Monday, April 23, 2007

Huntington, Long Island, April 2007

I spent Saturday night and Sunday out of the city, which as every New Yorker knows is all-important for the maintenance of sanity. You've got to escape now and then, even if it's just for a short time. You have to be able to look up and see stars and hear birds and walk around barefoot on the grass.

I went to visit my friends Rich and Luis, who live in Huntington, a town near the north shore of Long Island. They've got a great house and a great yard, where I took these photos of yellow-blooming forsythia, which is abundant at this time of year. I spent Sunday morning sitting in that chair, soaking up sunshine like a dessicated sponge and listening to a robin singing from the rooftop.

I sometimes wonder if I'll ever move back to suburbia. I grew up in a suburban environment but for as long as I can remember I longed to live in a city, even as a child. I used to lock my bedroom and call it my "apartment," and when I finally got to move to North Tampa as a college student I thought I was really Living the Life (even though I lived first in a dorm and then in a slum). A city is where I've always imagined myself and where I'm happiest.

But having a yard would feel so spacious, and I never minded yard work. I like plants and gardening, and I like the trees and the birds and having a lower level of background hum. (Not that I am entirely deprived of nature - as I lie in bed writing this, I hear lots of birds in the horse chestnut treet outside my window, along with the muffled rumble of traffic on Third Avenue.) Walking through the congestion of Times Square makes me think that even enduring home maintenance wouldn't be a bad thing.

I could see myself moving back to a house in, say, twenty or thirty years, when I get older - especially if I have a partner. The city seems like it would be really difficult for an older person, though I see plenty of elderly people here, and there are many services designed to help them get around and be self-sufficient. I think my desire for the bucolic countryside may be stronger by then.

Meanwhile, I'm happy with my weekend visits to suburbia.

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