Into The West
“You could furnish an entire studio apartment with all the stuff you’re throwing away,” Chris said.
By the time we pulled away from 447 West 56th, the apartment he and I shared from ’95-’99, and that I stayed in solo until last week, the word was out. Transients from all corners of the Hell’s Kitchen were converging on our pile: futons, rugs, clothes, and at least a few hundred copies of my previous recordings were finding new homes.
My new home is twenty-four blocks north. My desk is in my rooftop bedroom, six flights above the 80th Street. Most of my south facing wall is glass into the blue October sky.
But I have been looking into the west far more often of late. My deck faces the sunset, and whenever I’m home, I stand there and take it all in. I have almost 180 degrees of sky. It is a clear shot straight to Broadway. I can see the green hillsides of New Jersey through a small gap in the buildings.
Into The West.
I vision quested a few months after graduating college. I didn’t know what was supposed to do, or where I was supposed to go, so, like the Lakota and countless other indiginous peoples, I set out into the wilderness to fast and await a vision.
I spend a few days in Durango, CO, learning all about vision questing. Direction plays a large role. Each compass point represents a life stage. The East is beginnings, infancy. The South is youth, playful. The West is adulthood, maturation. And The North is old age, wisdom.
I spent four days fasting alone in the high desert of Utah. I didn’t receive any visions, per se. I didn’t meet any spirit guides. (I did have a few conversations with various animals, though.) But I was resolved in what I had to do next: exactly what I was doing. Yeah, I know, that’s all I got. “You’re doing it.” That was my vision. “You’re doing it.”
I know, I know, it’s all very Hakuna Matata. But vision questing and archtypal associations with ones place in the world have been around longer than, say, ABC After School Specials. Makes sense to me.
It’s not to surprising, then, to realize that I have moved, quite literally, Into The West. I didn’t have to leave Hell’s Kitchen. I had a reasonably nice, moderately priced, conveniently located railroad apartment all to myself. It had hardwood floors, brick walls, the works. But when this place was availed to me, it seemed a shame not to leap at the opportunity. At the time, I was motivated by the apartment itself: it’s a duplex with high ceilings and the aforementioned rooftop bedroom. But now that I’ve moved all that I couldn’t leave behind, the reason seems clearer.
It was time.
It is time.