As I look at the photos below of projected images in Times Square, I feel conflicted. These images, depicting the Palestinian reality, mean more than a mere great deal to me. However, they are being viewed in what is most likely the location in the world that I have the most negative feelings towards. Having lived in New York City and having visited Times Square within the last year, I can safely say that for me Times Square makes me at the very least, claustrophobic.
I remember going to see a film below Tower Records at Times Square. It was a Japanese film with the main theme being basically "anomie." I entered when it was light and I departed at night. Eventually that is. The theater was many floors deep underground. After several levels of escalators and then floors of loud music, through the late night most recent and hip popular
T-shirt, thick leather silver studded belt and dark strech and stonewashed blue jean clad music shoppers, I finally found the exit.
Rejoice! It was night. Now if only I could see the sky. Unfortunately, there were billboards up, down, over, and around as far as my naked eye could see. Until eventually, . . . was it true? . . .I believe I saw a sliver of sky. No stars or moon, just pure sky.
This past April when I visited New York for a conference for work, I purposely walked through Times Square at night. All I felt was the desire to escape.
Now that I write this, I may understand. In the Occupied Terriorities, especially Gaza, there is hardly any horizontal space, only vertical. Just like Times Square. Sure there is horizontal space for the right price. You can have whatever you want at the right price.
But the images of trees that so soothe me and cover my blog? I have never been to Palestine and so I cannot say for sure, but my understanding is that they hardly exist. I recall a conversation I had this afternoon: "Are there still olives to harvest?"
Images of the Palestinian reality make too much sense at Times Square. Claustrophia and chaos in both locations. What about projecting them onto the mountainsides of the great Ponderosa pine of my side of the Northwest? The dry soil, the smell of pine. We could dream of thyme growing and blooming in the dry wild. We could even plant an olive tree. I have no idea if it would grow. But this is what hope is all about.
I smell peace in the smell of fresh olives, pine trees, and thyme.