August 22nd, 2002


Rain on the roof, time on my hands

It’s interesting, despite my being a born and bred New Yorker the rural life holds a strange fascination for me. Something about both the reduced pace of life and the fact that out here things look like they should. The ground is green with grass, the roadsides are cluttered with foliage, and the sky has either clouds or stars in it at night...none of this light polution bullshit. I’ve been reading a local paper from up here and it’s just...fascinating in a way. In New York a triple homicide can get a little blurb somewhere towards the back of the metro section of the Times. This paper devotes a whole page to the fact that some guy donated a wooden toy train to the local museum. There’s something incredibly comforting about the idea of a place that can be grasped like that. Where everything is so predictable and comprehensible that even the donation of a toy train causes ripples in the local pond. In New York City if you want to cause ripples you best be dropping a meteor. On a celebrity. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a writer. I’m ambitious and I have a desire, no a need, to make a difference, but I’d also love to be able to just go walking in the woods every day. I’d love to live in a place where life is about more than rushing from one apointment to another and where recreation doesn’t require a reservation at all.

I had a good day today. Went Kayaking just a little and even did a tad of swimming. Last time I wasn’t able to force myself to interact with the lake/tomb until it was just about time to go. I figure that before I leave this time I will be able to deal with some serious boating or swimming. Of course I’ve also dropped some pounds since last time which helps in maneuvering the boat and giving it some speed. It also reminds me that I have a ways to go since I can’t go nearly as fast or effortlessly as I used to. I have regained some of that cockiness I’ve always had around water, where I treat it like an old friend that I don’t need to give false modesty or respect to. I don’t understand why some people are afraid of water. It’s not only neccesary for life but it’s also the most forgiving substance on earth. Water isn’t some black beast trying to drown you, it’s a kindly gentleman trying to lift you up and hold you in his arms if you’ll only let him. In summer camp or what have you there were always better ball players and runners but I was always one of the top swimmers. I was the kid who could collect all four colored batons without ever coming up for air.

For Dinner today we went over to some distant cousins (we have lots of family up here...a real change compared to New York City where we see family only slightly less frequently than we see street vendors selling anything that a sane person would buy) and had some delicious home cooking. The conversation wasn’t half bad either...even though the youngest person besides my mother and I was 75 and there was an 83 year old guy who is writing memoirs about this region. They talked about all the things that sophisticated aging people talk about, politics, art, kids, grandkids, work, the difficulties encountered by their gifted children etc... I really prefer that kind of conversation to the classless blatherings about hooking up and bad entertainment that so entrance the youth of today. I sort of wish I’d grown up in the atmosphere that they describe, where people knew their roles and wealth had to be accompanied with a degree of class and bearing. Where a “well-bred” gentleman was still a meaningful term. Now I know that the cost of keeping such a system afloat was borne to a large degree by the underclasses, the minorities, and the longhairs, but damn it we buy shoes made in sweatshops every day. I can wax nostalgic over a gilded age that I missed no matter how rotted the structure beneath the external gold leaf. Talking to these kinds of people makes me want to put on a cap and go make it in the world. Start a family and settle into the deceptive simplicity of living. Of course the world is far too complex for that sort of thinking these days, everything’s unraveled from the jobs to the women, but it’s a nice, quaint image.

I find myself pleasantly reverting to the man I feel myself to be the longer I’m up here. The crassness and anger fades with the morning dew and there’s much more...enthusiasm for the little things. I enjoy splashing around in the water or sprawling out on a soft couch and I don’t need to put a pessimistic spin on it that I’m wasting time or letting my life slip away unsampled. Give me lichen and moss over junkies and goths every day of the week.

There’s more to say but I don’t have the energy or the patience to say it. I should be sleeping, getting ready for a tomorrow fraught with possibility and freedom. Today’s rain didn’t dampen my parade so I can’t wait for tomorrow’s sunshine and the light it will bring to it. In the city I like things rainy but up here I’m all for blue skies and tufty white clouds that barely hint of the potential of rain.

Truth is I feel happy. And when that’s the case what is done is hardly as important as the mood in which it is accomplished. The mood is, itself, an accomplishment of sorts.
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