Find What the Sailor Has Hidden

This morning I took a break from writing to stand on my roof and admire the New York skyline. I can see all the way from the Bayonne Bridge and the Statue of Liberty up to Central Park. Today, amid a flock of pigeons and an airplane taking off from Newark, there was a cruise ship approaching Manhattan from the south, its smokestack like a red tower constructed overnight between the brownstones to the left and One Hanson Place to the right. It reminded me of this passage from Speak, Memory:

There, in front of us, where a broken row of houses stood between us and the harbor, and where the eye encountered all sorts of stratagems, such as pale-blue and pink underwear cakewalking on a clothesline, or a lady’s bicycle and a striped cat oddly sharing a rudimentary balcony of cast iron, it was most satisfying to make out among the jumbled angles of roofs and walls, a splendid ship’s funnel, showing from behind the clothesline as something in a scrambled picture- Find What the Sailor Has Hidden- that the finder cannot unsee once it has been seen.


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