This weekend someone presented me with the idea of being ‘isolated’ and ‘sheltered’ from so much, living in New York.
Initially I was dumbfounded. Sheltered living in this wack-job of an awesome place? Isolated in a place that doesn’t have a space that isn’t connected to another place? I don’t think so.
But in an ironic way, I could see how there are some truths to this statement…
This place is so consuming. So intense and so… Itself. It makes no apologies for its flaws, it doesn’t make excuses for its ways, it doesn’t necessarily even celebrate it’s graces.
It just is. It pulses, it beats, it whirs along. And you’re along for the ride, as active or passive of a passenger as you chose to be.
There’s so much here. An embarrassment of riches, really. You just have to make it available to you with your own two hands. New York isn’t the kind of place that holds it’s hands out to you. It’ll point you along, or even open a door or two, but it doesn’t strike me as the kind of welcoming guide who will take your hand in hers, reassure you of your route, and wave goodbye at your destination, sending you off with a friendly and encouraging wink.
It is also a city of extremes.
At least once a day I remind myself to show respect to one of the many mentally unstable persons rocking himself on a street corner, by acknowledging him instead of turning away; or I have to resist the urge to shy away from a tired and hungry looking mom riding a train with her equally tired and hungry-looking child much too late at night.
And then on another day I scratch my head at the parade of orange-skinned oldies congregating at the south edge of Central Park, crisp shopping bags accompanying them in and out if their shiny black cars. I pass through stunningly picturesque streets, lined with ornate brownstones, and spilling over with shop and restaurant after shop and restaurant, little treasures waiting to be discovered.
And then the next day my kid squeals with horror/delight ( another extreme reaction) at the dead rat she sees on the road. The pretty road.
And I forget about the ‘rest’ of the world. I’m absorbed, and consumed, and overwhelmed, and inspired, and conflicted.
But all of it so immediate. And in my face. And shadowing what else might be going on ‘outside there.’
Maybe it’s all of that that can make it seem isolated, or sheltered, or removed…maybe from ‘the rest’ of the world, but certainly not from the extremes within this New York world..
Sitting at my desk today this little dude paid me a visit. 30 seconds after I took this picture a see another little buddy floating by.