On How We All Must Disappear with the Sun

03Apr08

In which The Gay Recluse is momentarily disturbed.

Of all the natural vistas we have encountered — desert landscapes, arctic tundra, the badlands — the rooftops of Washington Heights remain one of the most tranquil and undisturbed. Originally carved from the bedrock some 10,000 years ago by the retreating glaciers, the surreal beauty of these structures remains largely intact and shows only the effects of acid rain, pollution and other forces of erosion common to the industrial age in which we live. It is not unusual for us to spend hours each day contemplating the rooftops, the serene beauty of which is augmented by the absence of any living thing besides the birds, which like to fly back and forth on their mysterious errands and sometimes pause for a moment to rest on a high ledge.

But yesterday our meditations were disturbed by an unfamiliar movement we noticed out of the corner of our eye. Something large and unfamiliar had invaded the landscape! Or — more hopefully — had we just dreamed it? Alarmed, we peered closer with a thought to identify these intruders and were finally confronted with a most unwelcome sight: People! On the rooftops! Our hands shook with agitation and we wished they would go away! When they did not, (of course) we took pictures:

Wait, is something wrong here?

Wtf? What are they doing on the roof?

But the light began to camouflage them. They might have been stovepipes.

Finally everything turned orange and we forgot about them entirely; in the distance we were consoled by the barren treeline of the Palisades.

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