5/20/2020

I woke up this morning to my room flooding with sunlight and immediately started to worry. I had set my alarm the night before which I haven’t done since the pandemic hit Brooklyn, and I was worried I had slept through it. My plan had been to get up early and bike to Greenpoint to get doughnuts for my roommate and I and to record the morning bells of the church on Manhattan Avenue for a piece I’m working on. I pulled on my charging cord, the phone had tumbled off the bed at some point, and read “5:40” on the display, almost an hour before I was set to wake. I felt relief and dull surprise, I knew this sort of thing could happen, but in spending every day inside I often forget that, yes the sun still rises earlier each day and that, yes my body is pretty good at waking up when it gets light enough. Outside my window I heard a bird call I immediately identified as “not an owl” and then confirmed with the Audubon Society’s website that it indeed belonged not to an owl but a mourning dove. I cracked my window open a bit, hoping to hear it again, and instead was met with the most beautiful New York morning quiet: no cars yet on our street, no ambulances, just some sparrows chirping mutedly from the tree down the block and the fuzzy muffled roar of thousands of distant air conditioners and cars and planes and people that, until it gets truly quiet, is difficult to recognize as sound at all. Looking at the sun rising over where I know the ocean to be, glinting off the buildings in the next block to the East, listening to the birds that get up before the starlings that normally provide my day’s musical accompaniment, I had a thought that I hadn’t had in a while: that I love this city. That kind of memory-yearning to be out in its streets and parks and beaches soaking up its brick corners, feeling its hum in my chest and its wind in my throat.

I’m attaching here a couple of pictures I took recently. The first taken while passing through Queens on a bike ride last weekend and the second of the detritus left by someone I, for the moment, no longer live with. I’ll also add the recording of me rushing to St. Andrews in Greenpoint at 6:58 followed by the church’s bell not ringing at 7:00, or at 7:01, or at 7:05. Church bell ringing schedules are notoriously hard to find on the internet but we’ll try again another day.

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