‘Manitoulin Manhattan’ author skips Sandy for San Jose

To the Expositor:

It was time to book my flight to San Jose, California to attend my yearly Writer’s Conference. And for some reason, I only booked one way as I was staying to visit friends in San Francisco after that. Being a former travel agent, I still like to play with fares, and during the always exciting, challenging conference, where the theme this year was vulnerability of life; how our world, health, business, politics, and family concerns change so fast and how to harness our abilities to think in a collaborative global way to sustain the best parts of living? That our countries and systems are so interconnected, that we must embrace our vulnerability to our governments, our food patterns, our regional blindness, concerns about universal domains of health, the immediacy of ideas and how can we teach each other and learn to have, in our fast-moving and disconnected universe.

That’s a mouthful, and I scribbled along. What can one person do? How can groups work together toward harmony and health and the immediacy of our presidential election? How do we live in a world that is getting smaller? And, what world to live in? Heady philosophy to consider. And how to cope?

And the announcement on TV! Hurricane Sandy, the Frankenstorm, on the move. CNN and other TV stations broadcast warnings to take serious precautions. I’m watching Manhattan hunker down for the onslaught.

My college friend picked me up and we drove to her home in Folsom. But I have been glued to CNN, because while I am away from home, Manhattan is home. And I write to you, Expositor, with a heavy heart about all the tragedy, the saltwater in the subways, the power and water out in my neighborhood. I’ve been keeping in touch with family and dear friends, checking up. “You okay? Yup! Bye.”

People don’t realize how hilly Manhattan is, and I live in Murray Hill. What is humourous is that whenever I visit Wikwemmikong, and that is several times each summer, I always drive to Murray Hill and smile.

While it is sunny here and the palm trees reach high over us, my heart is so heavy. I cannot get back for at least a week and wonder if the polls will be open to vote. I was able to check my landline, 25 calls, many from Manitoulin. A day later, the landline was out. Talk about vulnerability! The tragedies abound, in New York State and New Jersey. Those most vulnerable, homeless. I sigh knowing I will donate to Red Cross, what else to do. We are a community and all in this together.

“Nobody wants change,” said our eldest novelist, content with his old computer and early cell phone. “Why do I have to keep learning?” he whined.

And that’s what we must do, keep learning. Each summer on Manitoulin I am aware of how cell phones run our lives.

This latest utter vulnerability, chaos, loss, death, the downing of systems is what we American Easterners are confronted with this week. And while I’m thousands of miles away, my heart belongs to Manhattan and Manitoulin. This week, energy and prayers to Manhattan.

Bonnie Kogos
Manhattan and Manitoulin