Friday, July 18, 2014

Dirty Summer

The air is wet like breathing underwater, as pregnant and expectant as a new mother long overdue. I never knew water to be so heavy yet so immune to gravity's pull. How can it hang so still there in the air? The tension reaches a climax as window panes tremor with the low rumble of war drums, lightening splits the sky, and rain spills out hot and thick until you are drenched through.

This is my tropical urban jungle, everything sticky and sticking to everything else. Sticky, warm, bare skin sticking to plastic subway seats. Sticky, damp clothing sticking to skin. The riot of sights and smells and sounds sticking and sinking deep into my subconscious, playing back in the late night/early morning when we finally dance home after having all the fun. This is my paradise and I am home.

The shaman of our over sized village is covered in tattoos, only his faced spared the bore of needle and ink. He leads us deep into meditation, reminding us that we ride the wave of our breath even in the middle of the sea of concrete. Our bodies can be sanctuary if we learn to make peace with the mind, to welcome every thought and memory with equanimity. In his presence, we cultivate a balanced awareness that can accommodate all the sensations. Everything experienced as one.

Teeming and trembling with life, the city hums all hours of the day and night. The trains groan and screech, winding through the tunneled earth. A two man band enjoys the echoed acoustics beneath the ornate underside of a rusty park bridge. Neighbors shout salutations and jibes from stoops. A berimbau keeps time for the rhythmic, graceful dance of a capoeira battle. The tinkle of the Mister Softee truck is ever present and mingled with children's joyful shouts. Air conditioners and fans never stop, a whirring white noise in the background of every household keeping cool.

We live here together, millions upon millions on top of and all around each other, everyone with a love so deep for this place that the call to come is undeniable. Every human heart here carries a story and a dream that brought them to this electric heart of the world, to what some call the greatest city on earth. We are running side by side, to catch a train transfer or a lucky break, to forge a path for ourselves through this wilderness of asphalt and stone and metal.

Even in this place so swift and wild, there are blips when time stops...with the exchange of genuine smiles and neighborly greetings, with the light that falls just right through the leaves overhead, with a magic moment that could only happen here. There is magic to be found anywhere but in this place it overflows. It is the city where dreams come true and anything is possible. Everything is happening here and I am home.