I’m not religious. I don’t keep Sabbath or go to synagogue. I might go for Yom Kippur and Roshashana, but that’s about it. And that’s mostly for the bingeing on blintz and candied meat stew. I like Christmas trees, and love Christmas Eve (the Italian’s have seafood… and surprisingly most of my family is Italian even though I’m not). That’s pretty much where religion ends for me. I am spiritual. Which doesn’t mean crystals or meditation, candles, shrines or prayers. I’m finding it means art.
Maybe DaVinci saw god in the way he saw. In observations, the tilt of a head, the curve of a breast, the cadence of speech, in the swallow of a suffix, in silence, and dare I say, math. Maybe I’m becoming more spiritual, or maybe I’m becoming more of an artist with the improvement of my observational skills. Maybe there’s a glutinous correlation in becoming more of either. Either way, with Starbucks in hand this morning, I had an artistic spiritual moment, that’s probably a little too insular in its aerial view. This is hard to follow. I’ll try to explain.
There’s a place underground where you can see god… or the universe, or some undeniable force. I don’t come across it often, despite passing it daily. At the 72nd Street subway station, you immerse into darkness as you await trains. Toward where the last train car screeches to a halt, on the downtown side, you can see it.
Fat beams of light pour through street grating from above. They’re angled, in unison, and square, each beam huddling with its neighbor to present a unified front. It’s a shaft of light, and as you move past it, you see its fingers, drumming on its coffee table tracks. You can hear the marching. It’s divine. You swear you are being called to the light—it’s what you imagine you’ll see when you die. It’s mathematical and perfect. Every beam of light behaves, like soldiers aligned and saluting, awaiting commands. You’re certain it’s a plan. And that gets you thinking about life, and the sun, and particle theories.
I saw the geography of light on my way to work today. It was an aerial view, with my feet planted, as I looked up. It made no sense. It was geography when you’re hovering through clouds in an airplane. Everything is segmented, measured and cut—you’re amazed you can’t see the math, the precision of it, when you’re talking to your neighbor over the hedges. Only in stepping back can you appreciate the majesty, the math in it all. Maybe that’s the beauty in life, the whole of us all. The whole of things, the truths we find when we observe and walk away.
When I’m in a quandary, unsure of my next move, I try to hover a bit, pretend I’m a character in a movie. What advice would I give? It gives me perspective and the ability to bust out of my insular thoughts.
While I worked at Juno Online Services (now United Online / NetZero), Jaimee Schreiber (now Lowey) made introductions. She introduced me to rhythm, to Phish, to drums, to the Swiffer to make life cleaner, to laughing again, even at my tragedies. She introduced me to ZOOM.
There are a series of ZOOM books (Zoom and Re-Zoom by Istvan Banyai), which comprise of illustrations. Each page represents a scene, and as the pages turn, you zoom in closer to that scene. You’re in a living room with a dog, a Persian carpet, some framed art, a sofa with frayed edges. With the flip of a page, you’re in the framed photo where you now notice a man you hadn’t seen before. By the next page you’re inside his watch, staring at his gears and witness to the inner workings of time. The wordless picture book is philosophy. It’s right up there with I think; therefore, I am.
To find truth, or god, or anything inspiring, you have to hover and you have to lean. You have to get an aerial view of your life while you hold on tight to your super powered magnifying glass. All this at 72nd Street, waiting for the subway, seeing a little light. I saw the light.
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