Punctured Silence

As the night closes in,

the dread begins to surface again.

Will more shots be fired,

explosive against the silence,

as the ghost car drives by?

I am staying at a bed & breakfast in what I now know to be an extremely unsafe neighborhood. For two consecutive nights there has been a drive by shooting on the block where I am staying. Although no one was injured, I think that damage must have been done next door the first-time round. Now, I wait, wondering if the silence of the evening will remain, or be punctured with rapid-fired shots again.

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The Silence Within

Blessed under duress,

the silence of the calm,

in the midst of the storm.

Finding the time to act upon inspiration, while resting my weary soul, these words formed in my mind. I have not been keeping up with my travelogue. Moreover, I have spent the past five days, so far, recovering from Omicron. Where I am staying during convalescence turned out to be an unsafe neighborhood. Yet, despite the circumstances, I prevail, knowing that in seeking refuge under the wings of the Shechinah, all things will work for the good.

By the Lake

Travelogue entry: By the Lake

Spent the weekend in the Catskills, visiting with my brother and his family. Did a one mile hike up a mountain and back. Calmed my soul on the back porch of his home there. Took videos and photos, and breathed the pristine air. Met with my mother via Zoom for Friday evening dinner while there. And, saw an orthodox Jew and a Hassidic Jew, while stopped at a gas station near Monsey, on the way back from the Catskills.

The dew falls on grass,

wet with teardrops from Heaven;

reminds of mannah.

Miraculous Intervention

Arriving at Penn Station,in Newark, N.J., I had thought it would be a brief walk to the local train station. I sought out the Information Desk, and asked how to get there. I was told that I needed to take the light rail to the Broad Street Station. So, I purchased a ticket to my destination, via the light rail to Broad Street. When I found the entrance to the light rail, after walking down and around several corridors inside of Penn Station, I opened the door, and, lo and behold, I was astonished to see the following:

The stairs down to the platform were full of people, and the platform was completely occupied by would be passengers waiting for their train. I was not sure what to do, nor what side of the platform the train that I needed to take would be arriving. All of a sudden, a guy walked in behind me, and as he passes by and walks down the staircase past all of the people on the stairs, he says into his cell phone at his right ear, “Yeah, Broad Street, I’m going to Broad Street.” I instantly thought to myself, “Follow him.”

So, I followed him,
down the stairs to the platform, where he got on the train that had immediately arrived. To be sure, I asked somebody sitting on the platform on a bench, if that’s the train to Broad Street. He responded, “yes.” So, I hopped on the train. I asked the guy who had unknowingly led me to the right train, how long until the Broad Street Station. After letting me know, I told him that I’m trying to catch a train at 5:28 p.m., he said that I had plenty of time. Yet, he would only have one minute to catch his train, once the light rail arrived at Broad Street Station.

Before the light rail left Penn Station to Broad Street, an onboard ticket agent asked to see my ticket. Apparently, even though I purchased my ticket from an employee at the ticket counter, after carefully explaining that I needed to take the light rail to Broad Street, then on to my next destination, I was given a ticket to Broad Street by subway, and onward. So, the onboard ticket collector graciously decided to overlook this.

When the light rail (that runs on tracks on the street, like a subway car on trolley tracks) arrived at the Broad Station, I motioned to the guy on the light rail to go ahead of me, because I knew that he only had one minute to catch his train. Yet, when I walked off the light rail car, he was still standing out there. He asked me, “Do you know where you are going?” I said, “I have no idea.”

So, my guide, who I believe to be a godsend, courteously led me around to the side of the station, up a staircase to an elevated platform. He said that his own train was running late. He showed me how to know for sure when my train would arrive, and upon what track. He said your train is on track 3, as listed for 5:28 p.m. When I looked at the digital board for arrivals, my train was listed as Mount Olive (a biblical name for a sacred place near Jerusalem). I told my would-be guide that was not the name of the particular train line that I was taking. He explained that it was indeed the train for the route I needed to take. I would not have known this, unless so propitiously guided by someone who appeared at the right time in my hour of need. It was then that he told me that he worked for the transit authority. And he showed me his I.D card, attached to a lanyard around his neck, that I had not previously noticed.

When I explained to him that I hadn’t a clue of how to proceed back at Penn Station, when I was waiting on the staircase, until I heard him say that he’s going to Broad Street, he explained in the following manner: He was only talking into his phone, saying that he was going to Broad Street, so that the people he was hurriedly passing by wouldn’t get angry at him for butting in line. We both realized at this point how much of a coincidence this was. We even talked for a while until his train arrived. Baruch H’Shem (Praise G-d), for this truly was hasgacha peratis (divine guidance). Shalom.