“Yellow, Red”

23:32 Sun 26 Sep 2010. Updated: 08:50 27 Sep 2010
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Walking the night city. Do all cities share some quality that can be sensed when in them, or is it merely a dry definition? I think there’s something underneath that; as cityborn I like the notion that feeling it is in my blood, but this is questionable affectation.

It’s a common idea that cities have music, or at least a soundtrack, but that only contributes to my city-sense, doesn’t drive it. Turn down the sound, make the streets utterly silent, and I would be wary and disturbed, but the cityness would remain.

I supply my own soundtrack, of course, thinking of music and ever listening to my own chatter, mind coiling around mind to create a veneer of structure and meaning that I conceive of as self, as sanity. Perhaps that is this citysense, the kinship shared between the overlays of order on city and consciousness.

The latter requires more overlays in the former, demanding deliberately-maintained solitude. Out in low-population-density areas, it requires no effort to be alone. In the city, it’s impossible to function if you allow yourself to be connected to all the things around you. Solitude in the city is learned and based on concentration, not a reflection of your environment but a constant struggle against it. A difficult struggle because it’s decidedly necessary to pay attention to your surroundings.

The essence of city experience isn’t self-constructed solitude, then, but the tension between that solitude and the necessity of environmental awareness.

Tonight that tension spurs these words.

2 Responses to ““Yellow, Red””

  1. Graham Says:

    I really liked your earlier post on squirrels but like this even more – will email you something in relation to it

  2. Graham Says:

    ahem… sorry… I meant foxes

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