Letter From New York 01 09 15 Glad to be living in a peaceful place…

To the east of me, a family of deer have gathered, huddled together, perhaps against the cold though it was warmed considerably since the plunge of two nights ago. To the south of me, on the creek, are gathered hundreds of geese that have made their first appearance on Claverack Creek in at least year.

Once was that there would be some geese there year round with a massing of them in the fall. Then they went away, just gone. It confused all of us in the neighborhood. Rosemary, one of my neighbors, phoned me of an afternoon to ask me if I had geese on the creek? No, they’ve gone. She told me they were gone from the pond, too; the first time in her forty years of coming to Claverack that there were no geese.

Coming home from the city last yesterday to see if my pipes had frozen, I arrived back in the light and to my amazement found my creek populated again with geese, noisy and rambunctious and almost as plentiful as ever.

This morning, to my great surprise, I woke to find four inches of fluffy white snow on the ground transforming our little circle once again to a winter wonderland. It was deep enough the snowplow came to dig me out. It felt good to wake to the clean and bright countryside.

As I was waking to the geese and fluffy white, two hostage dramas were being played out in Paris. A man held hostages in a kosher market while the Kouachi brothers, suspects in the Charlie Hebdo killings, were holed up, ironically enough, in a printing company. The man at the kosher market claimed he had coordinated his efforts with the brothers.

The man at the market claimed he was with ISIS, which, I think, is normally at odds with the group the Kouachi brothers were involved with, Al Qaeda in Yemen. I guess terror makes for strange bedfellows.

As I sometimes do when news is breaking, I went to twitter to see it unfold in almost real time. And while looking at the twitter feed and reading rapidly updated articles, I was sitting at my window, looking out at the snowy landscape and feeling distanced from the murder and mayhem in Paris.

Wednesday I had dinner with my friend David Wolf, a lawyer in New York, who also has a house in Connecticut, far out of town, surrounded by acres of land. We discussed the perspective being in nature seems to put on the news, how it softens the hard edges of the headlines.

It is quiet here; the only occasional sound is the snowplows clearing the street and the constant chatter of the geese. Quiet and peaceful in Claverack while half a world away there is chaos. I suppose it has always been like this, that there is peace and quiet in most places while others erupt in spurts of violence.

I am delighted I live in one of the peaceful spots where I can watch the sun slowly set in the west, a slight tinge of pink in the sky, a harbinger of better weather tomorrow. May the weather be better and may there be an outbreak of peace tomorrow, too.

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