I was taking a walk around New York City, staring up at the buildings, taking a few pictures and feeling like a tourist. After a few years on the East Coast I still felt like a tourist almost everywhere I went.
I’d been to NYC as a child and, as an adult, found myself revisiting those old remembered feelings of crushing numbers of people, way to much concrete and not enough trees. Back in the 1970s, my family had come to the big city to visit family and a cousin took us to a local park. I remember her stopping and saying or doing something to indicate that we were at the park, followed by me looking around and asking where the park was – all I could see was more sidewalk and a green area that looked like a large potted plant. In 2006, my impressions of the place, and it’s near universal lack of greenery, hadn’t changed much.
Honestly, I did my best to follow the travelers creed, take the experience as it came and look for the adventure in the moment. I tried to act and feel like a New Yorker (albeit an extremely green and wet around the ears version) for a few moments. Taking pictures and pointedly ignoring grouchy grumbling people was my way of living the New York moment.
Then I captured these photos. All of them made me very happy because they were either photos of trees or photos of non-tree things looking something like trees. Which brings me to the point of this story. Staring at the preview of my photos I had a strong and deep-gut realization that I truly did not belong here. I was doing everything I could to create a sense of woods, outdoors, wildlife and nature when I was surrounded by man-made concrete and that nasty smell of piss and exhaust fumes that simply permeates every large city in the USA.
A traveler has a love of adventure, an open mind, a willingness to try and experience new things and a dedication to take the moment (or the challenge) as it comes. Sometimes I live up to these things better than others. At the moment, I found myself going against the grain of who and what I am and it was both unpleasant to experience and a relief to recognize.
Now, when I look at these photos, I find myself sadly searching for the wild in the overly man-made and thinking you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl.
(C) Adora Myers 2014