The more things change ...

On June 23, I left my friend's Manhattan apartment and worked my way on foot across town to Grand Central Station. The route took me straight through Times Square, which, at 5:30 on a warm Saturday afternoon, undulates with intensity. Amid the cacophony of voices, horns, sirens, engines, sub-woofers, subway-rumbles, and silent neon noise, even natives must often bow to that thrill of momentary sensory overload! Swimming in a sea of pedestrians, I couldn't really see ahead or behind—only up.

Barely one month later I stood on a remote county road in western Kansas. Aside from me and my rented Dodge, the unspeakably silent scene was made up of but two primal elements: land and sky, the first so vast, the second so unyieldingly level, that their unbroken meeting point on the 360-degree horizon seemed to be something beyond infinity. Feeling like the only person on planet Earth, I saw into forever.

October 22, 2001

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