I fell quickly for the signs that said something so beautiful it could stop you in your tracks just long enough to see that the poignant phrase ended with the word motherfucker.
Slowly for the drums that never, ever stopped.
I fell for the freedom i felt as i ran through the streets with my camera over 1000 miles away from my children at home who otherwise would have been demanding my undivided attention.
And for the electricity in the air and the possibility of change.
The way our cheeks hurt from smiling and being drunk on the way the cold air feels after marching over Brooklyn Bridge with 30,000 people.
The power and audacity of the youth.
The way the media finally began to report what was happening in the streets and more importantly, the conditions that led to this uprising.
Cardboard signs with Jay-Z lyrics and Kevin Bacon quotes.
The way my heart went haywire every time i watched and photographed mass arrests of old and young alike who filed shackled into paddy wagons with proud gleams in their eyes.
The handshaking, high-fiving and hugging of so many complete strangers.
An idealist leveling of playing fields.
The voices whose owners clashed in the streets and wrestled over guardrails in Times Square, whose faces were covered in warpaint and were crying out with the kind of defiance i had only seen in Braveheart.
The girl i locked eyes with in Washington Square Park around midnight who nodded at me and we both knew for about 5 seconds that we had fallen into a brief and perfect love.
How the national conversation slowly changed and even found some of the naysayers acknowledging nobility in these grievances.
The resounding frothy idea that everyone's voice mattered.
Dumplings from the cheapest chinese food joint Cameron and Rynn and i could find within 10 blocks.
An unforgettable paralyzed vet in a wheel chair with a breathing tube being interviewed by a reporter from the show Inside Edition with an unforgettable post-surgery jokeresque smile. He left her speechless.
The way i realized that my owing the IRS money and my hesitancy to make right was part of the problem the people i was marching elbow to elbow with were making a ruckus about.
The granola and croissants and hot coffee being handed out in the park.
Marching next to Anne Hathaway's fine ass.
The camaraderie and competition amongst media photographers who secretly hoped this deal would get either good or bad enough that someone could come up with a Pulitzer.
The way i would sink into a coma as soon as i would lay down on whatever couch i was sleeping on that night after a full day of marching and shooting.
The day my very dignified but no nonsense Aunt Paula went left and called some guy named Garrett a douche when he was trolling my photographs on Facebook and taking brave shots from the comfort of his computer chair.
Gutterpunks with lawyer's phone numbers written on their arms and ripped jeans.
The eruption of the crowd at 6am on October 14th when it was announced that Bloomberg had taken a step back and wouldn't be clearing the park that morning.
The sadness we all felt in November when they finally did come in and revealed the patterned lit pavement that had been buried and forgotten beneath us the whole time.
And the way i came home and found Texas' docility and oblivion to what i had just left damn near sacrilegious.
These feelings swept me away, all for different reasons. Some universal and communal, some personal and even selfish. I think Occupy was as much of a fulfillment of what many of us needed in our personal lives as it was the necessary broadcasting of issues that the world collectively needed to consider. It meant a lot to so many.
And it was simply a beautiful idea whose time had come. For those of us who were there in body or spirit, it really felt that way.
photograph taken in Zucotti Park on November 17th