Diary: Finding Some Peace + Quiet

My apartment window, in New York City, faces one of the busiest avenues in the neighborhood. Ambulances and honking drivers are a daily occurrence, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg; if I had a nickel for every time I was shocked out of my beauty sleep at four in the morning by a car blasting shitty rap with its windows down, I could afford a studio in the West Village.

Of course, I’m not complaining (too much, anyway). It’s the city that never sleeps, after all, and this ain’t the suburbs. Noise is a constant here; there’s no getting away from it, not even in the middle of the night.

That does mean, though, that I get precious little time to myself. I’m always surrounded by objects and people; my roommates, co-workers, hobos on the subway. Another constant is the lack of greenery; the lone vestige of nature in our apartment is a sad little houseplant that is chronically dying, and the sidewalk trees are only notable for the amount of trash that accumulates on their roots.

Which meant that I had a hankering to get away from it all. I had heard upstate New York was beautiful from, well, pretty much everyone; but little did I know that, a mere two hours away from bustling Manhattan, I could literally have my pick of the litter of sweeping vistas, crystal-clear lakes, the leaves slowly shedding their green in favor of autumn’s pastels.

I mean, seriously, look at this:


It’s not the biggest lake, and I’m sure it’s not the most beautiful. But for someone whose closest experience with nature over the past year has been trips to the beautiful-yet-completely-artificial Central Park, it was a breath of fresh air (literally). You’d think that the smell of piss-covered subway hobos would be easy to get used to; it wasn’t!

Oh yeah, and there was also a mountain to climb (and views to gape at):


And a bunch of leaves, I guess:


I suppose I should mention where I went: Bear Mountain State Park, a popular day-trip getaway for nature-deprived New Yorkers such as myself. Fair warning: it does get pretty packed – we arrived a little before noon, and cars were already backed up for about a half-mile behind the parking area.

But boy, is it worth it.




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