nature writing part 3 (city night)
Posted February 4th, 2018 by Swallowtail
in new york/massachusetts
Leave at night, when the streetlights glow orange and everything seems louder. Better yet, leave on a night when the wind is cold and strong, and sends old weather worn grocery bags spinning into the air like faded ghosts. Leave with a friend who will run crashing down city streets with you, laughing. Before you leave, be sure that it is too late for state workers and too windy for skateboarders. Leave quickly and be certain to close the heavy door fully. Try to leave as the cathedral bells strike time, since this will scare the crows up and for a moment, the sky will be full of dark noise and music. Cut across the street to the tall spires as soon as you can, so as to avoid the walk signal that never changes. Don’t worry about cars- they’re slowing down anyway. Don’t go up the narrow dark alley between the raised parking lot and cathedral- this is only for returning. Instead, round the corner and face the wind. It screams under the tunnel and down this road, roaring to the tangle of highway ramps and the river. Continue up this road until the straight path seems boring and unnecessary. Then, wait for a break in traffic and dash across the street. If your friend does this first, follow laughing. Run to the corner and up the flight of marble stairs. Take them two at a time, since they’re laughably short but long. Count them if you’d like- there’s twenty four. At the top, go to the powerfully humming lights immediately. The light is tangible here, so hold your hands over it and feel the light shooting into them, warming them. Don’t go to the overlook just yet. Instead sit on the smooth marble at the edge of the reflecting pools and watch the ducks. Dip paper in them if you brought it and watch the water stain it darker with every second. If it’s winter and they are empty, this is even better. Jump down into the shallow pools and wander around, finding different ways to get from arbitrary point to arbitrary point without stepping in the water that puddles in dips. Laugh when the blue painted metal buckles under you and clunks back into place as you step off. Go to the sculpture in the middle and sit on one of the concrete supports, looking up through twisted black to the light stained sky. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal, but still don’t let the state police see you. Now go to the overlook, where the wind is strong and it grabs at everything. Think about the people who walk in tunnels under your feet and the cars rushing even farther down. Glimmering orange lights spread into the sky in spaced out rows down to the river, where more lights reflect onto the water from far away. Cars on the ramps have orderly lines of red and white, leaving and arriving. Ignore the signs that warn you against leaning on the wall, instead climb up onto it and look over the edge. It’s two feet wide, you won’t fall. Here, you can see the moon by the spires of the cathedral, the boats floating gently on the river, moored to the docks, the people walking with lowered eyes many yards below you, the rumbling cars filled with humans, each one with a family, a life, a purpose. Here, you can see a tiny portion of the world that seems infinite.
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