May, 2011 to September 21, 2012
Nevisian Paradise
Garricks Pasture, Nevis, West Indies,
aboard Air France and Woodland Hills, CA

Greetings from Paradise
“Gifts from the Universe, Part I”

At long last, hello everyone,

Hope this finds you well in a still rapidly changing but hopefully evolving, forging into a more peaceful, equitable and just world for all. This dispatch began last year in May, 2011 when Lee and I left Nevis and arrived in Manhattan for a few days then spent time with our daughter, Gayle and family in Brooklyn. I finished the unedited version almost a year later on May 28, 2012 as we again left Nevis to visit our daughter, Gayle and family in their new-to them home and then on California. When I began this dispatch, I couldn’t have dreamed in a million years this journey that unfolded. So come along and realize that the best may be yet to come.

Ever since 2000, each year we visited Gayle in New York, I had wanted to take a cruise tour around Manhattan. I also wanted to locate the apartment where I lived with my parents until I was 8 months old when we moved to Columbus, Ohio. Years ago, Gayle, Nick, Lee and I tried to find the apartment but address I remembered, 1295 Riverside Drive, did not exist. Each year we visited Brooklyn, there always were other priorities to further explore where I lived and take the boat tour. So this year, 2011, as part of my 70th year celebration, I decided the time was now. Lee and I took the boat tour on the Circle Line Manhattan. During our wonderful tour, the Captain told us that we were on the very same boat that was the first to arrive on the scene of the crippled U.S. Airways flight, in January, 2009 that miraculously landed in the Hudson River. Our tour stopped at the very spot where the crippled plane had landed and we were supposedly looking at the identical view that those miraculously surviving passengers had seen. It was a deeply moving and spiritual moment and I immediately felt that I was supposed to re-write my book, Communication Is Connection, which I have begun.

In the scene, the French supersonic Concorde airplane rests in permanent display at the Intrepid Museum on a jetty in the Hudson River. The image of the Concorde brought back happy memories of my childhood and early married years and I paused and reflected on them. A second cousin on my father’s side, John Byron, who had no children and was a traveling salesman, loved me very much for who I was not what I did. In my youth, I looked forward to John's visit when he stayed with my family for a few days. When I was in college living at home, he purposefully planned to arrive on a week-end night when my parents were socializing with friends to take me to a fancy restaurant for dinner where we chatted with ease. Unbeknownst to me till years later, John planned these special dinners. In my early married years with Lee, our family stayed with John and his lovely wife Blanche
in their condo on Lido Beach, Long Island overlooking the ocean. Much as it is a ritual for Lee and me to pause, reflect, appreciate and share sunsets here in Nevis, John stopped and watched from his condo balcony each transatlantic Concorde flight from Paris on its final approach to JFK. When I returned to the present moment, I felt a very special connection and goose bumps. This was the first special gift I was to receive in the second half of my 71st year.

As I shared, over the years, a gnawing inside me yearned to find my first home in Manhattan. I recall seeing the apartment building from the outside and walking across the street to Fort Tryon Park and up the hill to the Cloisters during one of my visits to Manhattan in my late teens with my dear Aunt Anni. As the year after my 70 th birthday unfolded, I wondered if I would ever find where I first lived. I kept thinking, I must have had the wrong address on Riverside Drive. For some universal reason, sometime early 2011 during our time in Nevis, I suddenly recalled that a photo album in my Woodland Hills home office contained a picture of my Mother holding me as a newborn and I pictured the address on the page. When Lee returned to LA later in the spring, I directed him to the envisioned album, and lo and behold, there was the address. I had been off by one digit, 1295 instead of the correct 1795. This was another unexpected gift from the universe on this annual journey.

After the Manhattan Circle tour, Lee and I took a cab to 1795 Riverside Drive across from the Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters. When I actually saw 1795 imprinted on the awnings, it was truly a thrill of a lifetime. There at long last, I once again stood on the steps of my first home. A man visiting his brother ushered Lee and me into the foyer inside the building. I sat down on the steps and just soaked in the feeling of what it must have been like 70+ years ago. As I sat and talked to Lee who was profoundly happy for me, I found a quarter stuck in a piece of gum next to me on the step. I picked it up with a tissue and put it in my pocket, reminiscent of the inheritance I had received from my Mom that gave me the ability to gift what and where I wanted. I thought OK, Mom, I know you are here as you have been every day since your death. Then after sitting for awhile, Lee and I walked outside along the exterior of the building and along the 12 foot hedge. At one point, I stopped to clip a piece of hedge to dry and take to California. When I reached out to the middle of the hedge, I spotted a folded dollar bill lying in the hedge. I am glad that Lee was a few feet away and witnessed what I showed him. Again I thought, OK Mom, what is this all about; I knew something big was about to happen.


The first glimpse of 1795
Riverside Drive.


The dollar bill lying in the
hedge.


A beautiful boulder along
the descent from the Cloisters.


