Monday, October 16, 2006


Perhaps this story is illustrative about why New Yorkers should never leave their urban environs. Or maybe it's illustrative as to why we should. You tell me.

This weekend I went away on a little retreat from the city, upstate near New Paltz. It was time to gain a little perspective on the unnecessarily growing ball of fury that was crowding my chest space, in part thanks to spending ten consecutive weeks in NYC. I tend to get a little antsy and pissy if I don't get away every now and again, and I was overdue. So I tallied forth from the city on Friday night for a weekend of long runs on country roads, noshing on organic veg, campfires, nature, and talking about the Big Stuff with some friends.

This barn is one of the first things I saw on the first morning upstate. I wondered to myself: What is behind that barn? I explored, and this guy is what I found. I mean, look at that face! What are you going to do but run over and try to attach your palm to the forehead of this creature?

Unfortunately, in my haste to be at one with nature and beasts of burden and all that, I failed to see the sign tacked to the sign of the barn that screamed: "BEWARE: ELECTRIC FENCE!" I went over to throw my arms about this horse's neck, and instead of receiving a warm nuzzle and whinney, I received a really eye-opening electric shock that threw my arm off the fence and me reeling backwards. Kind of like trying to date in the city, or something.

Anyway, after I recovered I realized that if I studiously avoided the fence, the horses (there were three) and I could still make friends. Roaming around the farm, I found a group of quacking ducks, a rooster house, and hen house with weird exotic birds -- not the heavy-breasted Tyson robochickens we all think of when we think of white meat. I found a stream with a windmill, and this huge old cemetery next door, which was a lovely and quiet place to walk at sunrise and reflect.

The ball of fury disipated over the weekend and thankfully I'm feeling much more sane today than I was a couple weeks ago. Was it the organic veg, my new friend Mr. Horse, or a weekend in nature with good people? The answer became clear on the bus on the way home.

"So, how does getting shocked by an electric fence make you *feel*?" one of my friends asked.

And I answered truthfully: "Less bipolar."

A beat, and then we laughed. We looked out the window as the colorful trees gave way to overpasses and warehouses, and we steeled ourselves for the week to come.


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