The Energy of New York

I used to live here, many moons ago. And when I did, I bustled to work on two busses or two subways, wearing my sneakers on the commute and stuffing my heels in a bag.

There were things I loved about New York and things I hated. I loved the constant energy, the air of possibility, the frenetic activity, the lively creative community. Any night, any day, I could meet up with writers, attend a poetry reading, take part in a workshop.

It is a city of people in which you can be utterly anonymous. It is a city of magazines and publishing and ideas and results. And it is a city where I saw a man sleeping in broad daylight on a subway grate, curled up against a storefront.

New York is so many things to so many people. I landed yesterday, in awe of the way the plane wings over water to land smoothly at LaGuardia. I never tire of that view.

I choked back nausea in stop-start traffic from the airport to the city. I endured a cold shower this morning since I’m staying on the 18th floor and, as someone at registration explained, hot water has a hard time traveling up.

I met a long-time friend and mentor for breakfast near the Flatiron building, where the menu featured organic yogurt and calorie-counts and delicious coffee.

The sun was shining strong over the city this morning, and I walked from breakfast up Madison Avenue, the flowers in Madison Square Park abloom in pinks and whites. The air is light with possibility and warmth.

Yesterday, I walked 30 blocks from my hotel to the Upper East Side to meet my cousin for dinner. New York gives you the opportunity to cover much terrain by foot and notice the details as you do so. I walked because I gave myself the gift of time to explore and discover, to duck into shops and stop for a drink at a food cart and wait for lights to change, just taking it all in.

As with everything, there is good and there is bad with city life. Same goes for Midwest suburbia. All I know is that the place you’re in cradles you as much as you let it. You can see noise and busy-ness and congestion and alone-ness. And you can see humanity and achievement and creativity and compassion.

It all depends on how you choose to look at life. I am grateful for the opportunity to discover new places and new angles of old places. I’ll never tire of it. For the whole point of this journey that is life is to continually discover what is unknown about ourselves and use that to make the world a better place.

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