The bench overlooking the
Hudson River.

Lee and I standing in front
of 1795 Riverside Drive.

After about a half an hour reminiscing with Lee, we walked across the street and started the ascent to the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park where I learned the Cloisters were opened in 1938, the year my parents immigrated from Germany and two years before my arrival on the earth. Ascending the mount with a magnificent view of the Hudson River, I imagined my Mother pushing me in my buggy and even took a photo of a concrete bench where I imagined my Mother sitting with me.

Somewhere on the descent, connecting with the huge boulders that had been sitting along the path all these years, an important and special part of my genetic inheritance began to spring forth from under the buried boulders of my soul. For somewhere when my name had changed from Ruth Jeannette Lindeck to Ruth Forman, I had buried most of my painful childhood memories and elevated the Forman mystique in my life. Lee’s family had strong family and education values and my family had strong social-peer connections, social conscience and education values. In an instant, the acknowledgment of social conscience values that I had inherited from my Father’s side of the family loomed huge inside of me. This was now the third special spiritual connections of unexpected gifts from the universe on this particular year-long journey.

Now let us fast forward to nine months later as Lee and I were approaching our 50th wedding anniversary and Lee emphatically stated he wanted to have a last big hurrah with just me. I had something far simpler in mind-a 5 day trip to Saint Martin, a 25 minute flight from Nevis. In early February, 2012, I had emailed a friend about our upcoming special anniversary to which she responded, “Wow, 50 years.....You must really not do any chores during that 50 year anniversary season!!” The words “no chores” and “season” jumped off the page and completely changed my paradigm of our very special upcoming celebration.

A day or so later, I had noticed a bright planet in the night sky just after dusk and went to one of my favorite websites, www.earthsky.org . There I read that March would be the best planet viewing month ever and as always, the site shared information about our heavenly bodies. Little did I know that this sky viewing would become a nightly observance of combinations and conjunctions of Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn’s journey (along with earth’s). Lee and I had seen all five planets together for a brief few moments in Nevis on June, 2002 as they were close to the horizon and would not be visible for many nights, but now we would have the opportunity to view three or four planets each night. As I observed their orbits, I gained much insight in the highway we all traverse around our sun, and a more profound understanding of the interconnectedness of our planets and the interconnectedness of each fellow human being on earth with each other. In my life, holding my children and grandchildren for the first time, hiking in the high Alps and High Sierras, touching the Wall in Jerusalem, a breakthrough at during Yom Kippur at Bnai Horin, our Los Angeles Spiritual Renewal community and a greater understanding of forgiveness in a church in Nevis had all been pivotal spiritual experiences. But nothing in my 70+ years life’s experience touched my interconnectedness with our sibling planets or the interconnectedness we humans share with each other as my captivation by the unobstructed, Nevisian nocturnal sky which prompted me to write the following in March, 2012:

Over the last month, from our side garden, front verandah landing or steps with glancing eyes, camera on tripod and binoculars in tow, I have been utterly captivated by the journey of our sister planets and watched as Jupiter from way behind drew closer in its ecliptic path to overtake its sister planet Venus tonight (March 14). At some point, the full moon was also in the mix. A few nights ago, Lee, our dear friend and neighbor and I saw Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury in the same view as heads turned slowly, eyes gazed upward and eastward from the sea at our west to the overhead unpolluted, unobstructed sky--except for a few white puffy or feathery flowing clouds to the east. Looking at where we actually are in the universe with our sister planets passing by again reminds me--big time--of what is important and the invisible thread of our human bond with one another.

Shortly after sunset last night, with a backdrop of the bright celestial bodies traveling west later to again disappear below the clouds and horizon under the sea, again, Lee, our friend and neighbor, along with one of our island grands and I shared a lengthy viewing of the nightly sky and planets followed by a most profound, open, moving, heartfelt and enlightening dialogue about God, creation, life and souls. This entire phenomenal experience has deeply touched me and will probably be one of the highlights of my life’s spiritual experiences. I have a far different perspective about God, life, creation, urgency or necessity than I had a month ago.

In the photos below, the caption names first the planet that is on the top. You view the planet's changing position as the month progresses.


February 26, 2012. Jupiter,
Venus with the moon in
between.

March 10, 2012, Jupiter and
Venus approaching
conjunction.


March 13, 2012. Jupiter and
Venus just prior to conjunction.


March 14, 2012. Jupiter and
Venus conjunction.


March 24, 2012. Jupiter and
Venus moving further apart and
the new moon below.


March 25, 2012. Venus,
Jupiter and new moon.


April 13, 2012. Saturn and Mars on
the right. Mars is true to color but
Saturn did not appear blue to the eye.


March 31, 2012. Earth Hour at Oualie Beach

A few weeks later--April 17-12--during our continued planet viewing, Lee and I attended the first public Earth Hour gathering here in Nevis, a sister island in the Federation of St. Kitts-Nevis, which gave our smallest country in the Western Hemisphere the honor of being the first country in the Caribbean to honor Earth Hour. The small, hastily organized, loose-knit and diversified gathering was on the north side of the island offering a different backdrop for the planets, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and lately Saturn that Lee and I have been viewing nightly for over a month.

