It’s a Jungle Out There

Well, it was bound to happen.

I arose early today as usual, got dressed, packed up for the morning and struck out heading north on 8th Avenue from ROW NY, my base of operations for this trip. I had about a mile walk, a little less, to my class this morning at the Hilton Midtown. The temperature was just right, the air and sky clear, and I was happy to be on the street walking and experiencing the city.

There are so many sights and sounds in New York that assault your senses in a wonderful way. The streets are full of yellow taxis, buses of all kinds, bicyclists, and police officers, some with downward pointing rifles that are quite intimidating and yet comforting at the same time. There are smells of coffee, pastries, savory sausages, perfumes, and trash. There is a living flow to the traffic, both of mechanical vehicles and people, that is a fun thing to dive into and be a part of.

I was walking briskly along today, paying careful attention to my space, not looking up at buildings, and watching for small spaces to shoot through at red lights between taxis and buses. I was enjoying the walk so much that when I looked up to assess my progress, I saw the little green sign that said W55th. My turnoff street was W53rd. I had walked two whole city blocks beyond my target.

Isn’t it wonderful, I thought, that I can be so in the moment that I can enjoy this walk and this city, which is a very novel experience for me, and completely lose track of time and space for a moment. There was no problem with this, since I had plenty of time to get to my destination. I turned, doubled back, hit the Avenue of the Americas, saw the Hilton sign and entered, following the smell of coffee in the back.

Sometimes, in a new place, having a new experience, following a novel schedule, we feel challenged, energized, and exhilarated.

We realize that it’s a jungle out there, but that there are just as many colorful animals, intoxicating smells, and brightly sunlit clearings in the jungle as there are poisonous plants, man-eating beasts and quicksand pits.

I’m looking forward to some hop on-hop off sightseeing this afternoon. I may get off and walk a block or two over just to see what I can see. I’m not worried about getting lost. There are bus stops everywhere in the city.

I’m used to living in the slow moving, serene, genteel state of South Carolina.

I’m enjoying this week in New York City.

It’s a jungle out there, they say.

Isn’t that wonderful?

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