Choosing A Place; Making A Stand
The trip down the Hudson River, from the city of Hudson to
New York City, is always spectacularly beautiful -- but even
more so in the glitter and glimmer of the changing of summer
to fall, fall to winter. The route is framed on either side
by the leaves, evolving from green to muted gold a
softer gold this year than last years wild cacophony
The Hudson River is as wide as the Mississippi, on whose banks
I grew up, and as beautiful as any stretch of that river.
It is more beautiful to me because it is the river I have
chosen as opposed to the river I was given.
Speculation is that the wetness of the year has caused the
colors to be transmuted, paler than the year before, softer
and more exhausted.
This week, as I was leaving to go into the city, Rick, the
Hudson City Taxi driver, who regularly fetches me on Monday
mornings, and I discussed the upcoming Hudson elections, which
have merited attention in the New York Times. It is a classic
case, it seems, of a newbies and townies, those who have chosen
this piece of river and this place against those who were
born and raised there.
I am part of the ones who have chosen to settle in the area.
When it became apparent we were not going to return to Los
Angeles after the tech bust, we began to look around for a
home, a place to settle, to call our own. Everything before
had been dictated by the demands of my job[s]. Now we were
free to choose.
We looked around, exploring Columbia County, because of a
tip. We went, we saw, we bought and we have settled in. This
is our home, the place we return to from all journeys. A place
we have chosen and have come to love far more than we had
expected. What started as a place to gather our scattered
possessions and our disorganized lives, has become the place
we will remain. We hope never again to pack up boxes and take
these things, our beloved stuff to any more places.
We have fallen in love with the place, the way people do when
they have decided it is time to finish wandering as
we both have. Tripp spent years in the Air Force, moving from
base to base. I fled my mid-western home in search of the
larger world and have managed to fulfill most of my travel
fantasies, moving around, restlessly, seeing many cities and
I fell into living in Los Angeles; I did not make a conscious
choice. After several years of being there I thought I had
better register to vote. Later, I accepted a job in Washington,
D.C. but had no great desire to live there. I took a job in
the Pacific Northwest, where, isolated from the civilization
I had come to know, discovered I really could not live anywhere.
And that began our search for somewhere though Im
not sure we knew it then. After a year in Los Angeles, James
Green, who was the CEO of the company I was working for, asked
me to come join him in New York. As one of the two best human
beings for whom I have worked, I followed, much to Tripps
chagrin at the time. But east we came. The tech bubble burst;
I ended unemployed and had to figure where to go next.
As it came about, next was where I was. My consulting practice
began to build; Tripp found a job he liked, followed by one
he loved. We went to Columbia County to look for a hideaway
and found a home.
As I live in Claverack, not Hudson, I will not be a participant
in the city elections. But the tensions and the issues that
are facing the city are the same that are facing the region.
We, the newcomers, are changing the landscape of the region,
buying up homes and building businesses that are defining
a future that is a different place from the past.
Rick said this morning that the decisions made now will be
shaping the city in the years to come and no matter
what, it will be a different little city than it is now.
It is true of Columbia County; it is true in California where
voters have chosen to boot out Davis and replace him with
Arnold. It is true of the decisions we will be making in the
months to come when we decide whether or not to give W
a second term.
Locally and nationally, globally, in fact, we are at a crossroads
and as much as in any time, decisions we make now will reverberate
awesomely into the future.