Walking Cross Town. With No Next.

It’s Wednesday.  I take a late morning train to attend a late morning meeting. There are no meetings that follow. There is no Next, and Next and Next.

I sit in the train. The train clears. I’m immersed in the final chapter of the last book in Rachel Cusk‘s trilogy. I take the time to finish up, I grab my bag, and exit the train. There’s no rushing to the exits, the platform is empty. I walk alone in Kaminsky’s quiet: “What is silence? Something of the sky in us.”

Security at Grand Central is tight. Each entrance is heavily armed. Yet, I don’t flinch – the gunmetal black, semi-automatic weapon looks like a prop in a scene in Toy Story – I’m among the extras, commuters rushing to their Next, and tourists snapping photos.

Broadway teems with tourists mingling on sidewalks, trying to decide What’s Next. I smile, step around them, not interrupting their chat as they stand three abreast. Tis’ the season.

Full body sized neon letters hum and flash overhead: Mueller probe. Cohen. Trump. Russia. This nasty, viscous, mucus is non-stick, and glances off. You won’t touch me, not today. 

My meeting ends. A luncheon thanking colleagues for exceptional work on a project with a highly successful outcome.  I learn at lunch that today is the 86th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting CeremonyAha! This accounts for the heavy security and unusually large crowds.

I’m on a slow walk back across town to Grand Central, and take a detour to Rockefeller Center. There’s no rush. There’s no Next.

I stop across the street from The Tree. It’s big. Very big. A Norway Spruce. 72 feet tall, 45 feet wide, weighting 12 tons. It was carefully swaddled in rope to fit under the highway overpasses and hauled 70 miles from upstate New York. The tree is wrapped in 5 miles of LED lights (50,000 lights!) and topped with a 900 pound, 9′ 4″ Swarovski Star. Even unlit, during the day, it’s an awesome sight.

The hulking Rockefeller Center building looms overhead and dwarfs this giant, 12 ton tree. California fires. Global Warming. This building will be standing here for another 100 years – this 12 ton Norway Spruce and I will be gone – and, at the 186th Tree Lighting Ceremony, let’s hope the children see a real tree, and not a manufactured product produced on a factory floor. Gees, DK, why go there? I’m not ready to go yet. I shudder, shake my head and return my gaze to The Tree.

The tree lighting will be broadcast on NBC in a few hours and the ceremony will include the Celebs – Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, John Legend, and others. Crowds are beginning to form which is the cue for locals (and me) to get out of Dodge. I take one last look at The Tree and the ice rink, turn away from Rock Center, and make my way to Grand Central.

Where is my bliss station Mr. Conrad?

Right here Sir. Right here.

No Next.


  • Photo of Rockefeller Center Tree by country living.
  • Post inspired by Joseph Campbell in the Power of Myth: “Our life has become so economic and practical in its orientation that, as you get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the hell you are, or what it is you intended. You are always doing something that is required of you. Where is your bliss station?


  1. Wow! I would love to see this tree sometime. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah!! DK this is awesome…YOU taking the time to wander and wonder, ‘What’s next?’ We were in NYC around this time last year and you’re right, the tree is magnificent. Everyone should see the city decked out for the holidays at least once. The tree, the store windows, all of it such an escape…. Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. WLS – I worked at 30 Rock right out of college…the enormity of NYC holiday celebrations are symbolized by that tree. But please, let there always be a next…let there be a present moment to cherish…and then another.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. Certainly a Next. A moment where I can be conscious and grateful. Your thought reminded me of a quote shared by Julian:

      If you’re reading this…
      Congratulations, you’re alive.
      If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.

      ― Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head

      Liked by 5 people

  4. I was shopping yesterday and was overwhelmed by the chaos. Like a casino with new slots, shouting Buy me! Try me! Buy me!

    And yet, and yet. We can slow down and be mindful, and thus become more aware of the people we love. ‘Tis that season, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i saw the tree in all it’s glory, last week, before it was lit and it was beautiful as it was. so good when there is no next –


  6. No next is good. I can use some ‘No Next’ in my life right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I purposefully try to find at least one time during the “season” to get out into the middle of the chaos but with nothing in particular to do. I wander through the store displays, look at decorations and toys, smell candles and fresh spruce wreaths, sip a coffee and take it all in. Doing so takes me back to being a kid and that feeling of wonder over our little town’s simple Christmas decorations – magical to me.

    I’d be awestruck to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree! Magic 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  8. Maria Salinas says:

    A one-way ticket to bliss station, please. I like the pace you describe even when there is a next.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. thanks for this post and the Snoopy one – it’s put me in the holiday spirit!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The City in winter. It’s magical, indeed — but it’s everything else, too, and can break the tender of heart. Anyway, thank you for seeing it for two or more. 🙂 Hope your Next is quiet, ordered, and full of pecan pie and good coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lori said it all for me. Good that you’re taking the time to breathe.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, THIS is a tree!!!! And yet, I thought how small it looked in front of this giant building. But then, it does excude the Christmas spirit…. How wonderful year after year Christmas is!
    Great post – and shouldn’t you realise: There is always a NEXT 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for bringing me this tree, I narrowly missed it on my cross town walks this week. My days were full of ‘nexts’ so I only got a couple of hours to play tourist on Thursday afternoon. But you should know I tried to observe the co-walkers on the streets like you always do with such brilliance…and came to the conclusion your talent is not replicable 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am so happy for you…that you had an uplifting mid- week wander…a work day not typical of your normal schedule…As you stood there in wonder…Perhaps, these songs played out in your silent mind…Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Angels We Have Heard on High…and as you stood in Witness of Amazing Joy…I hope a sense of Peace, Joy, Hope and Light to All Men, washed over you…in front of the Nativity under the tree…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Lovely seeing it through your eyes. I expect never to see it in reality, but then, I don’t have a ‘next’ on the schedule; there’ll be enough of those as Christmas approaches.


  16. If we are looking for ‘A Next’ then we are not here NOW. Beautiful tree and a special trip in for you this time. 🙂


  17. Late to the party but yay, you! No next to rush to and able to enjoy the walk to and fro, basking in the moment. One day I’ll make it there during the Christmas season.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Reminds me of a dream I had years ago. I had a pre-build skyscraper on a flatbed 18 wheeler to deliver to someplace in NYC. I had to find a route where I did not pass under any overpasses, and when turning corners I had to make sure I wasn’t going too fast or else the scraper might tip over. The route was long and arduous, taking corners and hitting bumps, nerve wracking. But finally I reached my destination, hopped out of the truck and had some guy at the site sign my bill of lading.
    “You did a good job getting that in here” he said.
    I said “Yeah? I’ll tell you the truth buddy. I HATE this job”

    Liked by 1 person

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