Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

17 December 2014

The Day Begins; It Is Dawn--For Whom?

This semester, I've been teaching early morning classes.  When the term began, I was pedaling in bright, often shadowless, pre-dawn light.  But as the season deepened into fall, I was seeing sunset and, after Daylight Savings Time ended, I was getting to work just as the sun was rising.  

All of that has meant seeing what people don't.  You've seen some examples in some of my earlier posts.  Some of the sights were just lovely; others had their own grittier kinds of poetry.  This morning I saw an example of both:





Speaking of gritty poetry:  As I took this photo--with my cell phone, on Randall's Island near the Bronx spur of the RFK/Triboro Bridge--some verses streamed through my mind:

La aurora de Nueva York gime
por las inmensas escaleras 
buscando entre las aristas
nardos de anguista dibujada.

It's the second stanza of Federico Garcia Lorca's "La Aurora" ("The Dawn") and can be translated something like this:

The dawn in New York grieves
along immense stairways
seeking among the groins
spikenards of fine-drawn anguish.

Perhaps recalling those verses was a harbinger of what I would see as I descended the ramps on the Bronx side of the spur:




I've seen him before.  Actually, I've never seen him:  I've only seen the blanket and recognize the way he swaddles himself in it.  Once, I got a glimpse of his face poking out of his bundle.  I don't think he knows:  He was still sleeping, as he was today.


Usually, he's in the corner, curled up as if he were in the womb, his first--and, perhaps, only--home.  I had never seen him unfurled until this morning.  And, even though he was less than a meter from his usual spot, it was startling to see him there.  I can't blame him for moving there:  It rained heavily a couple of hours after midnight, and spot is probably the driest place he could find outside of a building that wouldn't allow him in.  

At least it wasn't difficult to see him.  So, I was able to stop, dismount, lift my bike and tiptoe around him.  I did not want to wake him, let alone rend one of the few shreds of dignity he has left.

Unfortunately, he's far from the only homeless person I see during my commutes.  He's just the one I've seen most often, I think.

2 comments:

  1. Profound verse indeed. Thank you for your blog today--helps put my problems in prospective.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Chris,

    Thank you. Seeing that man certainly put my problems in perspective, That's why I wrote about him.

    ReplyDelete