I stood — one foot on each of the double yellow lines. With every 15 seconds that passed, the city traffic in opposite directions tunneled past me just inches away. The wind tunnels generated from the moving cars created an unexpected stillness. People shouted, cars honked and there I stood, waiting for those rays of sun to begin making their way to the empty corridor between east and west.
As I waited, one by one, people, too, walked over, lined up and stood still by and behind me. In what seemed like a short-twenty minutes, time came to a halt. The cars stopped. The talking quieted. And in that moment, the sun edged its way into that negative space and positively altered it. Among the things that make NY for me, are those negative spaces. The unexpected yet endless moments created by the play of light and space reflecting to and from the buildings and up and back from and into the sky. It is in those moments that make up for almost all of New York’s flaws.
That moment of stillness — when time froze, the dissonance paused and succumbed to silence and the hundreds of shutter snaps — changed me. As the sun moved on and set for the day, I turned around only to realize that, literally, hundreds of people were standing around me. The energy from that moment of silence juxtaposed with the view of the hundreds of people, left a profound impact — rarely, if ever, do you get to witness people congregate in a single space simply to see the sun and connect with nature and the universe.
If you know me, and know me well, I’ve done some pretty dangerous and irresponsible things to take a decent picture. For me, it’s not about taking pictures for the sake of it. Rather, it’s to capture that moment I’ve connected with and that specific perspective. I want to remember and share with others what I see and what makes me tick, the good and the bad.
However, today was different. For the first time, that moment was indelibly shaped by the energy of the people around me. In an ever-expanding universe we will never know the answers to everything. Yet, I can say with confidence what I believe to be an inherent truth:
We, as a people, know right from wrong. We, as a people, know no barrier when it comes to love, acceptance and appreciation. We, as a people, know that knowing others only happens when preconceived assumptions are dropped and left at the door. That, we, as a people, know that we are not far removed from the land, the sea, and the sky — rather, it is that environment to which We, as a people, are fundamentally bound to. And that at the end of the day, we, as a people, know what’s worth preserving and persevering.
This moment, among others, continues to inspire my desire to make a difference and effectuate a meaningful and sustainable change for a better tomorrow — ending energy poverty with policies that promote clean and sustainable resources while accounting for and preserving the land, the water and the energy that ties it altogether, the climate.
And since we are here, I feel that it is only appropriate that I address the senseless violence that occurred last week. I am left feeling both saddened and enraged. I am at a loss of words for what to say. Last week’s actions are indefensible and have undoubtedly led our society — yet again — further down a dark and divided path. As an individual, it is my responsibility to understand the value of life and respect everyone regardless of how they look, pray and love. It, too, is your responsibility to do the same. I rarely write in response to atrocities such as these, however with the passing of each, I find myself thinking and confounded with the thought of how will I explain them in the future — knowing that similar ones will come to pass. So let this be an edification to reinforce a belief that through compassion, understanding and love in one another and the universe, We can build a better tomorrow.