While many consider miracles a thing of the past, New York man Kellogg Tracey experiences spiritual magic every single day, courtesy of the "Old River East" - more commonly known as the East River.
"That Old River East is a boon to my spirit and a salve to my soul," says Tracey. "I gaze out upon those steely blue waters, and my soul is healed. Yes, I am born again."
The 80-year-old Tracey, who resides in the rough-and-tumble section of Manhattan's East Village known as Alphabet City, is no stranger to inner demons and generally tough times. Darkness and despair plague his weary and troubled old heart - to the extent that he often awakens wondering whether he can summon the fortitude to carry on for even just one more day.
Fortunately, however, the sight of the East River in the early-morning hours never fails to help.
"No matter how crushing the loneliness," says Tracey, "no matter how utterly wretched I feel, I know that all I need to do is hit that old river road. Once I find my way down to the banks of that Old River East, my burdens will be relieved."
Unlike many of the performance-focused joggers and bikers who frequent the paved athletic trail that winds through the East River Park, Tracey does not adhere to a structured fitness routine, preferring instead to find his own unique way to get his heart a-pumpin'.
As Tracey explains it, "Sometimes I trudge that old river road, and sometimes I saunter or skip or even leap. I move as the spirit moves me, I roll with the swells and flow of that Old River East. And as the sunlight dances on those river waves, a light stirs within me. And I find new life."
On sunny days, says the old man, the East River glows bright and blue, shimmering and shining like the eyes of an angel. And even on overcast days, Tracey asserts, the river glimmers enchantingly in the ambient light. Indeed, Tracey says that he takes particular inspiration from the sunbeams that dance on the river surface on those overcast, gloomy days so common in the Big Apple.
"That old river, he don't need much light to sparkle," says Tracey. "Oh, and sparkle he do! That Old River East smiles right up at me, bringing goodness and healing to the deepest depths of my soul - yes, bringing salvation."
Given the immense comfort and solace the East River has provided him over the decades, Tracey explained that he does his best to return the favor.
"That old river, he loves me every day," recounts Tracey. "And every morning, I gaze upon his waters with gratitude and affection, and I say, 'I love you, too, Old River East. I love you, too.'"