Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The planes wizz by the concrete canyon. Fireworks of light fill the senses, flooding the pupils so much that the wetness spills out onto the shiny cement, dripping into the cracked sidewalks. The wetness stays a while in the cracks, waiting for the collection of glitter to be picked up by the soles of the passerbys. The glitter is hot and it's sticky. It's sweat pouring out of hard working people. It's oil, wet and slick from the manufactured pretty things. Constant pigments enter the database of the mind with few computing: the couple drinking ginger ale, the lottery ticket on the ground, the tiny dog being carefully maneuvered beside the passerbys, almost devoured by the trampling commuters. The dandelions stop growing to make way for the parking meters and stop lights. The clouds rendezvous around the tallest buildings, planning their next set of attacks, ensuring that the old woman remembered that umbrella she has had for ages. Wisps of wind push the smell of gyro into my nostrils as I feel the rumbling of the earth beneath my feet. Everything is fast and jaunted. I feel like a bee trapped under a glass. It's frightening and it's big but it's beautiful.

I was in New York City last weekend for a day trip. I'm always awe-struck by the presence of the city. It truly devours every sense and feels the mind with so many scenarios and so many stories. I went to see Hamlet with Jude Law with my friend, Niccolo. It was a great performance by a classically-trained actor. The stage was primed with pristine architecture, each set piece meticulously placed. Jude Law stole the show. He was keen in his betrayal, although at times he took the words of the play too literally. Polonius was also one of my favorite characters, his timing was impeccable and his charm deceitful. Beside going to the theatre, we were able to ascend to the top of the Rockefeller building where the birds didn't even dare to fly. The view was breath-taking. The Empire State Building was first to greet us as we got off the elevator onto the 67th floor. There lives such wonder in this city. I'm not sure where to place it. I think it's the grandeur of it all, of knowing I'm somewhere big and meaningful. I took deep breaths of the Autumn sky. The leaves of central park were vibrant oranges and reds. I dove right into the feeling of warmth as the city embraced me from below.

This was my fifth visit to the city. It had also been my first visit in Autumn, which now completed my seasonal catalogue of seeing New York in all forms, whether it be Spring, Winter, Fall or Summer. I remember going for my first time in 2005 with my High School Madrigal Choir. I was young and had only heard tales of the great city. Once I arrived, the city absolutely encompassed me. It grew over me like weeds, each cement structure pulling me in to take a closer look. It was all new and it was all wonderful. I like to imagine that New York was the first time I realized I can do this. This being life's big step forward after High School. I remember walking down the streets of New York by myself, although I was advised to always stay with my chaperone, but I was ready to move out and explore so I did just that. I walked the streets of Manhattan and nobody knew my name and nobody cared if I got lost and it felt like possibility existed around each corner. I was able to just be in this place, to just live as an individual without a destination. It's a bit crazy to think that this gave me confidence in life, but it did. I wanted to venture more on my own, discover the complexities of life on my own, and traveling to New York gave me that confidence. I think it was NYC that gave me the notion of exploration and worldly pursuit that I seek today. Venturing this little blue dot one step at a time and being okay with what the next step entails, because a new journey is hidden everywhere. The sky seems limitless and nobody knows my name.

I was a different person in 2005. My self-confidence was dodgy, my ability to trust lagged and my pain was hidden. In my youth, I found that New York was able to accept all that, because it was so large it consumed the insecurities I found in myself and exposed an open canvas of exploration. Sure, I was young and I didn't understand my self but I think I began to see that the future held great things. I've been through a lot of things since that early trip in New York. I've experienced a lot of life. Going back to New York always gives me that same feeling and it seems I'm more confident in my character after each visit. Being in the heated independence of the city gives me the comfort that I can be confident in my self as an individual. I'd like to meet this 2005-version of myself and tell him I have great things ahead. Some things will hurt and the road will be rough, but it's all worth it. Saying, "This journey doesn't last forever, so take hold and dream on. No regrets"

Sometimes I forget that lights have a way of talking to me. The neon buzzing shouts at me from all directions. "Buy me". "Eat this". "Vindicate that". The fluorescent light waits patiently inside a bedside lamp waiting for me to arrive home safely. The sun gives me words of inspiration and the moon sings me softly to sleep. New York brings light. The bulb shines brighter.

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