Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Night Frolic — For The Children (and Daphne)

What is the use of a house if you don't have a decent planet to put it on? 
~ Henry David Thoreau


The brook is so low it's barely moving. The whole of our little riparian zone here in our corner lot in Suburbaland is a mess with fallen branches, twisted twig, and windswept trash. It looks miserable. This time of year, when mud season creeps in, I always feel like our land is telling us that it would like to be left alone. That it should never have been disturbed. That it wasn't meant to have been developed. We bought it, though, despite my general concerns regarding suburbia, after the cul-de-sac had been close to fully developed, and the biggish house (and in the grand scope of big-home suburbia--land of obscene McMansions--ours is the caretaker's home, which is still more than I care to care for) and pretty wetlands at its border drew us in.

We bought it for quality of life. For the family. We bought it for the school system (which, as it turned out, was rather overrated and spiraled southward soon after we moved in). We bought it because we got more home for the dollar here in lil' Rhody (oh, but the taxes!). We bought it for the dream.

Lately, I've been reading and reassessing our quality of life and what that means to me, my family, our environment, our ecosystems, the world as a whole...

Swift growth outside of urban areas is not unique to Suburbaland. Our town, to which I have before, by way of photo essay, referred, is like many other suburbs that hope to lure families to the dream with biggish new lots on which sit biggish new homes with biggish new lawns (and sometimes littleish lots with biggish homes and littleish lawns) and the pièce de résistance: biggish privacy. Though I'm not well versed in Suburbaland's permitting process, I'd imagine that developers love towns like ours that seem, or at least seemed at one point, quick to hand out building permits. Of course, we all know how that ended. Yet, it hasn't actually ended.

Several years after we moved into town, a new development went up on a hilly parcel of land along an old country road. The land comprised the few remaining untouched acres on this particular part of the road. Right under the bridge of a highway. McMansions set on steep mounds of craggy soil below the highway. I wondered if we needed housing that badly.

Eventually, the homes sold, with the exception of the first house built at the corner of the country road and the new road. What was also sold off was our buffer zone. Trees and brush and any living thing that offered padding from the noise of the expressway was flattened. A half-mile or so away from the new McHood, my neighborhood is now a little bit noisier. But certainly not noisier than the old Boston 'hood, on Comm. Ave., where most services were a walk away, and the T screeched by every fifteen minutes (which I never, ever minded).

It's all relative, as they say.

Still, I reassess. Our mayor, who hitherto has been the champion of town edification, has proposed a plan to create a town center on the protected lands of our old Monastery, in which the town library is housed. It's a beautiful 550 acre swath of grassy tracts, leafy trails and wetlands where I walk and cross country ski, and where the children run cross-country, and while I applaud the idea of a town center, the thought of transforming any portion of this slice of verdant land into what the mayor dubs an "Educational Village," containing a relocated town hall (in perhaps a more desirable location?) is shameful. The reason we don't have a town center is because of historically poor town planning. It's by this same reason, and at the hands of town solicitors and leaders who believe that land conservation easements were meant to be modified, that this community is at risk of losing even more of our valuable fields and woodland. 

So much for Suburbaland's open space priorities

Simply by virtue of living in this town, in this neat little subdivision without sidewalks, in this world of homes of unused living rooms and front porches, on the edge of the remains of a place that was once fully adorned with flora and fauna, I am beginning to feel that I am in collusion with suburban sprawl--the need to push our planet to its absolute limit, and the willingness to turn a blind eye at the cannibalization of every morsel of land. I am a part of the rapid consumption of open space, the degradation of environment, biodiversity, farmlands, our very quality of life. I am a part.

Yet here we remain. For the children. Until the time, not too long from now, I can remain no more. And when that time arrives I'm going to pray like hell that someone else wants the caretaker's home in the dream.

Will it be different elsewhere?

 Lia Ices - Daphne by Pop Culture Monster

Lia Ices released her sophomore effort, Grown Unknown, last January 2011. Pitchfork reviewed it soon thereafter:
When Ices indulges her avant leanings, the material provides a more suitable foil for her voice. A mixture of finger snaps, glinting piano, and subdued organ provides a suitably artful backbone over which she hangs a touchingly forlorn vocal turn on "Little Marriage", and there's a deft marrying of chamber music sadness and welts of distorted guitar on "Bag of Wind". But it's the standout title track that provides the most successful conduit for Ices' eclectic whims, with a militaristic handclap and acoustic picking alongside feather-light string parts. Here Ices sounds relaxed, locating a natural meeting point for her disparate sounds and easing into a vocal that effortlessly intertwines with the arrangement.
From Necima (2008):



Grown Unknown, has all the same haunting melancholy feel as her debut album, Necima, but is less shaky, more grown up than unknown, and clearly reflects her experimental theatre education at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, as well as her Shakespearian studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. 

