Jaywalking makes me feel like I am alone in the wilderness.
Walking down the middle of any Manhattan street makes me feel like I am in the middle of nowhere. Especially on the avenues. Somehow, even when there are cars stopped at all the other corners and people everywhere but next to me, and I can cross the street at a diagonal in the middle of the road, everything seems right with the world.
It is little moments like this that remind me, abstractly, of the expanses of the vast wilds I used to live in. I get caught up in big city life. The hustle and bustle. The excitement. I forget how my soul craves expanse. Uninterrupted openness. I forget what it was like walking out of my front door and into nature. And not a little bit of nature. Deep, real nature. I realize now, that although I appreciated every moment of it and knew how blessed I was to live in such a fantastic little bubble, I still took it for granted.
Every now and then, I peel myself away from the city and am always instantly shocked by the relaxation that overcomes me once I am out in the country. I enter a deep, subconscious zone out. It starts right in the center of my atoms. Or, maybe more likely, it always lives there and only becomes active and felt when out in the vastness of nature. On rare days in the city, the feeling of undefined space, boundless and free, jolts through my body like a bolt of electricity. And it always happens as I am jaywalking across a street or sometimes, if I am very lucky, walking right down the middle. The buildings get sucked back and the sky opens. I feel like I can breathe, like I am alone. Like I am standing deep in an expansive green valley with fresh, pristine, Colorado wind whipping around me, the sun beating down on my tan face, fully unencumbered. And I smile a great big smile, sigh with loving memory and refreshed, hop back onto the sidewalk.
Jen McKelvie lives and works on the island of Manhattan, the first place she has ever been happy to return to after time away. Her soul flies highest when she is wandering the streets laughing too loudly with best friends. She loves yoga, her dog and green juice.
You can connect with Jen @jenny_jump_up or here: jmckelvie.com.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel
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