15 November 2012

[15] ice bells

When I lived in New York, the first year, when I was homesick for my little town in Rwanda every single second, homesick for that house huddled under the hill next to the lake, I would go out walking along the edge of the city. I knew the piers along the Tribeca/Soho/West Village/Chelsea stretch of the Hudson by heart.

In the summer, there are plenty of other people out there, too, with dogs and kids and lovers, but in the winter, it was often just me.

One day in the winter of my 1L year in law school, as snow was pouring down, I walked out to the end of one of the piers, all bundled in warm clothes. I couldn't see New Jersey across the river. When I looked back, I couldn't see Manhattan, either. I was alone in a snowglobe, shaken and set down.

The world was silent. That isn't common in New York, but I couldn't hear any people noises. As I stood there, I finally realized that the one noise I did hear sounded like music. I looked around, and it was the ice on the river. The river had frozen, somewhere upstream, and then broken up, and all the millions of pieces of ice were gently knocking against one another with a noise like bells.

I stood there for a while, just listening. I closed my eyes and raised my face to the snow.

And then I walked back to school.

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