country mouse

Upper West Side Backyards, Joergen Geerds, 2008, All Rights Reserved

Saturday is a softer day to arrive in the city.
Less honking, less sirens, less helicopters circling, less rushing, less children whining.

And yet, almost immediately, I feel engulfed by the enormity of the population here, lives stacked upon lives, in high rise after high rise, while my closest neighbor in the Vermont is a pond or a hill or several acres away.

My thoughts go to trash.
And water.

At how travel is a muscle.

At how I must come to the city more often before my aging awareness becomes brittle with fear.

I’ve traveled to cities on four continents, including this one, several times before, but something about this trip, just past 50, with a growing awareness of the future–beyond me–leaves me feeling hopeless.

I crawl into an unfamiliar bed before dark, feeling crowded, and alone; intruded upon and abandoned; seriously homesick; until a familiar friend greets me high in the sky out this fourth story window.

Even here, hundreds of miles away from my mountain home, the moon’s glow soothes me to sleep.

Sunday is a sweet day to wake in the city. So much coffee. So many bagels and newspapers. So many kind, traveling faces. Such a slowing of the hustle and bustle.

I cross Central Park. I cruise the Impressionist Wing at the MET. I register at the United Nations. I march in a parade for International Women’s Day. I buy crusty bread and cheese. I ride the subway and think: Look at ALL these people living harmoniously together.

I stay up too late.
I crawl into bed excited for a new day of exploration.

Just before I drift off, I look out my fourth story to window to see not one, but two moons in the sky, until someone turns out her lights in the high rise across the street.

(for country mouse II, click here)

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