I spent about a few years living in Pennsylvania. I remember being about five or so when we moved into a little townhouse on the side of a mountain. It didn’t mean much to me then, but in hindsight, that’s pretty wild. I could just look up and see more of the mountain range in the distance. I remember, even then, how small and inconsequential I felt. Obviously, as an adult, I can verbalize much better how startling the contrast was. But there’s something beautiful about a feeling that you can’t quite or don’t want to put into words.
I guess what I’m getting at is that I’ve always associated my childhood with the backwoods of Saw Creek, Pennsylvania much more than the concrete jungle of NYC I was birthed in.
Maybe it was the air. It was always sweet and fragrant.
Maybe it was the tap water. Nah, just I’m just clowning. That tasted pretty bad.
Maybe it was the stars that winked at me during the night. They were comically vivid.
Maybe it was the array of wildlife I saw. Deer would come onto the lawn.
Maybe it was all of these things. Maybe it was none of them. This was more than fifteen years ago, after all. My memories could just be distorted and all.
But I distinctly remember a creek behind the place we rented out. Compared to the only other natural body of water I had seen at the point in my life, Jones Beach, the difference was startling. I could see right through. The sunlight glinting off the fish. The little pebbles buried deep into the bedrock. I’d see people walking down the road with their catch of the day.
Nothing was ever rushed. If anything, we were the odd ones out. No one else locked their doors, and that made us the strange ones. Weird shit, right?
It was a slow life there. A peaceful one. A good one, even. If you were into having nature as your backyard. This is the kind of place Ralph Waldo Emerson would’ve advertised for his whole ‘return to nature’ thing.
But honestly, at this point in my life, I don’t see myself ever going back. It was just too stagnant. Maybe it’s the pollution here that’s messed with my mind. I like to think it’s the bomb-ass food and that sense of urgency only NYC has.
Saw Creek, Pennsylvania is where I see people going to live out their lives and die. And I don’t feel I’m quite there yet.
I guess I’m happy that I’ve traded the natural landscape, animals, and wood nymphs back for tall buildings, expensive cigarettes, and the godawful MTA (still way better than the NICE buses to LI, though).
I don’t see myself leaving the concrete jungle anytime soon.