I made this 360 degree rooftop panorama atop my East Village tenement while sharing the metropolis with visiting Atlanta friend Kent Baker on April 25, 2008. I always try to slow life to a reflective idle whenever we are graced with a rapturously glorious Gotham day like this one, which thankfully arrive with some regularity in this city of my birth. Now 18 years on in my adult Manhattan tenure, 16 of those at this address, and with the two largest urban landmarks* we had when I arrived here now stricken forever from view, I've grow to find an ever greater appreciation for the priceless, ageless beauty of such exquisite days.
In moments like these, the multifarious thoughts and sensory synapses of my conscious mind can harmonize with and become suffused by a marrow-deep sense of rightness and satisfaction of place when I pause to recognize where I am in space and time. "The world spins and I'm part of it," a favorite band once sang. Call it epiphany, the edifying bliss that attends a moment when our most divine humanity grants us contemporaneous self-generation and reception of some wisdom of the ages, an echo of our preverbal forebears so vital or universal that our DNA has couriered it across millennia so each of us might trigger and apply it as needed, and thereafter find amusement in the obviousness and inevitability of that new understanding or perspective.
OK, so maybe I give a beautiful day a lot of credit, but then again one thing that experience rather than instinct has taught me in our information-saddled, mood-mangled mess of a civilization is that an earnest pause to reflect and pursue clarity is always time well spent, and any concerted effort to accurately and engagingly share such resonant experiences only multiplies that value because in speaking up we run the risk of transforming our whole species, and our whole world.
In other words, why not engage in garrulous praise of a perfect sunny day in New York City? In serenity, peace is born, and it often redoubles via interpersonal transmission. My soul smiles when within or in recollection of these moments because they so often frame periods of mania or discord, which also have value but of a ridiculously individual and personal nature. For my part, there may be no greater joy than the real time perception an instant when my dynamically contrapuntal instinct & creative intellect--two primary interior wavelengths that commonly engage one another only obliquely, like samba to foxtrot-- suddenly fall into sync, coalescent in a perfect conscious/subconscious harmony, two predominating melodies synchronized, edified, and even multiplied in their mutually congruent certainty that I have absolute zero desire to be anywhere else in the world. Be here now? Me here now--always been here, always will be.
* The movie begins and ends with the camera facing approximately south-by-southwest, a view that once upon a time would have be dominated at its very heart by the World Trade Center, the twin behemoths lording their imperious banality over Lower Manhattan with a skyward reach more than twice that of most of their neighbors. It was almost absurd, the difference in scale that they embodied, and it is therefore all the more difficult to remember in my mind's their exact location or the gestalt feeling of the skyline that has been lost to its current, unspectacular evenness.
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