Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dare to Ask of Life

While I am currently working on my next post, "vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore"...I want to keep my readers entertained, therefore I have decided to post my favorite piece of writing. I pay great tribute to James Kavanaugh, for this single work of art has deep significance for myself, as well as my brother...Tell me, are you one of us?

"Some people do not have to search, for they find their niche early in life and rest there seemingly contented and resigned. At times, I envy them but usually I do not understand them. And seldom do they understand me.

I am one of those searchers.

There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we completely content. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand.

We like to walk along the beach; we are drawn to the ocean, taken by its power and unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty.

We like forests, mountains, deserts, hidden rivers, and lovely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as our laughter. We are ambitious only for life itself and for anything beautiful it can provide.

Most of all, we want to love and be loved, to live in a relationship that will not impede our wanderings and prevent our search. We do not want to prove ourselves to others or compete for love.

This passage is for wanderers, dreamers, and lovers who dare to ask of life everything which is good and beautiful."
-James Kavanaugh, San Diego, 1970

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A City of Contrasts

Chronological order seems to fail me. I am back living in the Big Apple for the second go around. It's exciting and thrilling and completely terrifying. The amount of energy this city thrives on daily could be enough to power the world twice over. The people you meet seem to feel the energy, take it in, let it surround them. In my eyes, this could be a great thing or the makings of a tragedy. I love New York, I really do. It is a city defined by contrasts. As the saying goes, with any true beauty, comes great danger...And therefore, this city will surprise you on the best of days and the worst of days. Walking down the streets, you get a sense of the "community" that is New York. You get a sense of humanity and how everyone works together, weaves together, through hardship, through enjoyment, through pain, through laughter. No matter whether you had the best day of your life or the worst day of your life, you lay your head on your pillow, hearing the sounds of other humans thriving around you. The contrast of New York can be simple things such as Wall Street Bankers complaining to pay the four dollars for a gyro from a street cart, but yet, without fail, there is the certain homeless man they give a five dollar bill to everyday on their walk home. The encounters with certain pretentious hipsters, that damnify you for being not as cool of an "uncool" person as them, yet show you the utter creativity of their mode of art in a way that changes how you think.
The last two days have been a complete contrast for me. Yesterday, I woke up to a wintery mix of brown snow, delayed subways, and handfuls of angry New Yorkers. It was no coincidence that as I was walking down my street, I saw one of the most unnerving sights I have ever seen. I was partaking as one of the first bystanders to an uncontrollable burning building. Flames coming out of the windows, loads of fire trucks blaring down the street, people gaping and snapping disturbingly raw photos of the event. Fortunately, I believe no one was injured and the fire was eventually put out about six hours later, but there is a distinctly hollow feeling you get watching something burn in front of your eyes, when you genuinely can't possibly help the situation. The amazing thing was that there were indeed hundreds of people helping-neighbors helping each other run out of the surrounding buildings, the number of fire fighters working together to put out flames, the bystanders that will go home and blog about it to spread the word, in awareness for others...And in keeping with contrast, today, the very next day, the sun shone. People were out strolling, stopping in cafes, laughing and chatting, and genuinely enjoying the surprising stream of sunshine that appeared mid-winter, oblivious to any burnt building or lives displaced. Therefore, my point about New York is the contrast of constant energy that is present. Is it positive? Is it negative? Does it even matter? It seems to me that all New Yorkers don't mind which type of energy it is, just whether it is there for them to thrive of off...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hyde Away in Golden Gate Park

Even though I may have previously mentioned that my posts would go in chronological order of events in my life, that proves to be untrue. I had to make an exception to write on my short but sweet trip to San Francisco. Although I was indeed making the decision whether to return to NY or move up to SF- and seemingly find myself writing this from a cafe in Brooklyn- SF truly has the makings of one of the best cities in the world. I took a road trip with my big brother, Con, to visit two of our very best friends, Clancy and Becky. On the journey up, we stopped in San Luis Obispo, and relished in the beautiful scenery along the historical 101. The beauty on the way up was just a precursor to the amount of beauty San Francisco holds intact in its "7 by 7" miles. Beautiful architecture, beautiful nature, many and many beautiful women (Clanc & Bek at the forefront), and an all around beautiful adventure. As I was mulling over San Francisco with my great friend, Matt, a previous SF native transplanted to Brooklyn, our conversation turned a bit existentialist. We discussed how SF unabashedly challenges who you are and the way you think. The city presents itself with experiences, events, exhibitions, all based around what a single person or group of individuals is really passionate about. Not to say other people's passions aren't expressed in other great cities, but SF presents these passions to you generously and wholeheartedly. For example, my brother and I visited the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Just to preface, Con and I are avid museum goers-enthusiasts if you will-and are not always easily persuaded by certain museum space. For our first "exhibit", we walked into the living rain forest, and were instantly enamored. The academy states that they are driven by two burning questions: 1) How did life on Earth develop? 2) How will we sustain life on Earth?  So they not only explore and explain the natural world, but they also actively work to influence the way you protect it. Generously, wholeheartedly, and most importantly, passionately. I don't think it's any coincidence they coined the phrase: I left my heart in San Francisco...