Monday, October 29, 2007


One can not work with people for many many years without learning to read faces.
Authors read so much into the face. Eyes smolder, light up, crags of sun exposure make the old farmer wise, trusted, presumed innocent of heinous crimes. Babies have all the innocence, can look like and old soul.
Here, in the shadow of Gotham, the faces are telling me stories.
In the liquor store K and I browsed today was a woman who tans too much and has a heavy face despite the small, thin frame of her body. It screams years of sampling her products to lustily.
In the faces of the young here is an innocence but a cynicism. There is a way they hold their heads, move their bodies that makes them never quite face forward, directly at you, but angled as if to either avoid confrontation or to precipit a fast get away from unknown danger. They walk offensively, a pushing of the energy ahead of them that says, I belong here, I am moving forward, do not way lay me, do not think of messing with me.
Adults appear pinched. Jowls and frown lines appear so starkly against faces that I have seen else where that are ready to smile, laugh, admit the sheer joy of living. But here it is as if there is a crushing pressure that pushes the face in to a scowl, a frown, a look of compression.
K has mentioned, and I think I have written it here, that Long Island is where people from The City fled to escape The City.
Imagine Gotham, NEW YORK, NEW YORK; over 8.2 million people (according to Wiki) in about 322 square miles. That population pressure, the sheer pressure of so many people living, breeding, stealing, dying pushes down, not up on a soul. Your pressure valve is east, to the Atlantic. These people look pushed down, compressed, pushing others out of the way so that they might have the space they crave, the elbow room they are denied in The Big Apple.
So I am at the store and see young people looking pinched, pushed down, older than they should be. The teen agers move like mercury rolling out from under the finger pushing down on it.
Down ward pressure is not a good thing for most objects of an organic nature. Pressure on an artery can kill, pressure on a water hose stops life giving fluid from keeping things alive. Crushed stone, ridges in asphalt on roads and cement, changes to a very solid state of matter.
But, but... pressure creates diamonds.
Diamonds on your bling are polished, the crusty outer surface rubbed away and ground away by more pressure, friction.
Although no where near as scarce as the diamond cartels want you to believe, diamonds are uncommon in this polished form.
So, I have to think that I am seeing the diamonds just un-earthed, crusty, dirty, not in the accepted polished beauty we are trained to see, but the hardest substance on earth in its raw form.
I have to look at the brighter side and believe that those pressured scowls and offense, brusque presentations are the outer coating that hide jewels.
Maybe I have just lived where the rain washed off the crust and people shined just a bit more readily, unearthed and free of the pressure. Maybe I am where the pressure is still exerted to finish the product.
I will keep looking at the faces, look for the polished facets. Or maybe I will look at the surface and have faith that below is the beauty inside, hidden under a cover of patina, a disguise to keep that brilliance hidden from most strangers, but not from the people that need, crave and must have that brilliance in their lives.
Shine. Stand in the rain, get rinsed clean and shine.



Anonymous said...

Who won the contest?

Papa Bear said...

Oh! How one so quickly learns that one WAS living in the "Good Old Days" of small towns and friendly faces! You now must think of yourself as a "Pioneer" in reverse. You have more of the Pioneering spirit than I, and you are still young enough to hew out a new home in "Old New York". Fare thee well, and God speed!
Papa Bear