Saturday, December 8, 2012


Two zebras on a snowy plain stop me, mid-run. They are surrounded by mountains. And ensnared in a static block of ice. Zebras so out of their element that it's like seeing them for the first time. How many visitors to New York City identify with their stilled confusion? I do. 

The zebras hover, wary, over a parking lot adjacent to the High Line in Manhattan. Their disorientation is our art — the High Line a living, changing artscape. The Empire State Building presides from the northeast. The Hudson River flows, just to the west. Tenth Avenue delivers a perpetual surge of traffic northward.

These aren't the only disoriented zebras I've seen today. In "Life of Pi" a zebra leaps from a sinking ship and lands in a lifeboat. The movie, a gem by Ang Lee, and the book by Yann Martel, trap us just as surely in rectangular worlds every bit as strange and beautiful and wrenching. 

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