January 31, 2011 Seth Perkins

A Window to the Urban World

Part of my evening ritual, as I turn off the lights in my apartment, is to stand at the floor-to-ceilings facing Center City, and look outward.  I see windows: dark and lit.  All of them representing lives, and those lit ones are still awake, like me.  Some of the light spilling out is yellow; some are white/blue; some perpetually wreathed in Christmas lights.  Windows to the souls, like eyes.  I stare outward and am become a sojourner in a well of humanity.  Where I grew up, I knew each and ever light within a few miles of my house.  I knew the colors of light.  I knew the people inside.  Here, it is all unknown.  So many lives, dreams, experiences, hopes and feelings defining the spirit that is “the City”.  I wish I could describe to you the immensity of that moment.

But maybe you already know it.

Maybe you walk to work/home/gym/grocery/etc, you feel the expectation to look down at the sidewalk, avoid eye contact, get from A to B?  I do.  I catch myself when I do it; I know I shouldn’t; I should be always looking.  The urban world is another experience, and the City is full of beauty : architecture, history, culture, arts, restaurants, laughter, faces.  So much to see that will be lost if not captured in that fleeting moment.  I wrote once about [link id=’669′ text = ‘a wish to record experience’].  It can’t /shouldn’t be done.  These are things meant for you alone: Faces smiling.  Faces frowning.  Faces averted.  Faces wearing headsets.  Faces on the phone.  Faces painted by warm restaurant lights like jazz-age scenes.  Faces under the glow of lights in the park.  Faces dancing to music.  Faces singing.  Faces sharing laughter over a beer.  Faces.  Faces.  Each with a story.  Each with that connection to the others in that well of humanity.  Part of me wishes I could know them all.

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