Friday, February 27, 2009

Back on home ground

I'm in NYC for the weekend -- where else could this photo be? -- just to take care of some things here before returning to Stanford for my last three weeks. The oddest thing about returning to New York after seven weeks in Northern California is the most obvious thing: every surface here seems hard. In February the city's at its most angular, whereas Palo Alto's geometry is softened by leaves everywhere you look. So I walk around feeling something's been subtracted from the world. Here, as ever, it's people that are in the foreground: our faces, energies, voices, hurry, distraction, beauty, opacity...


Mim said...

The cart could be in South Beach: the neatly arranged plastic bags, the broom handles. A woman with such a cart sweeps Meridian Avenue, works! Lives out of the cart under the lush palms. When I go out for my walk, I look for her, glad when I find her: she's made it through the night. Won't take money, will take food. Doesn't talk. There are showers near the beach, but it would be too difficult to push the cart down to the showers. She's clean and tidy. How does she do it? A public lavatory. She'd never go into a shelter. They don't shelter.

Rus Bowden said...

Hi Mark,

That's a very curious sign to be in front of the blurred Bank of America. And there's the white blaze from the sun situated between the bank and the one-way sign, pointing the fire the bank's way, even as people walk into it, like moths to a flame.

The most firmly grounded and most solid item in the picture seems to be the fire hydrant. The largest is the representation of economic hard times, the derailed shopping cart, which is now filled with collected throw-aways.

The people on the street and anyone in the bank, are all oblivious to the white heat from above. And the hydrant is hidden, everyone but the eye of the camera on the wrong side, even to see the sign, and all that's about to come.

But will a fire truck come by during this emergency, remove the derailed shopping cart, save the bank, and the people? Or will the more likely dog come by and relieve itself on the hydrant?