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The Chaotic Magic of Travel & Miss Mary Mack: Everyday Magic, Day 21

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Sitting at JFK in New York between flights, and between crowds of the incoming and outgoing, the new-to-here and the barely-anywhere, I wondered what I would write about. I mean, travel by plane -- being hurled at 37,000 feet at 500 mph while listening to the soundtrack of Hair on my Ipod -- is certainly a strange kind of magic, more like a karmic and cosmic sleight of hand, but for me it's usually not the most pleasant magic.

I don't like leaving the ground although I'm telling myself to simply enjoy where I am and take note of the thunderhead in the dista nce when in flight. The food in this part of the airport is outrageously expensive and not all that fresh. The crowds can be daunting and little claustrophic-inducing.

But just as I was thinking this, I heard a child behind me singing "Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack/All dressed in black black black," a song I used to sing and clap out with friends when I was about six or seven. To be honest, I'm not sure I've thought of that song or the pleasure that keeping in rhythm -- something I was challenged at -- brought me since then. Listening to this kid, a six-year-old Japanese-American girl, I went back to that time and place. Not so surprisingly, I'm probably just 20 or so miles from where I used to sing/clap this song in Brooklyn, back in another world I inhabited. Travel isn't just about space, but time. I'd write more, but it's almost time to board and zip off yet another world.

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