Still point in a turning world: NYC

This doesn't need any explanation
This doesn’t need any explanation

There is nothing I can say about New York City that hasn’t been said a million times. There is no story I can tell of this place that hasn’t been told and retold by countless others. But every iteration, every telling of these stories builds upon the words and thoughts of every other. They cannot exist independently from the aggregate whole.

As the art of Oliver Laric reminded me today, in the telling and retelling of such stories, people reveal not so much about actual events as about themselves. Every truth reinforces a repetitive illusion; every lie creates an alternate universe in which that lie is true. This endless intertwining of stories — and of selves —  is how I become overwhelmed in a place such as New York City. Adrift in a sea of humanity.

But I do not shy away from being so lost. I embrace it. I fling myself headlong into the teeming masses, the human machinery of urban existence. Continue reading

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Silvery edges: Maine

At the edge of consciousness
Where the lines they start to fade
Where the spirit goes undressed
Of all malice and brocade
At the edges, silvery edges
Where the mirror it bends and stretches
Past the edges of this world
Where the waters crash and curl

-David Gray, “Davey Jones’ Locker”

Birch Point Beach.
Birch Point Beach.

There is a power of place that transcends memory, time and logic. Smells, sounds, and shimmering moments of déjà vu conspire to transport our consciousness somewhere familiar, yet somehow altogether strange. For me, Maine is one of those places.

Situated so close to the mega-metropolis of the Northeast (only a few hours’ drive from Boston), it’s startling how tranquil Maine can be. The landscape, in summer, is quite picturesque: rolling green fields, dense woodlands, and winding rural roads. Homesteads and mansions alike pepper the coastal towns, lending a decidedly domesticated atmosphere to the region. I am accustomed to the rugged, gaping expanses of the West and, in comparison, coastal Maine does not feel at all wild. Even when a moose or a fisher can be spotted, or a giant snapping turtle crosses your path, it feels somehow… tamed. Compromised. It’s almost as though these creatures are intentionally making an appearance. As though they have agreed to participate in this quaint scene.

Even the Atlantic ocean here is subdued, its power diffused by the myriad islands and peninsulas, tiny wavelets curling over your feet almost imperceptibly on the beach. Indeed, a far cry from the thundering surf of the Pacific.
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