join you. A remembrance that will always be in your heart.

Susan Thornton said...

I share your comments regularly via my Facebook page. Blessings to you, dear.

Debbie Hemley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Hemley said...

Dominque,

Quite beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

Now excuse me while I go listen to Imagine!

Best,
Debbie Hemley
http://debbiehemley.com

helen tilston said...

A perfect New York day. It is wonderful to roam around and let life happen. Those are the best days. Thanks for sharing

Helen Tilston

Maureen Sullivan Stemberg said...

So lovely. Beautiful photo's. I loved what a previous comment made stated, "I love how New Yorkers all can come together." That is exactly, What John use to sing about and speak about...I also , must say his wife Yoko Ono, has done a beautiful job, to keep his memory and spirit alive with dignity.
Thank you, for sharing this evening with all of us. IMAGINE...

c said...

"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans ... "

I don't know about you, but Yoko has grown in my heart every year since John was murdered. I have such respect and appreciation for her ...

Thank you for acknowledging John's incredible contribution to humankind.

How I wish he were among the living ...

Maria Grasso said...

Although I left NY 18 years ago for Los Angeles, there are days I wish I could beam myself into the city. This was one of the, but thanks to your post I experienced a magical day in Manhattan by proxy.

Pam - Westminster, CA said...

Thanks for shaing! I wish I could have joind in the magic. I can't stop crying thinking about what could have been! IMAGINE!

cathy moore said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience! You made it seem as if I were there, too. I've put a link to your blog in mine today so that more people will be able to enjoy your writing. namaste.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

What an incredible experience. I know you will never forget that day.

david terry said...

Sorrry, but?...."a wish tree created by Yoko Ono"?

What?

I know she has gad-zillions of dollars, but I would hope that there's no real need to be THAT reverential (the nice word for it) of her utterly original and ground-breakingly "creative" idea.
Oh...I'm sorry...I forgot...I should have referred to that as a "concept".

My first reaction was "Ummm....hasn't that already been way-done at about 10,000 Unitarian weddings and funerals?"

In any case, this wouldn't be the first thing that Yoko Ono didn't think of first.

I will admit that it was nice to see her posing with Lady GaGa last week. Eighty years ago, one could have achieved the same effect by shoving Wallace Warfield Simpson and Ruth Etting into the same camera shot.

Oh well...le plus ca change?.....

----david terry
www.davidterryart.com

david terry said...

Oooops....just came back after having posted that previous comment yesterday....thinking "Oh, I hope that didn't come off as TOO unpleasant"...

The fact is that I've never been able to "get" John Lennon (at least, anything he ever did by himself), and I'll admit to being one of those people who don't have to spend much time wondering what might have happened for/to Yoko Ono if she'd never married John Lennon.

Not entirely by the way?....I had a really delightful time at a dinner in Charlottesville, VA (at the house of long time friends) when the topic turned to "What/Who is something that you've just NEVER been able to 'get'?"......the sort of person/thing/artist/"movement" that just & simply & forever leaves you uterly un-moved and un-touched....and feeling sort of guily and/or inadequate for failing to rhapsodize or weep over what obviously moves so many other people?"

My first contributions (and this was before I read this post) were "John Lennon and this new food made with foam...also Judy Garland, Marie Callas, and the entire San Francisco metro area...."

I feel guilty, already, having written this.

I should add that I once encountered a "wish-tree" (i.e., you could write a "wish" and string it up on the florist's, trucked-in ficus) was at a christening party. I sincerely thought that was a lovely idea.


----david terry

Maria Petrova said...

such a beautiful post, dominique!

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