Central Park on a warm autumn night is cool on the skin, the tang of changed leaves fluttering in soft breezes. Runners and cyclists and couples circle around the loops of pavement weaving between trees, but the real breath of the park is in the dark forest trails where it’s empty except for lights as snow-white as crystals melting in the sun.
The tunnel of purple-dark trees is blanketed with changed leaves: oranges and golds and scarlets flicking in the fingertips of wind brushing the treetops.
Deeper in the trails, there are failed lights and oceans of dark filled with whispers. Crashing through trees, muttering, echoing laughter. Lone figures stalking in shadows, shuffling with hidden purpose.
This is the time when you feel the city around you, but can’t quite seem to get back to it. You wander identical trails trying to dodge roaming shapes, peering through bushes wondering at noises. Lights flick through the treetops, skyscrapers disappearing into gloom, and you can realize how separate life is in a city of millions, how one person- and many- can be lost in the woods while others live in the clouds.
And, as you cross a deserted bridge back to the paved, cyclical loops of the familiar, you’ll look behind your shoulder and fondly remember the sense of the fantastic, danger imagined from mystery until made real by chance, before racing back to the streets away from the woods and down the corridors sulking in the imprints of skyscrapers.