There are things you walk past hundreds of time every day in this city, never noticing until one day when it’s an odd hour—a time of day you’ve never gone past before, and things look different. This happened tonight after therapy, when I walked down Seventh Ave. to grab dinner at Starbucks (their protein bistro box has been a meal for me more times than I can count) and came across this newsstand. I’ve passed it probably 500 hundred times in the past two years…but somehow I’ve never realized it was strewn with graffiti (or that it closed by 9pm, for that matter).
Now that the weather is getting nicer, I’ll be walking more…and this makes me happy. For some time now—since the early days after Jack died—walking has been a way for me to clear my head, gather my thoughts, gain some perspective about things without even trying. Simply by wandering, no set destination in mind, I’m able to focus on putting one foot in front of the other, noticing only what’s in front of me: the scenery, the opportunities for pictures that will remind me of my late-night (or mid-day, or early-morning) walks, the passing streets and avenues and taxicabs and fellow travelers on their own mindless wanderings.
One day this year I’ll finally walk home from work: it will take a while, I know, from Tribeca to Washington Heights. But it’s possible, and on the right sort of day with the right kind of footwear and preparation, it will be something I won’t soon forget…and a special sort of accomplishment, walking nearly the length of Manhattan, from one corner of my life (work) to another (home). Surely I’ll sleep well that night.
I’m grateful I moved to a city in which walking is not only accepted but embraced. Because I’m a good walker: steady, speedy, and with a sense of purpose but also with an awareness of when it’s necessary to slow down. I don’t quite know when I learned to enjoy it so much, actually, but I’m glad I have. Because if I didn’t have walking to clear my mind, I do believe I’d go a little batty.