The Wilds of Manhattan

I'm writing tonight from the 22nd floor of a hotel near 52nd and 5th, New York, NY. I went to college in Connecticut, but money was tight, so I only visited The City (as my friends called it) twice back then: a biology visit to the Bronx Zoo and a tour with Jodi, led by my then-boss, Walter.

I've been back once since, the first week I worked for Hanley Wood – maybe I'll share a story about that trip tomorrow night. Tonight, an observation, then bed.

We broke through the clouds this afternoon, and the terrain took my breath away: canyons and arroyos, stony ridges and spikes of granite, unbroken to the horizon. At street level, sundown comes early, and you can't see clearly more than a few hundred yards at most. It's louder and busier than where we hunted elk this fall, but the feeling I get coming into New York City is remarkably similar to the feeling of hiking off the beaten trail in Rockies: neither excitement nor fear, but anticipation of the unknown.

Like the mountains, there's beauty here: St. Patrick's Cathedral is incredible, as are the faces and languages in the streets. There's savagery and survival, too: you can see it in the faces of the street people; in the trash and food littering the streets; in the constant security presence, the flashing lights, and sirens. There's monotony: the hurry-up-and-wait of traffic (both on the streets and the sidewalks), the constant background noise, and the caramel-colored night skies.

And, like the mountains, there's the constant opportunity for excitement – and the constant threat of the same.

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Blogger's Note: Naturally, I'm here when the Yankees are dormant and the writers are on strike. No Jeter, no Letterman, no shows on Broadway. The Cathedral was packed with tourists, however – hopefully it's quieter for Mass tomorrow ...

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