Allendale/Hackensack, New Jersey. [September 2016]
Northern New Jersey, like waiting in a short line or Piers Brosnan as James Bond, is solidly mediocre. There are no impressive landmarks to capture with your camera. The Starbucks here have drive-thrus. You appreciate the fresh, greenery-filtered air while wondering why pizzerias make up 80% of dinner options. Solidly. Mediocre.
Then the memories start to hit you right in the feels. This was where life’s formative years transpired – the good, the bad, at first slowly and then all at once. You can run back to and hide in your concrete jungle – where the sunsets are indeed prettier – but you can’t let go of the long tennis matches, the silly high school drama, the the underage drinking, the late-night speeding, the hopes and dreams and fears and tribulations that now seem so small, the mistakes that made you you.
Purged of urban toxins, back we plunge into Paradise City. Hello again someday, my perfect suburgatory.
“My son, you’ve seen the temporary fire and the eternal fire; you have reached the place past which my powers cannot see. I’ve brought you here through intellect and art; from now on, let your pleasure be your guide; you’re past the steep and past the narrow paths. Look at the sun that shines upon your brow; look at the grasses, flowers, and the shrubs born here, spontaneously, of the earth. Among them, you can rest or walk until the coming of the glad and lovely eyes-those eyes that, weeping, sent me to your side. Await no further word or sign from me: your will is free, erect, and whole-to act against that will would be to err: therefore I crown and miter you over yourself.” -Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio