Sometimes I am blind to the beauty in my city. All of us humming along, lives unfolding in ways we want and ways that surprise us, even devastate us. The way we live here in the city, side by side, intimately affecting each other yet not even looking into each other’s eyes, can feel alienating. And yet when you do look, you feel, and life unfolds before you, mysterious and poignant, raucous, reckless, heartbreaking and humbling.
There’s a powerful beauty in the human landscape here, yet I sometimes berate my city for being so big, for the incessant construction, for the car culture and crazy drivers, for the way the city swallows time when you try to traverse it.
There are days when the city closes in. I long for a horizon uninterrupted by anything made by human hands. That is when, in this city, I must go down. Because below it all are the often overlooked places that, when you make time for them, when you remember to enter them, hold the power to restore. And I don’t mean the subway system! ; )
Mine is a city of ravines. Its geography requires us to go down into nature, descend into it, like a memory of what this land was before us.
We dip into the ravines where the rivers of old still run, a shadow of their former selves, but still moving sacredly along ancient pathways to the Great Lake. Walk there and the city falls away as we fall into nature.
It’s like a metaphor for who we are. Our exterior selves, like the city, can be bright and shiny, or hard edged and worn down, a million different faces and facades. Sometimes we present our authentic selves, but not always. Often we present what is presentable. What else can we do?
But below these surfaces we so carefully manufacture is something so precious—our essential nature, which, like the ravines of this city, offer such breathtaking beauty. A beauty that is exactly right just as it is.
It seems a powerful reminder to, like the song says, love the one we’re with—which in the end is our Self.