Thursday, July 4, 2013

Twenty Miles on July Fourth

Hi everyone,

I'm Joe.  I love music more than almost anything, I don't get as much sleep as I should, and this is the first post in my blog.  This is a blog about running, my home (New York City), me running around my home, and  embracing the practice of running as means of transportation (among many other lovely means).  It's about deconstructing a compartmentalized view of such a massive metropolis, and no longer feeling tied to mass transit as a necessity: understanding what distance actually feels like and moving through time and space at your own pace.  Elaboration on my journey to this point will come, but for now I'll speak to the adventures and musings of 7/4/2013.

On this Independence Day I ran from my apartment in the East Village of Manhattan to Richmond Hill in Queens, and back again several hours later: around twenty miles in total. My fuel was some water and a banana before heading to Queens, and veggies with hummus, a burger, beer, and some grilled chicken before heading back to Manhattan.  My backpack cargo was the usual towel and change of clothes.  Hanging out at the destination was a good time, but today was more about the journey.

Making my way through three of our five boroughs, an amazing smell of burning charcoal and grilled meats dominated the air from afternoon to evening, and a powerful aroma of gun powder pervaded once the sun had set.  Even though I could not always see the people responsible, the common smells and the pyrotechnics were strong sensory reminders of just how many distinct lives and stories and dreams are playing out in such a condensed space.  We instinctively become tribal and attach ourselves to our respective neighborhoods to a degree in order to cope with this, but it is extraordinary.

I timed my return trip so that I was crossing the Williamsburg bridge during the end of the grand Macy's fireworks extravaganza.  While I did have a good view of that, the more impressive stuff (that almost no one else standing around on the bridge paid any attention to) was found when I would gaze out in all other directions, unfocus slightly, and see countless other smaller fireworks displays.  Even as I write these words from my rooftop I am audience to various blasts of light, color, and sound.

Today, as an independent observer, I felt an overwhelming sense of the sheer density of human life in this city.  It, however, came with an almost awkward sense of forced or reluctant symbiosis.  I saw, very clearly, the result of common collective action on a grand scale, and it made me ponder what sort of awesome and resonant results could come from similar efforts that maybe didn't revolve around eating outside and blowing things up.  I don't mean to take anything away from the fun of the day, but I can't help but wonder.

Quira Ba


1 comment:

  1. This is a great post, Joe. Eloquent writing and noble ideas. Keep it up.