winter wonderland, city vs. country

What a joy this morning! I thought of something and stopped myself after typing a paragraph into my phone. I have a blog, I remembered. I can share a fully formed idea!

So, still in my jammies, I have this to share.

Many of you can’t imagine why anyone would live in Manhattan. Snow, of all things, brought an explanation to mind. Specifically, an image on facebook of an elderly woman stuck to the ice in her driveway while juggling a roasting pan she was trying to get into the back of her car.

It reminded me of my last winter in a little house I rented in Hershey, Pa., while working my first real job. I was a reporter in the state capitol, about a 25 minute drive away.

The winter of 1992-93 was epic in Pennsylvania. (Or was it ’93-’94?) In any case, we got perhaps a foot of snow early on, followed shortly thereafter by a hard rain that froze atop the snow, creating a sort of permafrost that lingered for months. It snowed more. It froze more. Many mornings I awoke to a half inch of ice frozen to the windshield of my red Toyota Tercel that had to be tended to before I could get to work. I was 23. I didn’t know that hurling a bucket of hot water on frozen glass could have shattered the windshield, so I did it, morning after morning, in a hurry to get to the newsroom. The windshield held, but twice that winter I had my car towed into or out of my driveway.

Yesterday, it snowed steadily all day in New York and it was a far different story.

The subway whisked me 90 blocks south in 20 minutes. The sidewalks were a little slushy, but otherwise clear, shoveled by superintendents of apartment buildings and shopkeepers.

During my photography class, I huddled under an awning to keep my camera a little protected. I needed only cross the street for a tall skim hot chocolate, no shoveling out the car and drive to the shopping center if I happened to be out of milk.

There are many wonderful things about living in the suburbs or the country, don’t get me wrong. I miss the pristine, wide-aisled grocery stores carrying everything from organic raspberries to salon-quality conditioner. (I can get both within steps of my apartment, but it’s annoying that they aren’t under the same roof.) I miss being able to walk out my door onto a porch or deck to sit in the sun when I first wake up, without having to change out of whatever I slept in. I would definitely have a dog if I could let him run in a neatly fenced yard. Instead, I have cats.

For you, if you live in Huntsville, Alabama (Hi Betty!) or Raleigh, North Carolina (Hi Liz!), the calculus may be different. I love that about America. But I wanted to share these little details of one day in NYC to explain one of the thousand reasons why I still call this home. And yes, you can find a little nature too:

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Thanks for allowing me to share. Would love to see some comments on the little things you love about living here in New York, if you do, or wherever it is you call home.

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