On Monday, my brother and I went to the Whitney Art Museum in New York. We walked around, reading artist bios and talking about different paintings and media displays. A couple hours later, we left, still discussing our favorite exhibits.
Much later that night, I swiped into the subway station to wait for my train. It was the first time in months I had left my apartment without a book or notebook. I walked to my spot on the platform – the spot that lets me out right at the staircase at my home station. Peak efficiency. Feeling the satisfaction of a nice day off, I glanced up at the overhead clock with its neon red lights.
The next uptown train was 13 minutes away.
Thirteen minutes?! It was just past 10 p.m. How were the trains already on a late-night schedule? I immediately started kicking myself for not bringing my book. I began to pace the platform when I noticed the mosaics on the walls.
For all the times I had been in the 86th St 1 train station, I had never stopped to look at the mosaics on the walls. I walked to the first one and looked at every inch of the frame. I thought about the mosaic, thought about the person who might have made it, thought about the colors and the decisions and every little bit of the design. And then I moved to the next one.
Slowly, slowly, I made my way down the platform, taking in every single mosaic that I had – for years – walked past without a moment’s thought.
I had paid to visit the Whitney Art Museum 12 hours prior and it was beautiful. I enjoyed every second of that. But that night, a new realization was dawning. Art is everywhere.
Nature is everywhere. Beauty is everywhere. Kindness is everywhere.
Before I knew it, I heard the rumbling of my chariot as the 1 train rattled up to the platform, and I felt grateful I had forgotten my book. Grateful for the necessary slow-down. Grateful for the reminder that how we respond to our circumstances is entirely up to us and that what we choose to find in a quiet subway station on a Monday night is up to us too.