February 03, 2005

A gathering of many thoughts minds places moments


I took this photo looking down out the window at Pier 21 in Halifax, which once was the docking place for immigrants to Canada. This is where, this past week, over 300 people came to see and hear Dzongsar Khentse Rinpoche give dharma teachings. People came from all over, from Holland, Germany, Brazil, Seattle, Vancouver and many other places. And fittingly the dharma teaching event was held at Pier 21.

About twenty years ago I had an exhibit in a New York gallery. Most of my immediate family was there and as my dad was an immigrant from Latvia when he was six years old, we all went to Ellis Island to see where he landed. New York City is beautiful in the spring. I remember it was a bright sunny day in May and we were enjoying being together as a family, a group of people who saw each other infrequently, living in various parts of the U.S. and Canada.

While we were walking to the buildings, my sister�s husband asked my dad what he remembered about the place. He said �I don�t remember a darn thing. Just that they gave us bananas. I had never seen one before and didn�t know what to do with it.�

Later, in the theatre where we watched a film made up of slides and stories by and about immigrants, an older man told a story of how when he came to America, they gave him a banana and he had never seen one before and he �didn�t know what to do with it.� Meanwhile my dad, then in his late 80�s, was dozing in the seat beside me.

Sometimes during the talks, I looked around the room to see people nodding off and sometimes, with the schedule being so intense and with the traveling back and forth every day (I don't know how my neighbors do it; I am so lucky to work mostly at home!), I felt like dozing off as well. But then I would remind myself that this moment would only happen now and I would wake up to it. And be glad I did.

Posted by leya at February 3, 2005 08:41 AM

That is where my Grandmother entered this country I think in 1932 and began a life for us all........She came from Hungary on a boat across the ocean in winter. When my husband and I visited that pier in Halifax and we went on that journey that she walked and watched the films it moved me to no end! Our brave Pioneers. Thank you for sharing this
Love Jeanne

Posted by: Jeanne at February 3, 2005 01:38 PM

A small correction: people weren't gathered in NY then for your gallery opening (which was in the winter and was when Dan met your family), but for my wedding in '91. That's why I couldn't come -- too busy getting ready for the ceremony! I remember hearing about the excursion to Ellis Island with envy.

Posted by: Tamar at February 3, 2005 02:00 PM

Oops! Thanks for the correction, Tamar!

Posted by: Leya at February 4, 2005 07:40 PM