It's the last day of January and New Yorkers are walking even faster than usual to get home. I guess they're trying to avoid the mixture of melting snow and cold rain falling on their heads.
While leaving the We Work office a couple nights ago, I noticed that all the warm twinkling lights from Christmas where long gone. No more warmth glowing from windows or decorated stoops. It makes January feel even colder then it already is.
When I crossed another street and saw these trees, still shining bright into the night, I had to stop and take a photo. It felt a bit surreal - as if I just wandered onto a movie set and the city was unfolding it's hidden energy... I guess that is the beauty of New York.
Just when I least expected it, I just stood there - trying to block out the noise of ever present sirens and honking cars. I ignored the dirt on the streets and my fellow New Yorkers cursing too loud. Even the current political situation disappeared from my mind for a moment... New York was showing me a glimpse of the kinder sides of the people who make this city special, spreading their positive energy around. Even if they don't even know this themselves...
...the delivery guys on their bicycles - wearing their yellow safety vests over their winter coats. They were singing out of tune but they were, singing. Even when it was cold and raining.
...the couple holding hands - walking together with their dog as quickly as they could. Yet, they slowed down just long enough to greet a stranger before turning the corner.
...the absence of homeless people on the streets - which made me hopeful that they were warm inside the shelters, instead of being out here in the cold.
...the flower shop on the corner, always open 24/7 - this evening, the salesman knew there wouldn't be any customers in this weather. He looked at me (perhaps thinking what I was doing, standing still in this weather...) nodded his head in a greeting way and huddled back over his phone while humming a tune.
...and finally, when I was done soaking this all in, I walked past my favourite night guard. I still don't know his name, but he always waves at me. Making sure he sees me, I always stop to wave back, with a big smile.
I know these were just simple moments - ordinary moments in a big city. And yet, they are not, ordinary.
They're even more special considering the days we are living in now... Where kindness and compassion seems lost into darker ways of thinking and treating each other...
These small pockets of time, as fleeting as they are, give me hope. That in a city with almost 9 million people - from a variety of countries and believes - people are still kind and they are living together, side by side.
And while I'm sitting here on the floor of our wonky Brooklyn apartment and I'm writing from the heart, I feel grateful to have a place to call home, when so many others do not... So yes, simple gestures and moments I want to hold onto and share with you here.
Because when the days and the news are too dark and too negative, know that goodness still surrounds us.
We just have to stop to see these small signs of positive energy - even when it's cold and rainy...