Just a few weeks ago it had been unseasonably cold, dark and dreary in the city. It had drizzled all day. People had huddled under their umbrellas if they could keep those wispy things from being blown away by the tyrannical wind. The wind blew through the streets encouraged by the gigantic guiding walls of the skyscrapers while the rain lashed people’s faces like a thousand cold needles.
Just a few weeks before the rains it had snowed at odd times of the year. People had been forced to rush from subway stations to office buildings to eateries in their lunch hour burying their necks and faces in their hats and coat collars. Those crowds were all clad in black in hordes like the members of some medieval cult hurrying to some fateful ritual in the snow.
That was Spring in the city.
Not so anymore. Summer is here.
If you looked at the city now, you would never know that we had huddled from the cold and the rain just a few months ago. A burning sun is beating down on the concrete so that it’s dazzling the eyes in the clean parts of the city. Where it’s not clean, puddles of dirty water spilt or drained out from various sources are disappearing in no time from the hot concrete surface leaving blotches of dark sediment where the water had been.
People are huddled in the shades of large buildings if an occasional shop window with a ledge is left unattended. They are taking refuge from the sun. On the intersections, some hapless man or woman is vaporizing inside a fluffy costume of a cartoon character or a dancing sandwich or a gesticulating plate of salad. They know they exist to entice passers bys who are momentarily thankful for their own lot in life if they are lucky enough to have a day job that does not involve adorning themselves as a soft toy or a crunchy salad in the sun.
On weekends, lightly clad bare bodies on the grassy spots all along the river are sunbathing in the violent heat. Do they ring of a slight desperation as city folk determined to enjoy the season’s bounty? Perhaps they are as fixed in their resolve to use up their quota of the sun as they are in rushing down the running escalators to catch that departing train steady in their purpose not to miss out on anything that life has to offer.
Car windshields are dazzling the eye and concrete park benches are ironing our clothes quite gratis where they come in contact with our bodies. Big dogs are panting everywhere as are the young men in suits and ties walking to the venues of their interviews in a job market which is as ruthless as this summer.
The season has come to its full fruition.
As with most other pursuits in life, was the anticipation more pleasurable than the fruition? Summer’s gentle hand was supposed to brush off the snow and dry the rain and make little yellow flowers peek out of the green grass. Summer was supposed to set us free from the tyranny of the black coats and the itchy synthetic stockings and the endless banality of indoor games and set us free into the sun in our light cotton shorts and open shoes and floral dresses.
And now we have had our freedom with a vengeance.
Yet, there is a resolution to this paradox of hedonism that the season has brought. There are moments when anticipation and fruition can briefly exist simultaneously creating pleasure in the form of beauty in the city. The happiness occasionally comes as a late afternoon rainbow arching over the city of gold glinting in the afternoon sun and stays a few minutes.
Check out the Macy’s July 4th fireworks in NYC in my last post if you liked this one!