The First train arrives at Grand Central. 5:55 am. I slide on my gloves and exit onto 48th.
The Streets are free of the morning rush. No horns. Light traffic. A handful of us are on the streets. One sneaks into a diner for a cup of coffee. Another stands huddled along the wall, ember glowing from his cigarette, stomping his feet to stay warm. Millions sleep in the hulking towers looming above.
NYC, my kind of town, pre 6 am.
There boils the paradox. The craving for quiet, for stillness. The Need for the warming salve of Solitude. And, yet, the wiring is to stay in Motion. A spinning top turning and turning and turning, only to teeter at dusk and collapse into bed.
I stand at 6th Avenue and wait for a delivery truck to pass.
A trace of snow falls.
Wind gusts lift and swirl the flakes.
And, here it comes.
The ache starts in the bones and works outward.
Imposed from where?
I jaywalk across the four lanes of 6th Avenue. And as I glance left to measure the distance of oncoming traffic, I reflect on the words of Robert Reid, the author of Mountains of the Great Blue Dream:
“How many people spend just one minute a day listening to the quiet? The quiet of their minds, the quiet of the universe.”