Where’s my tribe, my kindred spirits?

Those concrete and carbon monoxide, city lovers? All those folks who are awestruck from the architecture of buildings old and new. All the urban vampires who get their energy and sustenance from the hustle and bustle through the concrete canyons?

It has now been firmly established that I cannot, simply cannot live without a view of trees and sky or the sounds (and sight) of birds. I need these like the very air to breathe. BUT –

The only time in my entire life, all 73 and half years (so far) that I did not have that/those, was the four years I lived in Philadelphia. That’s when I learned that what I had always taken for granted – trees and sky and birds – was essential to my well being. ESSENTIAL.

I lived in NYC for 44 years and always, always had that – and the most perfect view was when I was living in the middle of Manhattan – yes, the damn birds woke me every morning around 5am, and yes, my third floor windows looked directly into lush trees BUT if I lifted my gaze, just a bit, I could see the Empire State Building. Now that is perfection!

I read all these blogs where folks wax rhapsodic about “Nature” – many of them live in rural areas or suburban areas. They have ‘gardens’ and lawns and forests. They spend time hiking through wooded areas, are passionate about it. I enjoy reading these blogs. I don’t understand their enthusiasms, and I certainly would not want to share these environments in real life but I am often amazed at their knowledge of the natural world (as some call it) and it is all very fascinating to read about and look at the photos – and that’s where I draw my line.

There were times when people would ask if I was getting away from the city for the weekend. And I would reply – “Why? What for?” And they would reply “To get out in the country, of course!” Um, what did the country have that the city didn’t?

The country is a one-trick pony. Whereas the city – the whole damn circus, baby! Have you ever been to Central Park? Or the Bronx Zoological Society? Or the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens? And yes, I have gone skiing – in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

Yes, that is New York City and there aren’t many like it in the USA – but still. Cities, with a few notable exceptions (Philadelphia!), usually have it all. Or close to. The country will never have it all – it will only ever be ‘the country’.

I do not understand, and I mean this with all sincerity and bemusement, why all the inspirational claptrap advocates, urges, nay, demands that we must all return to ‘Nature’ to find peace and solace. I am happy and appreciative that ‘the country’ exists and may it always be so. I mourn the loss of forests, their flora and fauna, of clean and clear water river, lakes, streams. They are beautiful and essential to the well being of the ENTIRE planet, and in small doses, essential to my personal well being BUT

I don’t want to live there. They are not my essential soul and essence. They don’t strike awe in my heart or bring peace to my soul. The Grand Canyon is just a huge hole in the ground, the desert is a whole bunch of sand, and I prefer sand, if sand there must be, adjacent to an ocean. And mountains, well, a lot of dirt and rocks. (Wow – that’s big! And-so?)

If nature brings you joy and peace and calm – whether it’s your back garden or a forest or just a couple of acres that you call your own and you like to interact with it – planting, mowing, tending and growing – I am so happy for you. Happy you have found your place and happy to read about it, truly I am.

But you’re not my people, not my tribe. Where are the people who can walk up Fifth Avenue on a sunny Spring day and be stopped in their tracks by the breathtaking sight of the sun glinting off the Chrysler Building?

Or be reduced to tears by the wonderment of looking out over Central Park on a late Autumn afternoon, the setting sun transforming the gold and red leaves of the trees into a fantasy of light and shadows, and the turrets and towers and spires of The Dakota in the distance conjure flights of imagination into magical places that never existed.

It’s not just New York City – The world is filled with cities that evoke such emotions and people who are filled with ineffable joy to be amongst the wonders of nature and man. To be alone from, and yet, together with, members of their tribe.

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