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  • A little bit over two years ago, I visited a section of Central Park known as the Ravine for the first time. I was alerted to its existence a few days prior when looking for things to do during my pending "stay-cation." At the time, I had many vacation days left and my employer would not let me roll them over to the next year.

    I was facing a week of no work, with nothing planned.

    Man-made waterfalls in Central Park. Why not?

    I anticipated it being colder than it actually was. I got all packed up and ready to go.

    It was the right day for this short trip. While it wasn’t warm out, it wasn’t the slightest bit cold. I probably didn’t need the wool socks and boots I had on. So it goes.

    There was a slight wind, making conditions quite comfortable for exploration. I took the 6 train up to 96th St. and walked on over to the Park. When I entered Central Park I saw a Labrador Puppy Oreo, which is to say two black lab puppies flanking a golden lab puppy. His fur was almost white. Puppy Oreo.

    I pulled out my camera to take a picture and… damn. The battery died before the I could even snap one. Breaking what I’d imagine is an important rule of photography logistics, I neglected to bring a backup battery. This was very annoying. How would I take pictures of the Ravine and its waterfalls?

    Documenting the trip was very important to me at the time. I needed to share it, otherwise, what was the point? Looking back, it was evident that I did not believe in doing something for the sake of the experience. I hope I've changed since then.

    I had my iPhone, which would have to do. So I soldiered on.

    I walked up through the North Meadow until I reached the North Woods. I came across a ‘waterfall’ that seemed to be runoff from a storm drain. Hoping that this wasn’t what I had been search for, I continued on.

    Finally, I found the first waterfall. Awesome. It was small and not necessarily a marvel of the natural world, but to know that this existed here, in New York City, was a comforting feeling.

    From there I followed the stream to another waterfall, right past a small wooden bridge. Both were small, I enjoyed them. I continued to follow the stream to another overpass. Coming through the other side I was greeted by another falls.

    There were periods of time where I was all by myself. I would see no one else down in the Ravine area for five minutes or more. You start to forget that you’re in a big city of millions of people, cars, and skyscrapers. For a brief moment, you’re just alone in nature.

    I’m aware of how cliche that sounds, but maybe that’s the point. This area's to existence, so intensely different from the surrounding environment, is simply remarkable. A quiet enclave of man-made natural beauty tucked in the middle of an urban, concrete jungle. Borderline paradoxical.

    I like to imagine that everyone who visits this space is part of a universal forgetting where, in a larger sense, they are at the moment. An experience so shared that it becomes cliche. It's a nice feeling.
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