Now the evening's at its noon, its meridian. The outgoing tide has simmered down and there's a lull-like the calm in the eye of a hurricane - before the reverse tide starts to set in.The last acts of the three-act plays are now on and the after-theater eating places are beginning to fill up with early comers; Danny's and Lindy's - yes and Horn & Hardart too. Everybody has got where they wanted to go - and that was out somewhere. Now everybody will want to get back where they came from - and that's home somewhere. Or as the coffee-grinder radio, always on the beam, put it at about this point: 'New York, New York, it's a helluva town, The Bronx is up, the Battery's down, And the people ride around in a hole in the ground.Now the incoming tide rolls in; the hours abruptly switch back to single digits again and it's a little like the time you put your watch back on entering a different time zone. Now the buses knock off and the subway expresses turn into locals and the locals space themselves far apart; and as Johnny Carson's face hits millions of screens all at one and the same time, the incoming tide reaches its crest and pounds against the shore. There's a sudden splurge, a slew of taxis arriving at the hotel entrance one by one as regularly as though they were on a conveyor belt, emptying out and then going away again.Then this too dies down and a deep still sets in. It's an around-the-clock town, but this is the stretch; from now until the garbage-grinding trucks come along and tear the dawn to shreds, it gets as quiet as it's ever going to get.This is the deep of the night, the dregs, the sediment at the bottom of the coffee cup. The blue hours; when guys' nerves get tauter and women's fears get greater. Now guys and girls make love, or kill each other or sometimes both. And as the windows on the 'Late Show' title silhouette light up one by one, the real ones all around go dark. And from now on the silence is broken only by the occasional forlorn hoot of a bogged-down drunk or the gutted-cat squeal of a too sharply swerved axle coming around a turn. Or as Billy Daniels sang it in Golden Boy: While the city sleeps, And the streets are clear, There's a life that's happening here.(New York Blues)
Cornell Woolrich
But what might a woman say about church as she? What might a woman say about the church as body and bride? Perhaps she would speak of the way a regular body moves through the world—always changing, never perfect—capable of nurturing life, not simply through the womb, but through hands, feet, eyes, voice and brain. Every part is sacred. Every part has a function. Perhaps she would speak of impossible expectations and all the time she’s wasted trying to contort herself into the shape of those amorphous silhouettes that flit from magazines and billboards into her mind. Or of this screwed-up notion of purity as a status, as something awarded by men with tests and checklists and the power to give it and take it away. Perhaps she would speak of the surprise of seeing herself—flaws and all—in the mirror on her wedding day. Or of the reality that with new life comes swollen breasts, dry heaves, dirty diapers, snotty noses, late-night arguments and a whole army of new dangers and fears she never even considered before because life-giving isn’t nearly as glamorous as it sounds, but it’s a thousand times more beautiful. Perhaps she would talk about being underestimated, about surprising people and surprising herself. Or about how there are moments when her own strength startles her and moments when her weakness—her forgetfulness, her fear, her exhaustion—unnerve her. Maybe she would tell of the time, in the mountains with bare feet on the ground, she stood tall and wise and felt every cell in her body smile in assent as she inhaled and exhaled and in one loud second realized, I’m alive! I’m enfleshed! only to forget it the next. Or maybe she would explain how none of the categories created for her sum her up or capture her essence.
Rachel Held Evans