Crowd Surfing

I don’t know why, but I love walking thru crowds. Walking thru crowds with music playing in my ears. Just observing people, watching them for that half a second, trying to form an impression of someone that I may never see again – I have half a second – who are they – what can I learn from their clothes, their walk, their hair, their presence, that scent they leave on the wind.
Eye contact is so much of crowd surfing – looking at faces, cheeks bright in the cold morning air. Some eyes are vacant, some preoccupied, and some I never see. Joyous eyes, weary eyes, flashing eyes, proud eyes, smoldering eyes, damp eyes, innocent eyes, guilty eyes - one sees them all in the space of seven minutes in the crowd. People don’t hide as much in crowds – we don’t expect to be seen there. It’s all so fast – so quick – the stories that these faces weave in my mind, are like a vapor that is here and then gone.
I see the close walkers, the plowers, the stand-and-talkers. I watch the weavers, the couples, the large groups. The awkward hand holders, the comfortable hand holders, the umbrella sharers, the wet, the cold – the "Oh how they must be cold with all that showing".

They all pass by, moving on with life. Moving on towards something better than the wet concrete, slick with rotting leaves, better than the puddles, and the wind, and the crowds. I see the crowd part unconsciously as I approach, no eye contact, no obvious movement, just slight and subtle changes in direction, and the crowd opens up. And I dive in. Swallowed up in a sea of humanity, making for the opposite shore.

Get to class - get to work - get home.
Get to class – get to work – get home.
Get to class – get to work – get home.

Then something happens - I see a friend – a face I know – all the other faces and noise fall away – we stop - the crowd moves on – past us – around us – as aware of us as the river is of the rock.

All the faces go, only one matters, only one.


  1. Really enjoy your posts, Neil
    - Tim M.

  2. Tim! Thanks Man, it means a lot to hear.

  3. Once again Neil you say so much in so little space. Your thoughts are so deep and awe inspiring. Thank you sir for your thoughts.

  4. Just in case I haven't told you lately, your photography skills are insane. Lost Hats = je t'aime beaucoup!