I walked along the west side of Greenpoint yesterday afternoon in the fading sun and the colors thrown up by the snow against the bluest sky filled me with a kind of enduring joy.
Central Park yesterday morning was frozen and treacherous and filled with snow and felled trees (and the crews to take them away). But walking through the branches that blocked my path, I though only of that series of questions from Virginia Woolf:
“Am I here, or am I there? Or is the true self neither this nor that, neither here nor there, but something so varied and wandering that it is only when we give rein to its wishes and let it take its way unimpeded that we are indeed ourselves?”
To walk with wet feet in the damaged park on a Sunday morning before converging with a group of familiar faces is to understand how not be cold and to be aware of the upcoming winter and be unafraid.
I ran to beat the snowplows and signs of civilization yesterday morning, rising at 6:30am and making my way at a rapid trudge to Lookout Hill. When I arrived, covered in snow from my brown woolen hat to my shoes, I was the first to ascend the stairs in what was just the beginning of the inconvenient blizzard of February, 2010. I suppose it will come as no surprise to learn that what I found on top of that small rise was a revelation: every branch, twig, and leaf was snow-laden, and the scene was so dense that it was overwhelming in temperament and feel. I was overcome with a response to the experience of standing in such a mutable and tactile landscape. I felt invisible and undone, and I smiled wildly at a small red cardinal, the only other witness to that strangely affecting, temporary, place. I felt as if I existed in a muffled world.
Later, in the evening, I boarded the B63 home after an unexpected meeting with a dear friend from far away. And then, as if a graceful figure in some obscure industrial ballet, our bus, all at once, serenely careened across the road and became inextricably lodged in a snowbank. Taking to the street, I walked the rest of my way, growing ever-colder but no less sustained by the lumbering of people and machines.
Not to use this forum as a place to air news of my aches and pains, but I feel something is wrong with me, running-wise. So, I’ve been taking it easy this week, and all my runs have been rather slow, plodding affairs. No matter. I will persevere, I am sure. Of course, this also means that that the voice expressed here — that strange failed Romantic painter who seems to dictate my odes to the false nature of Brooklyn, Virginia, and beyond — has fallen silent.
Also, I don’t know. The park is dead these days. I can’t figure it out. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of the tilt of the earth can explain why the sunrise in December was such an amazing thing — light springing forth from the endless miles of Brooklyn stretching out towards the sea — and this month, the sunrise is an afterthought that follows a long, grating, lightening of the sky.
Ah! What’s this? It appears to be snowing outside. This is a good omen, I hope. I believe Morningside Park will be lovely, and I must be going.