Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Homecoming of Sorts

Last Wednesday afternoon, my flight landed at New York's LaGuardia airport.  The days leading up to the trip had been hellatious since I was having to put all of my things into storage.  It was sad to have to pack up all my Pueblo pots and art collection to make the journey eastward from New Mexico. For the first time, the path chose me instead of the other way around.

This is the third time I am returning to New York City.  The first was in 2003, then again in 2005.  From my first arrival in the Big Apple in 1997 at the age of 27, I always felt like an outsider.  Let me correct that...I knew I was an outsider, but like all people who give New York a shot, wait it out and find relative success, I found my way.  In spite of of the ten plus years I spent in the City, my successes never seemed successful enough, so I left.

As a six-month-old baby, I was put up for adoption.  From childhood on I always felt a disconnect with history.  In front of me (in my mind's eye) was blackness and then a line that started with me. I figured I was the one that had to make the line great since there was no one behind me.  I'm childless, so there is no one after me either.  So, there I was standing alone in "line" waiting to see where I would go next. 

Late last year, I found my biological family.  While I was thrilled to find out that I have a number of cool nieces and nephews and was able to begin having friendships with my biological half-sisters, I was more excited to find out the family history, which made the brown and brittle pages of old biographies come alive for me.  As it turns out, not only do I descend from royalty and nobility, once in the New World, my ancestors were East Coasters, many of whom settled in the New York area in Pre-Revolutionary years.   These family members became very prominent citizens with links to Presidents and high-ranking officials.  My adoptive mother even discovered on that one of my ancestors settled in Flushing, New York in the 1700s. This is ironic because I too settled there both times I lived in the City.

So, on Wednesday, as we landed, I took in the brownstones below and the skyline on the far horizon and realized that this arrival in New York is a homecoming of sorts.  While I have been previously successful, I feel that the horizon I saw out of that tiny portal holds something even more unimaginable for me.  Feeling filled up full, suddenly, the blackness is light and the players take their places for a new drama to unfold.


CBJ said...


Sorry to see you're leaving NM. I really enjoyed your insightful interviews with Native American artists. All the best in NY.

CBJ from Hays, Kansas

CBJ said...

Paul: I've always enjoyed your blog, especially your insightful interviews with Native American artists. Sorry you're leaving NM, but all the best in NY.

Paul Niemi said...

CBJ...I'm hoping that this move will help me connect with other artists on the East Coast and help me build a stronger awareness of pueblo art here through other channels in which I work. My blog started in NYC in 2008 so I feel it is fitting that it come full circle. Thanks for your support!