Reflections of a different New York kind of holiday!
November 26th, 2001
It is Thanksgiving afternoon; the day has been spent watching
Parade and settling more things into the little house on the
banks of the
Claverack creek we closed on two weeks ago. It is as peaceful
here as it is
chaotic in the city. The house is situated on the southern
end of two acres,
all of it edging the creek which flows slowly by me as I sip
We came up here to begin looking on the 7th of September
and it was the first
place we looked at and, after looking at several others, realized
it was and raced back to make an offer. Thankfully, it was
Last night, after picking Tripp up at the train station we
came "home" as
this is what this little place has become. It has become the
home we have
been looking for in New York. We have an apartment in New
York and a home in
the country, where we can think and be and rest.
Yet there is a sense of being connected, of all of this being
part of one
continuum, the city and the country, one life being lived
with some sense.
It was what I felt last night, more strongly than I have,
perhaps, ever felt.
A sense of home. Not just with this physical house but with
this life I am
living and the location in which I am living it.
I have lived in many places. I dont know that I have
felt at home in any of
them the way I felt at home here, last night. A sense of rightness
and place that is both peace inducing and life affirming.
I had some moments
of that in Los Angeles in the 80s. It is good
to like my life, what I am
doing, where I am and the people who inhabit my world
all over the world.
This sense of being at home is, to maintain the theme of
these articles, a
result and an outgrowth of September 11th. Tripp has often
said to me: you
are always looking for the next thing as opposed to savoring
the now thing.
And he has always been right. It is an outgrowth of a Minnesota
upbringing in an upwardly mobile middle class family with
While other things in my life have reminded me of the finite
quality of life,
I have not listened to those messages the way this message
communicated to me. It is one thing to see an individual life
it is another thing to see thousands of lives snuffed out
in a mad moment and
to witness icons fall. In the dust of the Towers the message
could not be
clearer. From dust to dust. It is my responsibility to live
the moments in
On this Thanksgiving, here in Claverack, I know that this
world event has
changed me and so I sit here, grateful we grabbed the chance
to have a
retreat and grateful we have New York to which we can be anchored.
now, I can not imagine another life, nor can I imagine going
back to the life
I was living before.
This is the first year in seventeen in which I have not flown
at least a
100,000 miles and as much I could not imagine not doing that
then, I can no
longer imagine enjoying it again as I did when I was. It took
a toll on me
and I feel like a recovering traveler. Hello, my name is Mathew
and I am a
Working in television, the wild and exhausting --
ride through the dot com
boom and bust, the years spent working with the Television
Academy, all of it
are things I am grateful for because it helps me see perspective
moment, with the creek flowing by.
Yesterday, I woke feeling as if we had turned some small
corner with all of
the events of the last two months, that we were to have some
respite but as I
listened to the news while sipping my coffee and watching
my creek flow by I
heard that an elderly lady had contracted inhalation anthrax
in some remote
part of Connecticut.
My sense of peace slipped away and I breathed in, treasuring
the moment I
have right now.
An age of innocence has passed for us and the somber reality
of a turbulent
century beginning to unfold before us is in front of us. I
do not know,
honestly, if I yearn for the time before. This feels more
real, because we
are aware that it is all so temporary, it can go in an hour.
The sinking of the Titanic was such a moment in the collective
The loss of the Twin Towers is another. The world will never
be the same
and the decades that follow will echo with the images and
the literature of
this disaster just as the last century echoed with the images
and words that
followed the loss of the ship "that God himself couldnt
sink," a loss that
shattered the confidence of an entire society.
I finish writing this, knowing I am changed and working to
more importantly, enjoy the changes I am experiencing. Somehow
I feel freed
but I do not know exactly from what it is that I have
been freed. In the
crossing of the Rubicon, I somehow found liberation. It is
a current mystery
I will seek answers for in the unfolding tomorrows.