That evening from Oualie Beach, the stage was an intense violet-blue sky surrounding a boat-moored pier and our sister island St. Kitts beyond to the right. The stage for the planets’ descent with Venus now on top, fainter Jupiter to the left below and small but bright red Mars still straight overhead. The celebration of Earth Hour on Nevis added another dimension to my celestial experience.

Following the presentation about Earth Hour, I was spontaneously asked to share my experience with those present of my viewing our sibling planets after I had again observed their nightly descent below the horizon and nocturnal descent beyond the sea.

Later on the ride home, with a crisp, clear star-studded sky above, a thought that had hazily swirled in my conscience for a while now emerged in form. I realized that what force had created our ever expanding universe with stars seemingly fixed in relation to one another, we on planet earth along with our sibling planets were not fixed in our journey with one another, but each planet traveled its our own unique ecliptic orbit at a differing pace. The drift of the continents, division between night and day, specific and reliable opposite summer and winter solstice and the equality of the spring and autumn equinox had also been established. Yet, there were no demarcations, boundaries or lines dissecting, separating and dividing us human beings. We were and always have been one human race and our communal home is Mother Earth. It is we humans--men and women--who have created the universal divisiveness of villages, cities, states, provinces, countries, religions, sects, political parties, sexual preference, races, ages and all of the other barriers and labels that promote division and separation among us. We have become so focused on the exclusive “I” that we have lost the inclusive we. Without inclusion of “we”, how can we ever achieve the greater good for the greater number?

I often imagine if other life forms from outer space viewed us from afar, would they not see us as one human race in various forms rather than the entire spectrum of sub-divisions which we have created to separate ourselves from one another. Let’s hope one day we will also view what we each are, first and foremost and always, each a unique individual connected with all in our human race.

It became obvious that this planet observation and sharing was a gift of time and place and were the first gift of the universe during Lee’s and my 50th Anniversary Season. Shortly after, a dear Nevisian friend and her husband hosted Lee and I to a lovely, intimate dinner of fellowship, warmth and delicious home cooked local food. As we shared a final toast, before planet and Nevis Peak viewing from their beautiful and always abundant garden in their mountain home, Lee commented, “This is the first event of our 50th Anniversary Season” and I thought the opening book-end of events yet to unfold.

Along with 50th Anniversary Season declaration in the email from a friend, the words “no chores” also had popped off the screen. With Passover approaching in Nevis, unless we went off island, I would be doing all the cooking as we have had Passover in our home since we moved to Nevis in 1999. The conversation with our local friends is always moving, insightful, profound and fun. Our Nevisan friends’ ancestors into former slavery began in Nevis about 300 years ago while Lee’s and my Jewish ancestors’ journey into slavery about 3,000 years ago. But slavery is slavery in all its heinousness, cruel abusive and inhumane injustice. Last year two of our American ex-pat friends, a couple whose home we had leased while we were building in 1999 joined us for Passover and her recent discovery lead to an even more enriching conversation. The wife had discovered after her Mother’s death that she was Jewish.

So with no chores in mind, I made plans to go to Saint Martin for five days to celebrate our magic 50th anniversary. We stayed at our of my favorite all time hotels, The Beach Plaza, a modest hotel with beautiful views, pool, a three story atrium lobby and lovely energy all around. We have stayed there four times and it always feels good. This year we attended our first Chabad Sedar which was interesting, geared to the youth and enjoyed a savory Caribbean flavored Passover meal with people from Canada and Australia. While in Saint Martin, our children treated us to a beautiful dinner at the Samara Resort with the sky unfolding and creating a magnificent masterpiece.

Below are photos and some of the rainbow and clouds that greeted us early in the morning, magnificent sunset which unfolded before us during our dinner and the sun casting its last peach/mauve rays on the islands as we flew home the next day.


April 7, 2012. View
through a patio circle.


April 8, 2012. Our 50th
anniversary and the cloud ray
cast on the sea.


April 8, 2012. An early morning
rainbow welcomes the day.



April 8, 2012. The beautiful
hues in the sky and reflected
in the sea as we sat down for
dinner.


April 8, 2012. The
continued unfolding of
magnificent hues.


April 9, 2012. The dusk
sky in flight returning to
Nevis.


I have always felt that the sky is God’s canvas on which at dusks his/her gifts in hues of peach, pink, mauve and gray are created in continuously flowing movement. A new gift appears each evening even if it is the dark clouds of a rain storm.

Because the document is so large with numerous photos, this ends “Gifts from the Universe, Part I.” Please continue and join me with “Gifts from the Universe, Part II” for the remainder of this remarkable, once in a lifetime journey, our trip to Europe and some very special spiritual happenings.

As always.
Love and later,
Ruth