Thursday, August 20, 2009


You can't see stars in New York. Well, you can see Claire Danes walking her dog, but that's not the kind of star-sighting that inspires a person to contemplate the universe. Instead we have a skyline. A beautiful, awe-inspiring skyline, no doubt about it. And if you are lucky enough to have access to a view, you can gaze upon it and think about your future. "I'm here, New York City!" you can call out to Manhattan. "I'm here to stay!!!" But the sky against which those awesome buildings scrape boasts only an occasional night flight into JFK. No stars, shooting or otherwise.

And I wonder if that does something to us, we city people. I wonder if it makes us feel so much more important than we are. A skyline is intimidating, but somehow conquerable. The vast, infinite curtain of light that is a summer night sky over a skittish mountain lake, on the other hand, can make a person take pause. Because even if you can get a same-day reservation at Il Mulino or you are a regular attendee of Paris Fashion Week, or you have seventeen Rolexes and a wife who looks like she belongs in a calendar hanging on the wall of a car repair shop, put in the context of infinity, no one is that much of a big shot.

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