New York, New York, no denying its a dense thicket of human and infrastructural networking nestled in veneer of steel, tile, concrete, and glass. One can easily feel submerged in its structural grandeur, its art deco apartment buildings, staircases into the swampy depths of the subway, plated cars pushing a foreshadowing wind through the hair of scattered denizens waiting to be lost again in the motion of crowded progression towards some omega point of hidden comfort awaiting in a box somewhere in a ubiquitous, guarded gray unmarked building.
As a child of California now swimming through the tidal press of NYC, it can at times be an alien, out-of-body experience, to find myself carried along forward into some frontal lobed consciousness of the masses, dimly lit intuitive corridors of the citied species, swaying pendulous through the streets with a chip on my shoulder. But here am I, finding my way, learning how I must perform when the chance opportunity is flittingly opened, to dive heedless headfirst into the fray without hesitation, after eons of pent-up waiting.
Rats will be seen rocketing quietly about from the corner of your eyes, they move quickly through the background landscape of your conversations with a see-sawing motion of their bodies, unmistakably unbalanced yet somehow poised, self-confidant, that dastardly eternal persistence inherent in their step. Also now, during the summer months, fireflies will fleetingly appear in flashing arcs against the dusk, a magical sight to someone wholly unaccustomed to them. I feel like a child every time I witness them dancing their temporal and unintelligible flights in the onset of another humid summer night.
And that’s another thing foreign and alarming to me: the humidity, the heat. The sweat puddling down my back as I sit in the apartment. The unexpected flashes of lightning and rolling thunder, a catharsis of rain, almost immodest in its passion and hurried release. The other day I was caught in an inopportune downpour that began innocently with a mild drizzling, proceeding thence into ponderous heavy drops, still spaced enough that one could pretend to hide beneath a tree, then suddenly twisted into a literal outpouring of liquid sheets from the heavens. Without any cover, it became quickly apparent that it was useless to try to deny it. I was soon soaked completely, and my contacts were beginning to slide down my eyeballs. And then it began to rain yet harder, against all understanding or belief, it came down like something known only through hearsay, like tales of monsoons, hitting the concrete so hard it almost came back up. I then wandered about through a Whole Foods, dribbling puddles of water everywhere.
Another thing is the mosquitoes. I am hoping that it is possible to develop some kind of immunity after some time, as so far when I venture into the park across the street, I get bit an average of 7 times, each one swelling up to a half-dollar size and itching like beejesus. I am frequently struck, when the temperature is 90 degrees or higher outside and the humidity is thick, by the sense that I am in the Amazon jungle.
I am now honing in on a job, wending my way through 2nd rounds of interviews to see which offer might hopefully be made, which path my life will take. It has been a process fraught with depression, stress, and the sheer inertia of despair, but the sense of change stirs somewhere in the air, like the firefly flashing its silent message of joy. Or is it warning? The channel runs ever onward, and the decisions I can make at this point are only responsive; I am at the mercy of the flow.
There are certainly moments too many to count when I realize that the city is welcoming and even forgiving beneath its exterior shell of aggression and constant movement. It is like how I learned to look at hiking down boulders and rocks when in Tahoe: the rocks look hard, and they certainly can be hard and perhaps fatal if mistakes are made and they are taken for granted. But if you look at them like something soft, something pliable that you can trust, they will support you, they will be as supportive as pillows to your knees. You can run like water along their points. Giving everything to every step, your weight presses the rocks down into balance, even when they shift, you move with them. So as with rocks it is with the city. Running with its appearance, trusting in its integrity, it supports you and moves you forward.