Open the door. Go outside. Take a look around. You never know what you’re going to run across. Maybe something cool and different, maybe not. You’ll never know, though, until you open the door and cruise around. Check the streets, check the stores, walk through the parks. Keep your eyes and ears open. There’s a lot of noise out there, a lot things to see. Most of the noise is made by people, the squeaky wheels of creation. We sure do have a lot to say. We’re everywhere, even where we shouldn’t be, like in deserts or on mountaintops or even (for the really resilient souls) New Jersey.

Like the old song says: “It’s the same all over, there’s people everywhere you go.” You might hear some wild laughter around the corner and go to investigate, and the guy laughing and telling stories is in a wheelchair and has a patch over one eye. And he’s full of piss and vinegar and not even a little bit defeated. He seeks no pity and spreads his fierce joy in a situation that would crush another man. He knows something others don’t, maybe because of his suffering, maybe because that’s who he is, maybe because he sees no other way. He’s full of life and joy and defiance. Listen to this guy.

Maybe you’ll run across some little kid walking a gigantic dog, or rather, being tugged around by his pet, a big old scary looking animal who’s really sloppy-friendly and wags his tail all the time and sniffs and investigates anybody willing to get near him, hoping they want to play with him and the kid. The dog and the kid leap and tumble, then they roll around in the park grass like wrestlers for a while. Neither one of them gets tired. Then the kid whips out a ball and tosses it and  the dog fetches it and then the kid has a hell of a time pulling it out of the dog’s mouth and they play this comic tug of war for an hour, the little one again and again sticking his hand into a row of scary looking fangs until the dog decides to let him have it, tossing the scarred ball and doing it all over again. There’s worse ways to kill an afternoon. Then they both realize they’re really hungry all of a sudden and make a bee-line home to see what’s to eat, both sets of eyes wide with anticipation. The dog knows the kid will slip him some of whatever he’s eating.

So you move on, see what’s around the corner, your own eyes wide with wonder and open to the possibilities. You see more people, zooming here, zooming there, keeping their appointed rounds. Others are doing what you’re doing, meandering around to see what the day will bring. Every day can’t be purposeful and grim, and this one is for meandering. You stop and watch a construction site where the skeleton of a skyscraper pierces the blue sky and hard men in hard hats who know exactly what they are doing go about their business of building. They operate cranes hanging off the steel bones 300 feet in the air, weld and rivet the beams, drive cement trucks and shout so loud you wonder if they really need those walkie-talkies. You come back 6 moths later and there’s a finished building, beautiful and gleaming and full of people doing whatever it is they do in gleaming skyscrapers. The hard men in the hard hats are someplace else building something else.

You don’t have to be a tourist to do some sightseeing, especially in a magic place like New York City. Everywhere you go there’s statues and plazas and fountains and fabulous bridges, arches and boulevards and parks and carousels and Ferris wheels and waterfront, the ships and pleasure craft leaving white trails in their wake. Calmly watching over this crazy place is the Granny of all statues, Lady Liberty, out there on her own little Island at the mouth of New York Harbor. She’s seen it all, from the days when she was the tallest thing around to that horrible day when the towers fell. Still she greets every newcomer and never wavers for an instant from her promise of hope, freedom and endless possibilities. She doesn’t think we’re wretched refuse at all, she thinks the world of all of us, and we think the world of her.

And so we move on, looking around, celebrating being alive in these days of amazement and change. The day grows late and it’s twilight, and the sun and the clouds get together to paint another masterpiece, using whatever materials are at hand, like the Verrazano Bridge, to shower us with unspeakable beauty. Then it gets dark and the lights go on. The man-made wonders take over, and people come out of the woodwork after a long day’s work, seeking each other out, doing the things they like to do, trading stories and jokes, and enjoying the night air. The hour grows late and things quiet down a bit, or at least as quiet as it gets when there’s people around. The Lady keeps an eye on things from her pedestal in the harbor, and you go home and rest easy. Maybe you’ll dream about little kids and gigantic dogs rolling in the grass, their musical laughter rising to the heavens.

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