The street lights are just coming on, one by one. As the bulb slowly warms to the seduction of the electricity, it glows cherry red, like an airport beacon or the lamp next to the Buddha on the counter of a Chinese restaurant. Gradually the amperage has its way, and the red changes to a jaundiced yellow. The street settles in for the night.
It's a marvel, the city. Like the sea, it has its own lure, though hardly as rugged and primal. (Really, to speak of "the city" in this generic way is something of an injustice - every city has its own inner fire and distinct flavor. Here in San Jose, the lure seems to mostly be the sickly siren call of antiseptic sophistication.)
That I can use "antispectic" in the same sentence with "sickly" underscores one of the great problems of modern times - how to keep things clean without corroding them. Few question the positive benefits of scrubbing, but it seems we have scrubbed ourselves so hard that there is nothing left. In this, as in so many other things, the crying need is for poise and balance. We are very good at either ignoring or hyping the plight of the planet, but not very good at thinking sense about it.
This, friends, is the city: full of dreams, detergent, and dignity - an endless whirl of victory and defeat, anguish and ecstasy. Wherever you have a lot of people, you're bound to have a lot of everything else. The whirl is always there, like freeway traffic, always ready to welcome you back and absorb you once again into the writhing mass.
Love it or leave it, the whirl will continue without you. I suppose that's part of the charm.
Image courtesy of mccullagh.org