the music below my apartment

This week I got a special treat – I took a 9 hour (yep, 9 hours!) train ride to NYC and visited my older brother Michael and his wife Karessa, my college roommate Pete and his fiancee Kathryn, and my best friend Steph was there with her 4 siblings for the week, too! It was awesome to get to wander the city with lots of people I know. I have felt pretty (ok, VERY) isolated the past 6 weeks, so it was awesome and much-needed to get out of the hills and into a city where I could remind myself that there are people, lots of them, doing interesting things, all the time… just maybe not in Johnson, VT.

On Wednesday, Steph and I went to the Met and saw an exhibit called Big Bambu, which is a massive 50-foot tall bamboo structure that takes up the whole roof of the museum. It looks sort of like a Swiss Family Robinson treehouse – it’s made completely out of bamboo stalks of varying shapes and sizes, and held together exclusively by lots and lots of colorful nylon cord. We took an official tour and so were able to walk up in the structure on paths they had constructed, and there were lots of funny little additions like random lounge chairs woven out of bamboo and even a little guitar made from a big stalk and strung with the nylon string. The coolest thing about the structure is that they are constantly changing and updating it. Every day (well, every day when it isn’t supposed to rain, AKA not the day we were there), the two artists and their team of 10 rock climbers (yes, climbers, there is a cool intellectual job awaiting you out there, too!) work to add, subtract, reshape, and move the structure in all sorts of ways. The artists, who incidentally are two identical twins, are all about organic growth and natural cycles. Thus, their structure looks a bit like a wave, and they update it with the concept of creating a piece that is almost living and breathing. It was very cool. And being with Steph and Pete and Michael and everyone else was very comforting. I felt like at the end of the trip, I should have gotten on a plane and gone back to Colorado.

Alas, all good things must come to an end (why is that, by the way? I’m not so sure I buy that statement as a cultural imperative… but for now we will let it slide because it definitely applies here), and so I arrived back in Johnson last night. Today – guess what! – it rained all day, and the office was freezing because apparently heat is not a popular concept in the remote hills of the northeast. I returned home from work and went for a run through the pouring rain, and have done absolutely nothing else all evening because it is raining and I do not know a single person in this town. Although I know they exist, because they all hang out in the pizza restaurant/bar/only live music venue within a 40-mile radius that is conveniently below my apartment. I have ventured in there only once, and was greeted by the smell of pizza that I have to keep myself from eating because I know once I start allowing myself pizza from a mere 10 vertical feet away, everything is going to go downhill; the enthusiasm of college freshmen who have already figured out that this place clearly does not ID; and two surly looking lumberjacks. I haven’t yet managed to make it back in there for some reason.

So, here I am, alone in my apartment, not so much listening to as feeling the reverberations of low-quality bluegrass coming from the pizza place beneath me. And, ultimately, wishing I could have flown home instead of getting on a train and clanking my way up through the woods to this place that, though I technically live here, is as far from home as I’ve ever been.

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