Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Delicate Balance of the Skyline

Sometimes I feel so excited about the future, and sometimes I feel absolutely terrified because I don't know if I'm making the right steps to achieve my desired end. It's so easy to feel like a failure, similarly easy to feel, temporarily, like a success, and so common to confuse the things that constitute actual happiness. There are times when your creations become like living extensions of your being, creatures that need to be coddled and groomed, looked after and evaluated. Measuring healthy growth and development is an abstract and arduous process, often resulting in a severe form of tension, which rests just between the shoulders.

But then there are times when it's easy to shed that sense of self-importance and confused priorities. This evening I was crossing the Queensborough Bridge, a journey which, at night, affords the most fantastic view of New York City. In that moment I recalled a thought that often clouds my mind-that the skyline is such a delicate balance. Trains, nightclubs, school systems: trust in these common commodities requres a blind faith that there is somebody at any given stage who is willing to fill the necessary occupational roles. If a train breaks down, somebody must know how to fix it; eventually the people who contain the intial, primary knowledge die off, and a new generation must inherit that reponsibility. We always trust that somebody is in control, that somebody can be depended on, and so it goes that the fabric of daily operation is so fragile, and if one role were to suddenly become universally undesirable, perhaps a small piece of that fabric would die, creating an eventual domino-effect deconstruction.

But who knows, perhaps society moves forward and the very chemical composition of the fabric morphs and adapts? I certainly hope so. I guess the point is that, in moments like this, we are required to remember that we all depend on each other, but there are always vast inequalities, and thus the world is thrust into a permanent cycle of sacrifice, loss, hope, and resignation. As Cassie (who I was heading to meet) confirmed, when we look at the skyline we think of it as a beautiful vast thing, a single object, by which we are preparing to be consumed. Rarely do we consider that we are actual constituents in its composition- things go on inside the skyline; we are part of its electricity. It and Us are essentially the same organism.

This evening, as I was heading over the aforementioned bridge, I thought to myself, "I am trying the best I can, and I am so lucky to be seeing this beautiful city, and to be melding with its kinetic force." And for a moment, I exhaled, smiled, lost the tension in my shoulders, and felt really young again.

I finally reached Wes(a friend I know through Cassie)'s house for a little photo shoot, consisting of Cassie, Anthony, Wes, and myself. Upon arrival, I shed my coat, sunk into a glass of whisky, and instantly began to feel a kind of relaxed warmth I haven't felt in quite some time. Occasionally, it's important to let go, reach out, and rediscover what is so good about letting human congress rush over you like warm water over tired muscles.

Wes Mann's Photography can be found here: