There's a group of PNB dancers who sometimes get on at Mercer Street inbound. They're finishing up practice, and are always full of wonderful energy. As I cross Mercer, I always check to see if they're running for the bus. They never have- they're always either already at the stop, or not there at all. But you form habits, just in case- there's a porch on 23rd I always look at, because sometimes, just sometimes, Michael is sitting there, and I want to be able to honk and wave if he is. It's like checking your blind spot- you turn your head over your shoulder a million times in your life, all so you can avoid that one fatal accident. It is worth it.
Today, once again, I check down Mercer out of habit, just a quick glance, and for the first time they really are there, running for the bus. Renata, with the wavy brown hair, is full of lively vigor. She has a zeal and presence that makes the most out of a moment. She won't be riding this route next season, which is a relief in a way that would take too long for me to explain: of course I prefer her and the others being there. But growing up I was always the one who stuck around, while friends moved away. As time passed, the tables turned and I was always the person doing the leaving. Neither is ideal. I'm about to leave the route for the summer too; it feels nice when someone else is leaving when you are.
She and I talk about stress, art, school, dance. The energy is building. Recognizable faces. They all smile- is it me glowing, from the energy of the Renata conversation, or are they? Columbia Starbucks Guy, African Man, Purple 8th Walker Lady, Fishes Wheelchair Fellow... smiles all around. Big guys say thanks, sauntering out the back door. Where is this great, expanding energy coming from? It's getting on toward evening, but the air hums with a gentle sense of new beginnings.
Third and Union. We drive past a collage of police cars. There's so many of them, and of so many different models, I wonder if it's actually an impromptu cop car show. A row of teens now, on the cement, sitting on their hands. Here's a classic cop car, with admiring guys taking photos. A jaywalker; a crowd going to the concert hall; someone releases a balloon.
The mixture of positive and negative, swirling in and around each other, events both comprehendible and not... it's as if this street represents a microcosm of decades, multitudes past and present. Late evening sun peeks through tall buildings.
The Earth could turn in only this way.
I see faces of all colors raised to the sky, happy, tired, angry; you feel the heady rush of the sublime, the awareness of totality. Everything is encapsulated here, glorious, close, and terrible, and it's magic hour. I feel euphoric, and strangely outside of time.