Thursday, December 3, 2015

sunrise and moonset

Even in his

Absence, I
Revolve in my
Sheath of impossibles
--Purdah, Sylvia Plath

As morning breaks, I look to the tops of the pine trees, turning from black to faded green in the dusky periwinkle pre-dawn sky.
I see the moon, glowing, disappear behind the trees.

As morning breaks, I see the sunlight, the pink fingers of dawn, liquid from rising above the East River, reflect on the warm bricks of the Harlem town-homes and the mirror of the high rise apartment building on 5th Avenue.

The sun hits the train tracks, and I suddenly notice that there are trees growing out of  the stone walls that support the elevated tracks. Trees. Not just branches or weeds, but entire trees.

They make me think of the tree that my dad would always try to trim, right outside our kitchen window. He would lop off branches constantly, in an effort to tame the wilderness. But it kept blooming new branches constantly. It looked almost comical: this old, ragged stump of a tree who kept insistently bursting with new life.

The trees that grow in the train track walls are my New York.

My New York is Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters. It is the peace of the tip of the island, and the bustle of actual living creatures snuffling through the park greenery.

My New York is sunset in Washington Heights, opposite the Jersey cliffs. It is a view of the George Washington bridge, a safe distance from all that traffic.

My New York is the quiet moment between when you sight the headlights of the train down the subway tunnel, and when the engine roars into the station. It's a moment of silence, filled with wind. It's the sweet burst of motion on your face in the stagnant subway air.

My New York is Christopher Street after twilight. It's the candelabra lighting elegant sofas, glimpses of bookshelves through the brownstone bay windows, and a fireplace inside a mansion I spy on my walk back home. My New York is wide brown front porches with smooth stone, like wedding cake icing.

My New York is the Met in the morning, before the crowds arrive, before the Halal food vendors and the hot dog hawkers have set up shop. When the only movement is my feet on the pavement, the fountains silently trickling water, and the sunrise creeping upwards, slithering up the side of the building, like morning glory creepers.

My New York is Marcus Garvey park in autumn, Carl Schurz Park in the summer, and the warm entryway between the inner and the outer doorway of my home in winter. It's tiny, cowboy-style Catholicism, and redoubtable abuelitas on their kneelers. It's great danes at the Great Meadow, and the hidden statue of Jeanne D'Arc in Riverside Park. It's a soulless daisy-colored bakery with prepackaged black-and-white cookies. That is My New York.

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