I love manhattan.
I love the people, the energy, the old architecture. I love the ripe smells you encounter walking down side streets, I love the battered taxis with bald tires. I love that no two people are the same, and I love that everyone has their own role to play in the incredibly complex drama that is life on this overly populated island.
I love the city lights, the hundreds of buildings that rise up to rub shoulders with their neighbors, the thousands of windows lit from within. the decorative lights on the chrysler building (my favorite building, ever and always, bar none) and on the empire state building, the simple lights that enhance the elegance of grand central station.
I can see myself, one day, living in manhattan.
and this is where I have to knock myself on the head and say, you can't have it both ways.
so then I think, well, perhaps I could just live there part time.
this morning I was glorying in the fact that an hour's ride can take me to a remote, gloriously beautiful area that fills my soul with peace and joy. I love this area, these acres of wide open land that exemplify freedom and harmony and contentedness. it is quiet, it is still. there are no artificial lights, and often, no human bodies save mine. life is full here, but it is a life with little human intervention, a simple life where plants and trees move through their life cycles and animals make their homes or travel through on their journeys.
if I lived in manhattan, an hour on a bike wouldn't get me to a spot like this.
there is a place in emigration canyon where everything changes. you've been riding for miles through this gently rising, gently winding canyon on a road shaded by trees, when suddenly there is a big U turn and the canyon opens up and the hills that rise to the summit become visible.
in the mysterious morning darkness, the hills are silhouetted, deep dark earth shoved against a slightly less deep indigo sky. stars blink, the world is silent, and the silhouettes stand strong and enduring.
there's a slight glow from the city, so far below, and as you near the top you can actually see, down through the opening of the canyon mouth, a small delta of city life and light. the glow lifts itself up and infiltrates the deep night sky that still blankets us, lending greater contrast to the silhouetted hills.
the north hillside of the canyon is dotted with a smattering of house lights, gradually increasing, as the inhabitants wake and begin their days.
and I am there, drinking in the solitude and the strength of the solemn hills that will carry me through my day.
as I reenter the city, two miles from home, the spread of city lights in front of and below me almost causes me to gasp. and it is at this point that I am reminded of manhattan. the lights, the hundreds of thousands of lives, the buildings, the busyness. though there is really no competition between the two cities, they are both in such strong contrast with the space and solitude that I have just left 15 minutes before that the comparison leaps into my mind.
I love manhattan.
and if I could have an emigration canyon two miles from my manhattan apartment, I might just make that move.