Meditation: On the 'Certainty of Others'

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I had the good fortune to be at Celebrate Brooklyn this past week to hear Jenny Scheinman play violin and to see the Brave New World Repertory Theater's production of Walt Whitman's great poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry."

It was a wonderful evening in the park, one of those nights when your fellow New Yorkers feel more like neighbors than strangers, or to feel, as Whitman puts it:

The impalpable sustenance of me from all things, at all hours of the day;
The simple, compact, well-join’d scheme—myself disintegrated, every one disintegrated, yet part of the scheme:
The similitudes of the past, and those of the future;
The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings—on the walk in the street, and the passage over the river;
The current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me far away;
The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them;
The certainty of others—the life, love, sight, hearing of others.

If you haven't read the whole poem in a while, do so, and then go for a walk afterward and see if you don't feel more tender toward your eight million neighbors.

Photo: SEE, a sculpture by Cliff Baldwin, Fulton Ferry State Park Brooklyn, NY 1995

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