Once again, despite many hours devoted to writing, I've managed to go without any blogposts for over three weeks. Been working on a few large pieces that will be posted once completed.
I'm currently back home in New York's forgotten borough, Staten Island, and haven't had much free time in the midst of excessive relaxation, couch-slothing, and catching up with family and friends, but before the great year of 2011 is suddenly washed away I would like to share a few things.
As I mentioned above, the absence of posts on this blog is by no means an indication of a lack of writing. Two lengthy album reviews have taken up much of my time, the latter still waiting to be completed after over two months of writing (and well over a year of listening to the music). Both will be posted here very soon and the title of this blog post actually derives from the closing track on one of the albums.
Returning to the land of my birth and upbringing has also been a return to reality of sorts. In my nearly four years of nomadhood, there have been many times when I've had to stop for a moment to reflect and remind myself that I am a New York native, spent my entire first 22 years in Staten Island, and not only roamed the streets of Manhattan (a.k.a. New York City, perhaps the epicenter of our globe) but spent so much time there that I grew sick of it and had to escape. This week has been my first time back in the New York area since last August, almost 16 months ago, when I flew back here for one of the most memorable weekends of my life---the baptism of my nephew and the funeral of my grandmother (age 101) which occurred simultaneously when my grandmother permanently left her physical body the day before our flight to New York. The initial experiences upon my return were surreal.*
*In fact, I had intended a massive blog post about the synchronistic baptism/funeral experience with many thoughts on reincarnation and Finnegans Wake but I never managed to untangle all those ideas into blog form.
My first night here was spent in Manhattan; its towering buildings, glistening streets, and bustling throngs of people had me in awe. The next morning, my sister and I traveled due south through the narrow city down to Battery Park to catch the Staten Island Ferry back home and I was overwhelmed with a flush of forgotten memories. My first job was as a messenger in 1999 when I was fourteen years old---Battery Park, Greenwich Street, the World Trade Center, even Zuccotti Park (where I learned to play chess), these were my stomping grounds. Somehow, I hadn't dug into my mind to retrieve those memories over the years. They'd been hidden, caked with layers of dust, and now they were suddenly dug up into the bright winter Christmas Eve morning. As we floated on the Ferry back to Staten Island I felt a warmth in my stomach that could only be described as the feeling of being home.
Everyone I encounter (family, friends, pot-bellied big-mouth goons at Costco) is a New Yorker not quite realizing that they are swimming in a sea of New Yorkers. Having escaped this ocean and swam out west for a while where I'm a rare fish out of water (a native New Yorker in strange land), it is much easier for me to take a broader perspective on the primitive biological ocean that gave birth to my soul. The high-energy bickering of my heavily New York-accented family or the bustling subway crowd doesn't suck me in and stress me out anymore, instead there is a feeling of observant detachment. For the first time since I was child, there is a deep awe and appreciation as I move about this magnificent city.