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Letter To My Father

This is a letter I wrote to my father for his birthday late last year. I thought I would share it.

To my father,

Sometimes when you seem to be forever on the subway to and from work or your head in front of a screen you sometimes think that New York has lost its sparkle, that New York is becoming mundane.

And then the city hits you with something that makes you stop and gape your eyes wide open so they could drink it all in.

Late on Sunday afternoon I went for a run down by the Hudson; south along the river-park, up and down the river piers. The sun had just set behind the buildings.

I raced down to the end of the pier that runs above the Holland tunnel out to a large ventilation shaft as I watched the end of a cruise liner glide past down the river. At the end I was about to turn to run back down the pier but I was forced to stop because of the revealed view/

A long ridge of thin high clouds packed together stretched from behind the Empire State Building over the water and Jersey City. It was if a colossal dragon in the West had breathed a tremendous ball of fire across the sky and this had been frozen in time and space. My mouth was wide open I could feel my heart beat.

The clouds shot above the Jersey City skyscrapers like they were fire; amber, gold and tangerine. As they travelled over Manhattan they turned to that pink you can only see in the evening sky: moody, pregnant.

The pink lines travelled beyond the Empire State as it stood tall above the skyline – lit yellow with an electric blue needle pushed into the darkening blue sky.

At the other end of the bank the clouds were still bright and some of the straight beams becoming ruffled, flamed out against the neon blue sky. Under the clouds the horizon was rust coloured and silhouetted the dark buildings of the city. To the left stood the Statue of Liberty and across the water the towers of Lower Manhattan huddled together to brave the extravagance of the sky that was reflected in their windows and glass.

Eventually I had to start running again. Twilight descended and I ran along the river looking to my left at the clouds; watching the orange recede to pink. At Battery Park I had to stop again to look at the end of tangerine clouds sat brighter than the rusty sky.

Night fell as I ran back towards home under a deep water-blue sky and people along the river sat in silence watching the light. The tall buildings across the river had now become silhouetted with a vignette of desert blondes and beiges. I didn’t ever want to blink.

At these moments you are so grateful for being alive to witness nature at its most beautiful from within the concrete of the city. And all these moments would not be possible without you. Would not be possible without your love, your support, the manners I inherited and the lessons you gave me.

Thank you father for everything you did for me. Thank you for giving me the sky over Manhattan.

Happy Birthday.


January 6, 2005 in Diary, Random Posts | Permalink


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