Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Walking in The Bronx, Walking Back Home (#SOL15, Day 4)

Walking on Webster Avenue (M.A. Reilly, Bronx, 2015)

“There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot.” 

― Wendell Berry, Remembering


(for Catherine Cronin, remembering beginnings...)

I. 


When I'm off to a new place or seeing the familiar recast by morning or late afternoon light, I like to walk about a bit--to saunter, to move without an agenda. Mostly, I want to name the place in a way that unsettles me, recasts the familiar in new cloth.  This is mostly what it means to be an artist. To (re)see.  

II.

The landscape alters, changes when you shift from train or cab to foot. It alters when you walk down six flights of stairs and find yourself out on the street in the early morning light. A brisk breeze catches an edge of the wool scarf you so carefully tucked into your coat--unraveling it and you. And in that moment you are no longer a visitor. 

Everything is in motion: You, your scarf, your feet, the morning light, the mix of voices sounding English and Spanish, Creole and Italian. A cacophony of discourse that volleys across the vast space of alleys and streets, boulevards and concourses. A polyphony of languages not bound to the voice alone, but also spread across store signs, street signs, and notices pasted to walls and tucked under windshield wipers of cars left hours ago--each announcing, We are here!
We are.
We are.

III.

It is all bright texture, bright hope, bright light--this big city, The Bronx. 

Sounds root you to a present that is always becoming. Light locates you. And now, the noticing takes on a new dimension. The hardness beneath your shoes may well be a story worth telling. The man opposite you on the north side of the avenue who walks with such certainty, such dignity may be a poem you have yet to write.  

You are the very subject you most seek and yet you best find yourself in the faces of those passing by.  

We are always becoming.
We are.
We are.

IV. 

Thoreau reminds us: every walk is a type of crusade. And I want you to know that here on this corner I am thinking of his words, mulling them over as I think about this place, your former home.  

In some fundamental way we are always walking towards home with each forward step we make.


9 comments:

  1. Mary Ann, you've brought the Bronx -- and the texture and light and memory and hope of the Bronx -- to me here in Galway this morning. I'm so grateful to you for calling and weaving me into this. You've touched me deeply. Thank you.

    I look forward to meeting, and walking together, very soon. x

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    1. I look forward to you end of March visit too. Monday should work well if you want to meet in Manhattan.
      So glad the wok resonated.

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  2. I love the way you play with words and experiences.
    Everything is in motion: You, your scarf, your feet, the morning light, the mix of voices sounding English and Spanish, Creole and Italian. A cacophony of discourse that volleys across the vast space of alleys and streets, boulevards and concourses. A polyphony of languages not bound to the voice alone, but also spread across store signs, street signs, and notices pasted to walls and tucked under windshield wipers of cars left hours ago--each announcing, We are here!
    We are.
    We are.
    LOVE!!!

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    1. Thank you Bonnie for taking time to let me know what was working int he piece. Means a lot.

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  3. Truly, I am in awe of your writing and artwork. Your words capture the beauty within the mundane and cause the reader to reflect and be grateful - seamless beauty. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks so much. It was heartfelt. I love the Bronx:)

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  4. So many places to pause and just relish the words and the visuals they conjure up. Loved these lines:The hardness beneath your shoes may well be a story worth telling. The man opposite you on the north side of the avenue who walks with such certainty, such dignity may be a poem you have yet to write.
    This is exactly what I love about big cities - the invitation to become, ever in the moment.

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    1. Yes, the Bronx is all that and more. Lots of energy, fine people, and beauty. An invitation for sure.
      Thanks Tara:)

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  5. So many places to pause and just relish the words and the visuals they conjure up. Loved these lines:The hardness beneath your shoes may well be a story worth telling. The man opposite you on the north side of the avenue who walks with such certainty, such dignity may be a poem you have yet to write.
    This is exactly what I love about big cities - the invitation to become, ever in the moment.

    ReplyDelete