I don’t know where the ducks in Central Park go when it’s winter. But I do remember the first time I read The Catcher in the Rye, being just as concerned as Holden was as to their whereabouts — the fish and the turtles, too. Either way they are proof that some disappearing acts are only temporary, because once the ice has melted, they come back to us.
I thought of them yesterday when I went to the Museum of Natural History and gazed at the life-like displays. It’s a tradition for me to go there every time I’m about to leave New York City for an extended period of time. For literary and sentimental reasons, I need to see the displays that are unchanged although I have changed. I also need to see the sperm whale and gigantic squid diorama so I can remind myself that what’s scary and painful now, won’t be once enough time has passed and I’ve misplaced it in my memory. To quote Fitzgerald: “Forgotten is forgiven.”
Unfortunately for me, my memory is very long.
“Normal Song” by Perfume Genius:
Comfort the girl
Help her understand
No matter how sad
And no violence
No matter how bad
Can darken the heart
Or tear it apart