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Submitted by Meredith Arena on Wed, 7/11/2012, 2:00pm
I am feeling moved to respond to Kimberly Brown's piece about the experience of going to the Berkshires for a summer trip and coming back to New York City. THAT exact moment of returning to the city -- beautifully described in Ethan's novella -- is one of my favorite things about New York in the summer. Those moments of waiting for the Metro North "upstate," knowing that you are in the last few moments of your weekend away, knowing that you will soon be in a noisy metal car, surrounded by people who did not spend the weekend meditating under trees or making out in canoes. I live for that painfully beautiful moment. Maybe you take a picture. Maybe you are nursing a hangover. Maybe you are dreading going to work the next day.
Whatever it is, it is ALIVE.
And then you are there in Grand Central or there in Penn Station, waiting on a platform. You feel slightly misplaced, even though you have lived in the city your entire life. You hope that people don't think you are just visiting. You want them to know that you are in YOUR city, but also you carry a "glow," at least internally, because you watched the sunset on a lake (which you can do in Prospect Park btw), or you luxuriated in some sort of priceless indescribable thing that you do when you go to the "country." You also wish for that "glow" to remain. You probably have to stand for most of the subway ride back to Brooklyn, and you don't care.
And this is really ALIVE.
As you unlock your door, the heat of your apartment slaps your skin. You open your windows. You maybe take out some rock or leaf you collected as a way to hold on. You put it on a little shelf. You open a beer. The sun isn't setting yet. You are SO wonderfully in between who you are, who you were, and who you will be. You take a walk, everything seems super chill. You have a different perspective on the hoards of people on Flatbush Avenue
At these moments I was always glad to live in the city. Sure I fantasized about escaping ... and I did, to Seattle. But this thing, this returning to the noisy metal car and the hot apartment and especially the way we know how to be together in NYC, is something I was missing this week. So thanks for lighting up this memory and giving me something to blog about.
The reason we don't crawl away into a cabin in the woods is, first, we suck at using an ax, and second, because there is no escape. Being around others reminds us to be humble, fearful, glowingly confident, assertive, meek, or lovely -- all in appropriate proportions. And I feel grateful to be fortunate enough to be able to travel in this lifetime, and I hope I am of use to other beings wherever I go.
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