On March 10 Eastern Daylight Savings Time began here on the east coast. This is the time of year when more daylight is the signal that winter is over. One season ends and another begins.

With each passing season we have the chance to start all over again. It’s like having New Year’s Eve 4 times a year. I don’t make any resolutions at these times of the year but I do look forward to the new beginnings.

It’s nice to be able to put away those heavy coats, gloves and thick hats. I really enjoy being able to walk around this great city without the burden of the extra weight. It’s also especially nice to sit on the park or sidewalk benches and people watch.

This winter was not as severe as has been the in the past. We only had a couple of events with heavy snow fall. The snow came and went so fast that if you didn’t pay attention you may not have known that it snowed at all. The quick cleanup was due to the warm winter temperature.

Do you remember the blizzard that hit this area in December, 2010? That was one to remember. It was one of the few times that the whole city was seriously affected. In fact that snow storm shut down the whole city. Everything was affected. This included the famous NYC Transit system. You don’t have to search long to find many pictures of busses stuck in the snow. In fact there was so much snow there were many cars and trucks also stuck with no place to go.

Another storm that seriously affected the east coast was Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  This was a category 3 storm that wreaked havoc all along the coastlines that surround the city. Although this was not a winter storm its effect is very fresh in the minds of many.

New York City has a large homeless population. The winter time is when you can see the immenseness of this problem. It’s not uncommon to see people sleeping almost anywhere to get out of the cold. It seems that most take refuge in the subways and on the subway platforms. There are also those who choose to rest out in the public as opposed to seeking shelter inside.

NYC is known for its beautiful buildings. The architecture on some of these structures is breath taking. I really enjoy looking at the beauty of many of the churches that are located in the city.

Along with the beauty of these places of worship some of these places have also become the sleeping places for the homeless. It is a regular site to see these steps stacked with blankets and cardboard. Most times there are people under those stacks of blankets. If you stand there long enough you may verify it when you see the blankets move. We all know it is impossible for any of us to sleep without some movement.

Some of the homeless suffer from serious mental issues. There are others who are simply on the wrong side of some tragic event.

As I stated earlier this past winter wasn’t that bad. There were though a few days when the temperature was very low. In fact on those days the city issued warnings to all us that it would be dangerous to spend large amounts of time exposed to these low numbers.

On one of those days I was walking by a synagogue. I pass this building regularly and on the steps there was that usual site of stacked blankets. Also in sight there was a shopping cart filed to the brim with what I assume were this person’s life possessions.

I had to stop. I looked to see if there was any movement under those blankets, I saw nothing and I was torn whether to leave him/her alone or should I call for help. It was really cold. I had three layers of clothes on and it didn’t seem like it was enough. I on many occasions try to help when I can but it has been my experience that some homeless get very irate when disturbed while sleeping. It is my understanding that most in this lifestyle don’t sleep every day like most of us. Many may be up for many days before their bodies just shut down for lack of sleep.

I chose to walk away but that sight stayed on my mind. After an hour or so I returned to that synagogue. To my surprise the blankets were folded up nice and neat. It was also a surprise that there wasn’t one person under those blankets. There were two. There was a man and a woman.

They were not paying attention to me at all. They had no idea about how concerned I was about them. They were sharing a cigarette and when I looked around them all of their stuff was packed up in a second shopping cart that I didn’t see earlier.

What made this scene so amazing was that not only did they seem not affected by the cold but the man was sweeping up the area they were sleeping on. Wow.

This experience only lasted a few minutes. My feeling of concern went to a feeling of admiration for this couple. There is no way I could have slept as calmly as they did on one of the coldest days in the winter.

I was very relieved to see that they were alright.

I also began to ask myself if I had to could do what they did. I answered myself quickly with if I had to, I guess I would.

In that short time I went from feeling concerned to having admiration to experiencing a real sense of gratitude.

My kids and I had a warm place to sleep and food to eat last night. We look at the weather report to see how we will dress for the day. It’s a blessing that we don’t have to let the weather determine whether we sleep inside or outside.

I have real gratitude.

In January, 2013 there were 50,100 homeless people in the municipal shelter system in NYC. This includes 12,000 families with 21,000 children. This number is 61% higher than in 2002.

We should not forget the homeless.

I’m the guy whose glass is always ½ full.


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