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April 24th, 2016

Dear journal,

Today the river curls its toes tightly around the west side of 28th street, and kisses the concrete boardwalk softly every few minutes with waves like tongues. Its lengthy spine sways rhythmically between Manhattan and New Jersey, dipping a hip when a boat cruises along it. The river, the Hudson River, has water of a potent artificial murky green hue, carrying grime and litter in the form of red and silver soda cans. On a day like today, the water and soda cans reflect the sky like a mirror and we are closer to the heavens than ever before.
The sky hangs like silk organza, feathering the setting sun’s blood orange pulp throughout the clouds, wearing hues of electric lavender that burn the spring sky. Our eyes are glazed in this brazen light and we do not look away, as though we’ve been chasing time and we have finally caught up to it enough to take a breath.
After leaning against the wooden railing a few moments, letting the soft and warm wind play with the strands of our hair, we sit on our usual bench. My legs are crossed tightly in my denim jeans, his resting loose. Our spines are propped against the back of the metal bench and our shoulders are hunched forward, aching from the past week of carrying backpacks full of books.
It is here, on this familiar bench overlooking our Hudson River, facing New Jersey, where we can take the time to embrace the warmth in the air in the spaces between our speaking, careful not to let it all pass by us too quickly. It is here we can find the patience we have so often lost in the buzzing streets of New York City. Here, we can watch the clouds long enough to see them separate and change like a kaleidoscope. Here, I can feel my heartbeat sewn to my lungs and hear my breath, always consumed in the noise of traffic. It feels like home here, maybe it is not just places where we sleep.

Till next time,
Emily



July 2nd, 2016

Dear journal,

Tonight on the west side of 28th street I am back to visit my friend. The river is drowsy tonight, and yawns with each sudden breeze. It's breath smells saltier than usual. The summer air vibrates against my skin, and whatever coolness the metal of the bench has retained feels good against my bare, sweaty legs.  I am trying to dust what has happened earlier this evening off my mind. I sit forward, watching the water flow effortlessly in every direction, spilling its body this way and that without caution, careless and unremorseful. I wish I could move like this, I wish I could think like this too.

My eyes wander to the blazing moon that keeps the stars company. Together they bleach the river till it is sparkling like the sky, bringing the heavens down to me once more. I am looking to see how far away the moon is from the ends of my eyelashes, but I have never succeeded at this. All I've been able to see is the moon’s grand existence in contrast to my own, just like this river.  They will always be here alongside time, and I am insignificant in comparison. I can feel a peace wash over me knowing that nature, long since being delivered from its mother's womb, has remained strong and powerful in its place despite human-felt importance. As this peace settles into my stomach, my tense muscles loosen onto the bench unremorsefully. I hold my gaze firmly on this world that is my cocoon, turning my neck to my city’s lights drooling over the sidewalk, the skyscrapers that tower over citizens, and then back to my river. Yes, journal, I think I am home here.

Till next time,
Emily






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