I looked at my iPhone trying to figure out which way to go. Google Maps was trying to guide me through the labyrinth that is Central Park. I had a rare day to myself and I was giddy. I walked briskly, trying to stay warm and wanting to get to my destination as quickly as possible. The crisp, chilly air was helping with the jet lag. So was the excitement of being in NYC. As I continued my jaunt, I happened upon 2 roads. Google Maps showed me which path to go but something inside me told me to take the other. I had no idea where the other path would lead which made me nervous. I may get lost. It may delay my journey. Or it may be an adventure. For once in a very long time, I had no schedule. I had no meetings or shoots to run to. I could do whatever I wanted. And I did. I took the other road. While Google Maps was scrambling trying to reroute me, I turned a corner. And there it was. This beautiful, brilliant tree. And I just stood there. In complete awe. I’d never seen anything like it. I sat there for a few minutes just looking at this tree. It was one of those moments where only one word could describe it. Magical.
The detour did cost me quite some time but it didn’t dampen my day. In fact, the complete opposite. Stumbling upon that tree set the tone for the rest of my day. I spent the afternoon getting lost inside the American Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium. I stayed til closing and then just walked down 5th Avenue. I had nowhere to go but I just wanted to walk and take in the city as day turned to dusk. Somehow I found myself at Le Bernardin, sitting happily alone at the bar, sipping on a cocktail as the most delicious dishes I’ve ever tasted were presented to me one after another. I was in heaven. I knew after a meal like that I couldn’t just end my day by going home so I hopped in a cab and told the driver where I needed to go. No, not Tiffany’s. I ended my perfect day standing on top of the Empire State Building, feeling like I was on top of the world. Here I was in one of my favorite cities, it was Fall, I had just met the most incredible man 2 days prior who would turn out to be the love of my life, and I felt alive. Really alive. For the first time in a long time I spent the day doing what I wanted to do without having to worry about anyone or anything else. This was one of the happiest days of my life and I will never forget the feeling of pure joy I had being on a date with myself in an incredible city. I had never felt as whole or as content as I did in that moment.
This is one of my favorite photos ever. It reminds me of the moment I decided to choose the other path. To listen to my gut, get out of my comfort zone, be a little adventurous, and slow down and enjoy the time you have. It reminds me that you never know what beauty awaits you even when the rest of the world is cold and grey. It reminds me that life can be what you choose it to be.
It reminds me of a girl who promised herself to never forget the feeling she carried in her heart that one perfect Fall day. It reminds me to find that girl and that feeling again. And to always look for the bursts of color amidst all the grey.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.