There is something about the coming together of opposites that attracts me. I am drawn to juxtapositions, and make my home at the coming together of seemingly opposing forces. My astrological chart would suggest it might be related to my Gemini nature, but I think there is more to it than the alignment of stars or the make-up of my genetic code. Walk with me for a few moments down this road; if it helps, begin by taking a peek at the scene in Central Park (attached to this post) that greeted me this morning.
Let’s begin with the fact that I have had a whirlwind mini-vacation the last two days, right in the middle of two of the busiest weeks of my semester. This trip was built around seeing a concert, so the dates were admittedly pretty fixed. But, a short 48 hours of respite in the middle of intense work didn’t diminish the meaning of the time. In fact, it enriched it. It made me savor the moments and embrace the quality of time like a limited, precious oasis of city-scapes and artistic indulgence. As I type this, I am realizing that my family and I had our feet on the ground in New York City for exactly 24 hours. During that time, we visited Times Square, dined and drank in an Irish Pub, toured Lincoln Center, went to an incredible concert by Mary Chapin Carpenter with the New York Philharmonic, ate some (admittedly mediocre) late night Chinese food, had a drink in the lobby bar while watching a woman wearing six inch metal spike heels take “shoe selfies” (sorry, but that was memorable), slept a few hours, had breakfast in an amazing little organic coffee shop, walked the length of Central Park on a clear, winter morning, and capped it off with a visit to the Guggenheim. Now, riding the train back home, I am probably more content and less restless than I would be if I had been gone a week. Juxtaposition: shorter time, higher relaxation.
I was thinking about this as I flipped through the pictures that I took during this trip. This one in particular seemed to capture it all. The rustic, natural beauty of trees in winter captured in a juxtaposition with the city skyline. The same image contrasts beaming light with deep shadows. It is the contrast that draws me in. One without the other is pretty, perhaps. But together, there is a different depth and meaning altogether. Creating unity out of that which has been dichotomized: that is true art and deep spirit.
I am thinking about this as my train lumbers along the rails toward home tonight. My love of both reason and mystery. The interconnected twists and turns of grief and hope. My embrace of science and love of art. Writing for peer reviewed journals with impact factors, and blogs where I bare my soul and then hit “publish” for anyone in the world to read. Private, soulful contemplation, and public speaking and teaching. Even the richness of religion and spirituality, neither of which was complete for me without the contrasts of the other. Divine Light shines in the juxtaposition.