Wednesday, October 29, 2014


My Facebook friends know that I've become a little obsessed with the sky lately. I think three things are operating here. The obvious thing is that Facebook and my iPhone have changed the way I share my experiences and thoughts. The second is that the sky has just been more than usually dramatic, or maybe dramatic in unusually varied ways, in the last few months. I really think that's true. The weather in general is more strange and varied and unpredictable.


The other thing, though, is that I'm just seeing the sky a lot. We live on one of the highest points in Manhattan at the edge of a giant cliff, and from our living room window we have a great view across Broadway and the Harlem River to the Bronx with a big patch of sky, and, to get to work in Brooklyn I get up at 6 in the morning, so I see the sun come up almost every day.

Then, on my way to the A train, I walk through Isham Park where the sky is always visible over the tops of trees. From the L train, I have a 20-minute walk through north Brooklyn, where few buildings are taller than 3 stories, to the warehouse where I work, which is at the edge of nowhere on Newtown Creek surrounded by 1- and 2-story warehouses and factories, brownfields, some kind of sewage plant, and lots and lots of open sky.


At work, the window next to the desk where I sit looks over a low, bleak industrial building and the open sky.

My life in New York during my last residency here (1981-98) did not include much sky. I wasn't much of a nature-lover as a kid so it wasn't something I missed or thought about when I moved to New York at 20. In fact, I reveled in the non-skyness of it, the lack of trees. That's what I came for: city life, the urban landscape.

It was only after I left New York and spent several years in various, mostly non-urban places, and for a couple of those years lived virtually outdoors, that I realized how spiritually shut down I'd become, a condition that seems to me directly connected to lack of sky.

So I'm very grateful for my bit of sky now here in the city, and as C and I contemplate moving in the next year or so, I feel a little apprehensive about the possibility of losing it. Now that I know what I was missing.

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