Morningside Lights

I walked all around Harlem and Morningside Heights this morning, and then I sat on a blanket in Riverside Park and read some books. In the afternoon, I went back home for a while, and then returned to Morningside at night for Morningside Lights. It was positively lovely.

It was a parade of community-constructed lanterns made out of colorful tissue paper. Everyone was lined up along the sidewalk at the north end of the park when I arrived, and as soon as I settled myself into nice grassy spot along the procession route, they started walking south.

Again, it was lovely. And oddly peaceful. Oddly because the lantern-holders were playing feedback noises on air horns and ringing bells in an ominous fashion. It was eery and reminiscent of noises coming from a space-themed Radiolab episode, but it was peaceful in an odd and inexplicable way.

The lanterns were beautifully-made, and everyone was watching them go by, whispering to each other as if witnessing something sacred or, at a minimum, important. A woman came up to me and asked me if I would like to join in, and when I said yes, she handed me two purple glow sticks to carry.

I walked alongside the others until we reached “the lake,” which was what they called the small pond in the middle of the park. This part of the event was truly magical with the glow of the lanterns reflecting in the water, and the little, puddle-sized thing did in fact look quite lakey in the yellow light.

The parade went on, but I left shortly after, venturing off to practice a bit more coding before the night was over. I walked north alongside Morningside Avenue and across 121st Street, and it was quiet and dark, and my glow sticks were sticking out of my half pony tail, and I was desperately lonely.

It was a hard day. I am longing for my love, and I am impossibly separated from him with no end in sight. I am dreaming of a career in a field that is still very much a stranger to me, and I am eager to befriend it, but it is a real, cold bitch sometimes. I am alone in this beautiful city, and I miss my family and friends.

But there was a parade of community-constructed, brightly-colored, yellow-lit lanterns in Morningside Park this evening, and I was there, and I joined in. I am participating in life as best I can. I am being here now.

Home to 118th St. to Madison Ave. to 119th St. to Morningside Ave. to 110th St. to Riverside Dr. through Riverside Park to 108th St. to Broadway to 111th St. to Morningside Dr. to 110th St. to Morningside Ave. to 117th St. to Madison Ave. to 120th St. to Morningside Ave. to 121st St. to Madison Ave. to 118th St. to Home

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