Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thoughts on New York City, and the Gunnison Valley, Colorado

As I write this I’m on my way back to the Gunnison Valley, fresh off my first trip to New York City. Currently writing this from Chicago, at least starting the piece, so I’m at a mid point in this journey; a good place to stop and reflect.

Though I always enjoy returning to the Valley after being away, and the brief visions of clarity that always seem to accompany the return, in some way leaving New York City I felt myself longing to stay there longer; to bathe in a sea of humanity that pervades the streets and buildings of the city.

I find some irony in this because in my younger days I loathed cities, and always found myself trying to escape once I’d arrived. I dreaded a visit to the city that would seem to come; a result of further travels or family visits. Life I suppose even for the mountain person, always leads to a visit to the city sooner or later.

I was at a stage in my life, during the college days, where I was perpetually drawn to nature, appalled and dismayed by the consumptive culture that seemed to fully manifest itself in the Cities of the United States.

But, somewhere along the way, the Cities of the US began to appeal to me. Just like the Wilderness of the United States they contain their own magic and charm. I prefer the nighttime; thoughts of Frank Sinatra’s music floating through the air like clouds of smoke used to in a dark bar, the unknown women of the night, plentiful in New York City, knowing where you are you will only be there that night forevermore. Only the moon is visible over head when you spill onto the streets, but you know the stars are still there from your days in the wild.

New York City is the complete opposite of the Gunnison Valley, Colorado. Perhaps that is why I long for it, and it appeals to me. I think I’ve rid myself of a na├»ve belief that mountain people are somehow superior that city folk, and that just because one lives in a city means they are being more consumptive than me just because I live in a place on the edge of the wilderness. Most of us, the Citizens of the United States live off the same system for our food, our energy, our clothing, entertainment etc, and we’ve all just ended up where we are because that’s where we are supposed to be.

In the spirit of procrastination I’ve finished this very small essay up in Gunnison. I used to never feel at home anywhere that wasn’t close to nature. I don’t know if I can explain this but maybe it was just that I needed nature to find out who I was; and not knowing who one is can make things awkward while traveling through life. Now that I know a little more about who I am I’m curious about humanity, fragile and precious as it is, from that beautiful city girl of the night in New York City, to my mountain people here in the Gunnison Valley.

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