by Mayana Torres
As I sit here on a Saturday prospect park day, I see a little baby boy learning how to walk. He falls down and looks back — his face and body preparing for a hard cry. But his dad swoops in and helps him get up, he smiles it off and waddling, he tries again. We are learning how to rewalk. This year is a year of tumbling, falling over and finding the necessary support to try again. As we go into October and pumpkins have been featured in local stores, the color of the trees start to turn to yellow and the ground is decorated with the ending of summer. Just like the trees have let go of baggage to make room for something new, so do we as we adapt day by day.
The need to be gentle has heightened. We are learning to prioritize the breath, taking comfort in the breeze, in the bundling up of sweaters and layers. Prioritizing warmth internally and externally. With everything reminding us that summer is over, scheduling and routine has engulfed our days. I have tried to stop and enjoy one of my favorite seasons of the year. I fall in love with this quick season again and again, excited for its arrival and sad by its sharp departure. The color scheme of fall brings joy to my closet, the breeze gives a special flare to my walks, and my park days have been balanced by sun and shade. As nyc tempo has started to speed up I have realized the tango has changed. The trains aren’t filled with students in the morning but replaced with an eerie silence. The organic spontaneity of New York has been replaced with reservations and preparation. However as you walk down the block it is filled with kids on walks with family between zoom class, the parks and front porches have become classrooms, kites being flown on Tuesday afternoons and not just on weekends. Outside cafes are filled with artists and freelancers. The heart and movement of the city hasn’t disappeared, just adapted.
But there is still a part of me that is frustrated, saddened by the pains and lows this city is working through. The feeling of wanting it to just get better already, hasn’t completely left. But sometimes it takes these moments of anger and sadness to be truly ready and present for something new. Sometimes that support and movement looks different. If the dad didn’t swoop in as fast as he did, if the baby boy sat and cried, would that have been so bad? Would we have told the baby not to feel and let it out? No! But we would try to make sure that doesn’t get in his way of trying again. Make sure these clouds don’t make you think the sun isn’t coming back. I was talking to one of my mentors and I was discussing how the NYC I love is hurting and I hate to see it like this. She validated my emotions, but she also reminded me that NYC or wherever you call home, needs your love now more than ever. That this is something that will be ingrained in your vision of home, why not give it your all.
So I write this to encourage you to try again. Give your all, again. But don’t negate all the emotions in between. Cry if you need to, take a break if you need to. There is no timeline on how you learn to rewalk, you might need to crawl a little longer. But the important thing is to not give up. To keep going because the world needs you now more than ever.
Mayana is a born and raised Brooklyn gal with strong Black and Latina roots. Her roots serve as the basis for her commitment to nature, wellness, and community. She is a Multidisciplinary Artist and Student Activist using different avenues of creation to not only tell her story, but amplify the ones of her community. Mayana uses her voice and passions to spread light and joy while also creating content based on being a college student and a young woman of color. She is committed to actively promoting the knowledge and mindset that supports global awareness of environmental and racial injustices.