 Lia ices -grownunknown by totosarg
Bravo, Lia.

49 comments:

  1. Well wow. I really appreciate your honesty and can truly identify with your feelings about the suburbs. I'm actually terrified that when we get around to having kids, that will be our destiny...because we're taught that's whats best for children's quality of life. Much to consider before that time arrives for me. That Thoreau sums everything up just perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elizabeth- Each suburb has its own unique personality. I think the burbs are a decent place to raise a family if the fit is right. We are close to family in Suburbaland and that's a bonus, but I miss the culture and accessibility to all kinds of interesting things that the city offers. We're not far from the city, though, so that helps! I don't believe that the burbs are any better than the country or city for raising kids--depends on how you want to raise them and what makes you happiest. :)

      Delete
  2. It's funny as I'd never take kids to the burbs...there's a richness to the city, a truth and diversity that the burbs remove. I grew up in a whitebread rich suburb where the drug use and racism and promiscuity was far worse than my city friends. Suburbs are just passive aggressive cities. Education is ultimately the parents' responsibility and it frustrates me to see people buy inexpensive old homes like mine in the city then ship their kids to 'better' schools rather than committing to their own communities. In the burbs, the drugs are just different -but coke instead of weed, valium instead of sniffing glue. I learned more from books and conversation than I ever did in my 'good' school. I survived in spite of the burbs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha--couldn't agree with you more about the richness of a city. And my kids love the city, too. Yup, that lack of culture, things for kids to do, in the burbs can lead to too much idle time, for sure. The key is to have your kids involved in organized sports, etc. to keep them busy and healthy.

      Schools, well, that's a tricky one. Our kids started in the public schools, but I didn't think it was the right place for them. Every parent wants the best for their child, especially when it comes to education, so my kids go to school elsewhere--in a city!

      I think of myself as a suburban survivor, too. ;)

      Delete
  3. Maybe you do live in McSuburb, but you are definitely not a McThinker or a McWriter. Here's to never conforming to the mold! Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers, Nessa! My dad always thought that my nonconformity would lead me to a bit of trouble. Um, well, it did in some cases, but I think it's always better to break the molds. Don't you?

      You won't find me in McDonald's either. ;)

      Delete
  4. What a shame that they are so indifferent to the things that make that place a nice place to live.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No kidding, Ellen. I was shocked when I heard what our mayor was considering. He's a bright guy. Our town hall is in a beautiful old building on the edge of a, well, how can I say this?, a pretty tough neighboring city. I can't help but feel that a part of this is moving his office to a more bucolic setting. It kills me because we can afford so little now. I mean, our town has a beautiful big park in it and the parking lot looks like a war zone. Seriously. Rubble. We can't even keep it paved. :/

      Delete
  5. Jayne, you have the blade fan axe that is sharp in spite of the owner's reluctant to use it. As a denizen od the otherwise of the valley and river, I feel it, I can feel it, and the road winds into many development / enveloments. So it look to the trees and the sky. Thank you, Michael Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, Michael, ye of valley and river, I'm always reluctant to discuss politics, but never the trees and sky. I'm glad we have a fine poet in these here parts. To Daphne. ;)

      Delete
  6. Ah, suburbia. I guess my question for you might be, do your kids want to be there so much you can't move? I ask, because I grew up in the suburbs and hated it. I was bored to death and couldn't wait to get out of there. City or country are fine, either one (though I think I'm primarily a city girl at heart), but anything that feels like the suburbs makes me break out in a (figurative) rash. I guarantee it will be different elsewhere.

    Beautiful voice on that Lia Ices. Particularly liked "You Will." Thanks for the introduction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan-Oh, yes, that is the question! My son is intrenched. And he does not like changes. My daughter would go anywhere. The compromise is waiting a few more years, until the boy is close to graduating from HS, and then returning to the city. The little sprite would love that.

      I've been living with the same rash for too long. Ha!

