Photos taken and words written in January 2019; Rochester, NY.
There was neon orange. I could tell what the sunrise would look like from another vantage, from some rich person’s home, probably. Why build on this hill and then surround the hill with trees, blocking the view? How much of a terrible human am I to be asking that? These trees are massive. They’ve been around and came about before a selfish decision to cut them down for the sake of a view could be considered. And a view of what, exactly? Buildings protecting humans from weather that would otherwise kill them. There are people out there now that are dying on the sidewalks. Someone told me that they actually count the homeless up here. Is it even possible to do so in LA? When I was working for a homeless youth care shelter, I learned that a third of the homeless in LA are underage: mostly runaways. I think that’s the difference between up here and down there.
In SoCal, people are running away from the bad weather, their broken homes, their dangerous country, harsh criticism, illegal weed and anyone telling them they have to be something or a certain way. Up here, in the northeast, people stick it out, almost stubbornly so. It’s cold? Put on another layer. Had a fight with your family or spouse? Go to the pub. Don’t like what someone said to you? Ask yourself why you don’t like it, try to apply that lesson. Or just tell them why they’re wrong and move on with your day. Someone suggests maybe you’re going down the wrong path? Find new friends, or hey, maybe they’re right. Deal with it by smoking illegal pot and just pick out the seeds.
So where’s the balance?
I get it. I get asking yourself, “Does it actually have to be this hard? Couldn’t we just go somewhere where these conditions aren’t so prevalent? Where the culture accepts fluidity and Peter Pan syndrome and acts as a beacon for lost boys who want to stay young forever?” But do you actually want to die young? Years on you but, never having grown up? Never having evolved? Never having faced the things the people in our path reflect back at us, and coming to grit decisions about who we are and why we chose to come to that conclusion? Every time I come back here, I always hope the spirit of the northeast rubs off on me in this way; so that I can enact this in a place that doesn’t cause my fingers and toes to lose their mobility. If your appendages don’t work, you lose your balance. I need them to work. I need the bite of the cold to wake me up sometimes and show me my strength. But I need for blood to still circulate to my hands and my feet, so I can stand in tree pose and not fall over. So I can grind up against a potential new lover in a goth club. So I can walk around my neighborhood as the sun sets, staring at the pink in gratitude of the bookends we receive every day. So I can improve my chaturanga. So I can run my hands through someone else’s hair. So I can take these photos. So I can write these words.