5AM Story

Watching the city wake up at the fifth hour, it's early and raining, but unlike your jetlagged body the city is already in full motion. You're sitting at the bowels of the city, Lower Manhattan Chinatown, gazing on it all while its skyscrapers fold into roads and twist into bridges to Brooklyn. In your younger days you wanted to live right across from this busy body of water. You no longer harbor the same wish. In some ways you don't have the proclivity to just settle anywhere anymore. Not here, where the buses screech in the rain and East Riverside runners wake up in a huff deprived of their morning routine (I among them if not for a bruised big toe from riding his fixie, and injuring myself at the last possible moment before limping home). No, home is slowly morphing into a temporary idea, an evolving identity of the increasingly post-nationalist self. As for this New York, this machine that keeps humming, some say it's falling into a stupor, that is belongs to the past. I will always be moved by the portraits here - the exulted and the downtrodden brushing shoulders. I will always see wonder in the beast that shapes so many of us - the go-getter, the do-gooder, the guest somewhere in between.

This is where I make my entrance. I will attempt to live here for two weeks, given the fortune of shelter, a bike, and friends who've yet left. I see this trip as a way of detoxing the mind and body, and instead of consuming, will simply live, and simply write. The past year has been a continued frenzy of motion. Work and love rages on and while both are exciting and inspiring, I miss the presence of "emptiness."

As Kenya Hara extols, "emptiness" "...provides all kinds of possibilities and can hold all kinds of meanings." Emptiness is not simplicity, it is ambiguous, big, heavy, and deeply meaningful. It is the interruption of the pause in our day to day routines, the beckoning for a toughened "why?" Why do this? What keeps you going? It is sculpted moments, disciplined, and full, and it is only in New York do I find the peace, on the cusp of humanity, do I find depth.

It has been a year of travel, perhaps this is the reason for his remark. "I'm Angelina and you're my little Shiloh," and more than anywhere else, the places that moved you were places of conflict, friction, people. Beauty exists in the moments between the words.