Most New Yorkers have limited exposure to elements of the natural world. It is possible, particularly in Manhattan, to live and work and never see a tree or blade of grass. There are times, however, when Mother Nature shows her hand and makes her power and presence known, and no urban environment stands in her way in times of blizzards, rain, blistering heat, intolerable humidity, frigid cold, astronomical events, and dramatic lightning (see Back To Our Main Feature here).
There are many physical activities that depend on certain natural environments that make all but impossible to partake of in New York City. However, for the willing, extremes of winter weather occasionally provide a tiny window of opportunity to indulge in snow play. But only if one is willing to seize that opportunity immediately when available.
Today, there were ideal conditions for cross country skiing in Manhattan. Much snow related fun can be seen in the parks of this city - building snowmen, snowball fights, sledding - but I have witnessed some extraordinary activities in new fallen snow on the streets, immediately following a blizzard, before vehicles, plows or people have had any opportunity to disturb the white powder. The two most memorable are the making of snow angels in the middle of 7th Avenue South and a man in business attire skiing down lower Broadway to what I assumed was his office.
This morning, shortly after sunrise, while gazing out my window, I observed a man circumnavigating a large lawn in Washington Square Park on cross country skis. He had the entire area to himself and the snow was a pristine white, undisturbed except for his lone circular track.
The phrase moving meditation is an overused cliche, but at times it is valid. I found myself mesmerized while watching the skier make his rounds. The soothing quality of the white blanket of new fallen snow was enhanced by the circular repetitive movement of this lone skier at dawn. There are many great things about New York City and sometimes you may find, if you are poised, that we've got skiing too :)