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  • Look in the upper left corner of this photo, and you'll see black balloons tied together with a small message attached to them.

    This is the view uptown from my office window in Soho.

    The view is a constant distraction. Sometimes it is beautiful, especially when a weather front sweeps across the Hudson or when a Peregrine Falcon glides by. But sometimes it is scary, like when US Airways flight 1549 crashed and floated down the river. The people on the wings looked tiny, vulnerable.

    Last week, when this photo was taken, a few dozen people got laid off or "let go" as people in my office like to say. I noticed that when people get laid off they take almost nothing with them except for photos of family members. I wondered what these people were going to do for money now.

    Then the balloons raced by my window.

    The words "let go" popped into my head. Who had let go of black balloons with a perfectly balanced message attached to them? Who would do such a wonderfully childish thing? Who would choose black? The set-up appeared so artfully constructed. They were ominous yet beautiful.

    My wife is pregnant so I'm happy that I still have a job but I admit that when I saw those black balloons, I felt a little jealous of the people moving on. Both balloons and people were forced into a scary but exciting new atmosphere. "Let go" but also "set free" to potentially follow truer paths.

    Or is "set free" just another shallow euphemism to explain away what happened?

    I can't decide.
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