The other day I visited the most magical place in the world by accident. It exists at sunset between the Triborough and Hell Gate Bridges in the northern most tip of Queens, New York. There, decades of broken glass litter the shoreline and ring with the lapping of every wave. The resulting sound is that of wind chimes, crystalline starlight, and a million tiny bells all serving to create a state of tranquil harmony. No crime committed could be too egregious not to be cleansed by the sounding of the green and brown shards suspended in salt water caressing the stony coast.
A plastic bag arose from the park-side refuse cylinder and was carried almost the entire way across the watery expanse of the East River. We watched with abated breath as it bobbed and weaved over the swirling tidal strait like a massive black butterfly. Hundreds of yards and several minutes passed before it finally landed a few feet from the opposing shore. The infamously swift waters took it from our eyes in an instant.
A boy ran up and grabbed the guard rail for dear life only to bark unexpectedly into the crisp fall air. The dogs in the nearby dirt ring park silenced themselves in awe of the child’s passion and zeal. No quadruped that day could hold a candle to the wild majesty of a young human drunk on the energy of the most special place on our planet. He remained there for some time looking across the water at Manhattan, his barking fit over and his mind calmed by the sound of wind and wave. I looked only for a moment but I could see tears in his eyes.
As we walked away I knew that the plastic bag was being hauled down into the depths of the river, pulled under by its strong opposing currents into the murky underdark. It represented hope and, even though it had failed, we were impressed by how far it had come in its impossible quest to cross the river on a single gust of wind. If only we could be so fortunate and bold in our own lives, a meaningful failure would be enough.