“My father kept in his desk a beautiful map of our city, an enormous panorama. The city rose toward the center of the map, honeycombed streets, half a street, a gap between houses. That tree of codes shone with the empty unexplored. Only a few streets were marked. The cartographer spared our city. One could see, wavily reflected in the display windows, the inhabitants of the city – creatures of weakness, of voluntary breaking down, of immersion in an easy intimacy, of secret winks, cynical gestures, raised eyebrows. Only a few people noticed the lack of color, as in black-and-white photographs. This was real rather than metaphorical, a colorless sky, an enormous geometry of emptiness, a watery anonymous gray which did not throw shadows and did not stress anything, a screen placed to hide the true meaning of things, a façade behind which there was an overintense coloring. Exhausted by passivity, the poses and postures, the shifting weight from foot to foot. We find ourselves part of the tree of codes. Reality is as thin as paper. Only the small section immediately before us is able to endure, behind us sawdust in an enormous theater. But, we are attracted by the pretense of a city. The crowds speak about it with pride and a knowing look, self-conscious of its role, a sleepy procession of puppets. The crowd flows by indistinctly, never reaching sharpness of outline. The tree of codes suddenly appears: one can see the line transform the street. Our city is reduced to the tree of codes. And yet, and yet – the last secret of the tree of codes is that nothing can ever reach a definite conclusion. Nowhere as much as there do we feel possibilities, shaken by the nearness of realization. The atmosphere becomes possibilities and we shall wander and make a thousand mistakes. We shall wander along yet not be able to understand. The tree of codes was better than a paper imitation.”
- Tree of Codes, Jonathan Safran Foer
This is one of my favorite quotes. I thought you would like it, seeing as how it is all about maps, cities, people watching, and so much more. This picture is one of my favorite views in the world. Pretty unimpressive? It's from Gina's apartment in Paris. I woke up to this view for three weeks last year and one weekend this summer and I never got tired of it. Tonight I'm thankful for cities, possibilities, books, and favorite quotes.