I’m in a wide-open field where it seems like the Sun is almost always shining. It’s warm here under the trees. There are people everywhere. They’re playing Frisbee, tossing footballs, and sunbathing. Some are having a picnic and drinking a bottle or two of wine with their friends. Every now and again the cool breeze brings my way the scent of a very popular herb, transporting me to the summer of love (a time period I regret missing out on, but I really had no choice in the matter.). There are readers and writers and athletes and children with their grandparents. I even saw a man walking his cat in here one day. Skyscrapers rise in the distance just in case you lose yourself; forgetting you’re in the greatest city in the world. As I write this, a group of friends nearby are drinking beer, playing games, and screaming at each other in fierce but friendly competition. I’m unbothered. There are at least 300 people in this meadow today, and there is more than enough room for everyone. Even the little birds seem to have carved out their own little space. As I sit here in Central Park, Sheep Meadow to be exact, I’m presented with a glimpse of a better world.
New Yorkers have a reputation for being rough and unfriendly. As a native I cannot blame the rest of the world for seeing us that way. But I like to think that here in Manhattan we’re all so close to each other, LITERALLY, that we have no choice but to get used to being around one another all the time. We’re very free in our interactions. Think of the way you would deal with a close member of your family versus a stranger. There is a familiarity with the people you are close to and that is how us New Yorkers treat everybody. So if we seem rough and unaware of how being polite works, imagine one of your siblings are taking a long time in the shower and you’re late for work. I highly doubt you’ll be asking them nicely to exit the restroom. You’re more likely to just yell, “Get the fuck out of the shower I’m late!” At least that’s how it goes in most of the families I know! In New York, we say what we must and then we get over it…it’s just our way.
But here in my meadow exists the lighter side of that familiarity. All people, all walks of life, and all nationalities, ages, and orientations are here enjoying their time in the Sun. There is no judgment. In our current sociopolitical climate I find myself in need of this energy more and more. As I write this I realize why I’ve always loved this spot: it’s a small Utopia hiding in plain sight. I urge all of you reading this to find a place like this in your life; a place to enjoy nature surrounded by people who are just living. It’s such a nice thought: just to live and not have to worry about the rest. So get out there and go energize yourself among your fellow man. It’s so important for us to feel and experience this harmonious coexistence because this is where the universe would like us to be in our hearts as a collective. We’re supposed to, at the very least, accept each other. You may think it’s a lot easier to find because of where I’m located and you may be right, but I know that if a place as serene, and as close to heaven can exist in grouchy old Manhattan, then I’m sure you can find the Utopia near you.