“Describe a place where you feel completely content”

3 March 2019

Virgo’s are meant to be earth signs. I’ve read it on every quasi astrological website, every monthly horoscope: I’m supposed to feel some connection to the dirt beneath my feet. Maybe because I’m named after the moon or, maybe because I was raised in a massive city where the celestial bond between me and the earth was interrupted by slabs of concrete, I’ve never felt it. Even when surrounded by forests as I am here, I feel at times awkward on my feet, as though gravity doesn’t quite pull me towards the same molten center. As a child I tripped over cracks in the side walk and ran into imaginary friends and sometimes into very not imaginary bus stops which left bruises on my forehead and scars on my knees. I was awkward on the ground, stumbling and dragging my feet until my mother would shout at me to pick them up.

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But suspended, hanging from the too thin branches of under watered trees in Prospect park, I felt at peace. As though the disconnect between myself and the earthy crust could be solved by only a little distance. The freedom that I felt as my legs dangled over branches or monkey bars or occasionally the lights of a crosswalk was unparalleled. Wind flittered between the curls on my head and passed over my swinging ankles, materializing itself like a blanket on my tiny limbs. As a young girl I fell in love with heights, and from this vantage point I fell in love with the world. Heights, the spaces between gravity and flight have offered me peace, understanding and a point for observation from the time I first climbed a tree. This place of peace has developed and changed shapes throughout my life. As a young child it was the skinny trunks and low branches of the trees lining Henry street, in elementary school it was the monkey bar my mother suspended from from the rafters in our living room, on which I would perch myself and watch the day progress, memorizing the smell of arroz con pollo from the kitchen and watching my mothers face in her moments of rest. In high school I found peace in the form of the catwalk, an intricate maze of iron hanging above the school theater. From the catwalk, hidden in the dust and the darkness, I feel the eternal weight of the world melt from my shoulders, as though my troubles were afraid of heights and simply could not follow me up the narrow winding staircase or dangle their legs thirty feet above the ground. From up there I can observe, unweighted by arbitrary worries or thoughts, listen to the gossip just outside and dissect the vocal patterns and intonation of the speaker. I watch people passing beneath me, squirming in their seats or braiding each others hair, I watch for the subtle furrow of the brow or gnawing of the nail: I sit high up and search for detail that is ignored down below, perhaps swallowed up by the earth and its worldly tastes. Here, in the catwalk, in the trees, on a plane, I find comfort. I find myself to be most true in this space in between the earth and the heavens, in between observing and participating, being just enough to be and to see all at once. From heights I find the world in unbiased, unperturbed beauty.

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