I went to NYC earlier this week, meeting with the team at Quad Cinema to arrange for the details of the weeklong screening of Mulberry Child in September (9/7-13). I took advantage of the opportunity by getting up early the following morning to jog in Central Park.
I’ve always loved Central Park ever since I worked in the city in the late ’80s and early ’90s. In the middle of the dynamic city where people rarely show any patience, the Central Park presents a different world. Cyclists take over the roads in the morning when motor traffic is kept at bay; joggers and walkers occupy the cycling paths; and dogs gather and run without lease on the lawns. Always a lovely sight.
I got into the park from the east side and joined the stream of people on the trail. I jogged at a leisurely pace and admired those who passed me left and right, some with beautiful strides, and others not so admirable, but commending solute for their spirit and effort. Before long, I had no idea where I was. I planned for an hour and believed eventually I would end up returning to the east side. 45 minutes later when I emerged from the midst of trees and saw a major street not far away, I ran over to check my position. I was surprised to find myself at 7th Ave. and 100th St, totally the opposite direction I had intended to be. Not even the morning sun could give me enough clue where I should turn. I asked a woman adjusting her music player which path I should take to get back to the east side. I picked up speed, knowing if I should lose track of my direction again, I would be late for my 8 a.m. meeting.
It was a perfect day, mid 70s and very low humidity. Every direction I turned to, I took in the large trees, ponds, playgrounds, huge rocks, and various trials with a deep sense of appreciation. Dog walkers chatted while so many large or small dogs ran free. There was no hassle or haste of NYC in here.
It took me another 45 minutes to find my way to my friend’s place and I ended up 10 minutes late for my morning meeting. I mumbled a few words of apologies, but I knew I’d do it again when I’m back in the city for the screenings in Sept.
Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning feature-length documentary film by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. Visit www.mulberrychildmovie.com for details.