New York City / by Rebecca Tillett

New York City, 2010
New York City, 2010

Big cities can feel otherworldly to those of us who’ve spent their years in small places. I’m accustomed to opening my front door and being able to breathe deeply, in and out, in and out. I’m accustomed to resting my eyes on the beautiful and expansive horizon and feeling comfort in the knowledge that there’s nothing preventing me from leaping toward it while the warm desert air brushes briskly by me.

It was 2010 and I had traveled to New York City, just to see it, for the very first time in my life. It was endless and overwhelming in its sheer enormity. I remember wondering how the land hadn’t sunk straight into the ocean from the weight of all the unevenly placed buildings and frenzied people scurrying in and out of them, oblivious to their doomed and drowning fates.

I felt lost and little in that gargantuan city, as I walked amongst the thousands of human beings all shuffling down the city blocks, all seemingly headed for the same destination but completely undiscerning to the whole of people insulating them from the synthetic world around them. Sometimes, when I could stop long enough to look straight up in awe at the massive and windowed blocks of concrete traveling straight up toward the stars, I’d appreciate the beauty of these American cathedrals but it was quickly lost with every human being I failed to connect with in any profound way as they passed my genuine smile by without much notice or concern.

It was 2010 and I had traveled to New York City. It was dark and gray and covered in dirty concrete. It was loud and obnoxious and ugly in its boisterous audacity. It was the first time I truly realized that being lost amongst a crowd can feel so much more isolating and lonely than being lost in the trees or the mountains or the big desert sky. There were far too many blockades between me and the distant horizon.