Gliding along on an island anchored by stone slabs, I come upon a church bathed in an array of klieg lights. My feet touch the street that has been identified as Columbus. Henry Hudson's river is not far. The night is warm, dry. Snow is falling as a scene from the Nutcracker unfolds before me. Children laughing, singing, dancing, blissful. On either side of the Church are two giant nutcrackers winking and tasting silver flakes, painting snow angels in the urban air. Everyone knows the snow is fake. Every soul knows the snow is real. Warm snow, cold to the touch of a true believer.
I turn in midflight and become calm as I watch a pageant move across Columbus' avenue into a cathedral of song. They are coming to celebrate a midnight mass. Children, adults, Native Americans are the priests. They shift their weight as they walk and different visions of elegance radiate through their skin.
I look through the window of the cathedral door and it is a big cavernous space filled with sunlight. There are thousands of flat, white balloons on the floor. Slowly they begin to inflate and rise. It is a wondrous sight. They catch the light. And are filled with a clear glow. It is a joy. It is Christmas in July. We are content and happy.
I have lived so many years, so many lives, suffering from an eternally raging fire. I am aware that for a brief moment of space I do not suffer any pain. Now as the lustrous white balloons voyage towards the sky, the pain has disappeared. Although it is a real physical pain that has faded from my organs, I am suddenly aware of my grief. That, too, has vanished. It has been a tortured pain embodying agony and a soul who has incarnated so many times costuming himself in human excess. How happy are we when life erupts to the limit. How unaware I am of the hollow reflection of that eruption. I am haunted. I have not yet learned how to return to our simple, elegant nature. I have not yet learned how to return to our enchantment. I have not yet lived Christmas in July.
Imagine the pageantry, the love and wonder of huge, white heated helium balloons filling with love, rising from the ground provoking celestial music that echoes within our veins every day of our lives but is masked with the frailties of being human. Imagine this exquisite chord. That is ours. Every day.
I was walking on Columbus Avenue in Manhattan one July night and came upon children celebrating Christmas in July. They were 3, 4, they were 40, 80, 60 years of age. As I watched, I became this graceful child.
We search each day for that moment we all have lived when we looked deep into the well of life and smiled. Tonight, in July, close to the river, Tchaikovsky magically parades his tunes rendering me weightless in the night. I bathe in grace sparkling with delight.