      Delete
  7. It's healthy to constantly reassess and refine our goals.
    I need solitude and peacefulness to thrive, so I am the counterweight pulling us in that direction wherever we move. We've lived in city, suburb and country and I think we can make anything out of our circumstances and much of it is a state of mind. When we lived in the city, I still gardened in tin cans, subscribed to Mother Earth News and learned how to preserve food.
    We all have a different perspective on what we think is best for the kids based on our own experience. I always thought it best that they grow up in the country with plenty of land to roam and explore. Freedom! But they loved our years in the suburbs and all the friends they had to play with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leonora, I'd take a beautiful place like yours anytime. It is a state of mind, absolutely. We sort of ended up here by default, thinking it wouldn't be long, but the economy didn't cooperate when we tried to make our move. So, we make the best of it, bide our time. It's not all bad, just not where I prefer to be. Every place has its quirks, but the suburbs have a particular quirk that I've never been comfortable with. But I can write anywhere, right? ;)

      Delete
  8. Jayne, this was a very thoughtful, well-written post. It's hard to imagine that the pervading spirit of conspicuous consumption and its fallout does not exist on any patch of the planet. Will it be different somewhere else? Not to sound pessimistic, but I'd think those spaces would be very small.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's everywhere, true, Suze. We're a greedy lot and unwilling to make changes. Life becomes too comfortable. Some people still don't even recycle! My real concern right now is living in a manner that least harms the environment, and being a part of a greener, smarter community. We can do our part no matter where we live, but where we are now just doesn't work for me!

      Delete
  9. Dear Jane,
    I can understand you so well. We lived for 20 years (longest time in one spot in my life) in a town with 100 000 inhabitants - an old town, but most of the inhabitants lived far more outside in the country, because of their children. Sometimes I dreamed of that country life - but then I saw that the children of the dwellers there grew up and came into town for school and their friends and discos, and the parents had to drive and fetch them, later they sat in bed and waited when their teenagers drove themselves.
    That said: for raising children I prefer a smaller town. But at the moment our son went to take up his studies in another city, you saw this woman packing - first 6 years in Hamburg, a real city, now Berlin, even better - I love big cities! Our friends all thought us crazy: you are leaving your beautiful art deco house, your friends, your garden - isn't one too old? NO - in both cities we made a lot of new friends, I certainly feel invigorated. Life is changing, circumstances too - and if one really wants, one can change with them. Or one stays because one wants that too - feeling at home now, feeling well - and that's a choice then and a good thing too.
    By the way: I love the picture of the little brook.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Britta, we are taxis! It's so crazy this lifestyle. I love big cities, too. If I could, I'd have a place in the city and in the country. Oh, and then there's the mountains, too... My son, who is really too young to say where he wants to go to college, has told us that he likes the University of Virginia. It's a beautiful campus--we took the kids there a couple of years ago--and it has an excellent school of architecture. Who knows. Maybe we'll be Virginia bound--which I think would suit me quite well.

      Your city move inspires me. Glad you're happy there! :)

      Delete
  10. Jayne, I used to be a suburbanite, with two cars a big house and lots and lots of stuff. I moved into the city two years ago, got rid of the car, the stuff and live in 500 square feet, yet, I have never felt more satisfied. Something tells me I will soon see you as a neighbor back here in Beantown...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would love to be back in Beantown, Bill. Hubby's business spans from central CT to P-town on the Cape, so Boston is not so central for him. Maybe Providence, though. East side by Brown and RISD. Can walk to everything! That would be fun. ;)

      Delete
  11. Places are different in so very many different ways. Through my recent year in the country, I've found I am very much a city girl. If I were bringing up kids today and had the money, I would definitely live in the city as I think much is lost in suburbia. Much of it comes down to what part of the country you live in and who you are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rubye- I was raised in a city, and when I was a girl I loved the country. My grandmother lived on a dairy farm and I wanted to spend almost every weekend w/her. My greatest hope was to marry a farmer and milk cows for a living. I thought that for a long time! I don't remember exactly when that changed, but probably late HS or in college. I'm very much a city girl, too--it never left me.

      "...much is lost in suburbia." Heh. ;~o

      Delete
  12. Suburbs have always scared me. That's why we live in an old part of town, a five-minute walk from the center ... this was probably a suburb when our house was built 100 years ago.

    Early spring is always somewhat miserable, with the mud and dirt and all the junk reappearing when the snow vanishes. It becomes better when the grass and the trees get green >:)

    Cold As Heaven

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scary... and for good reason, Cold!

      As much as I miss the snow, I'm looking forward to that green grass, now. But not the tractors that use all the gas to finely cut all that biggish lawn, nor the early morning choral thump of all the underground sprinklers that keep the biggish green grass moist. The cost of the perfectly manicured lawn. Meh. ;)

      Delete
  13. my wife wants to move back to vancouver and i want to move to one of the gulf islands. who knows, we may both get what we want.

    when thinking of moving, the ballad of frankie lee and judas priest always comes to mind:

    And don't go mistaking Paradise
    For that home across the road.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Win-win? No, no, Billy, the burbs ain't Paradise. Far, far, far from Paradise. I think I may have to cross the state line for that. ;)

      Delete
  14. Very nice shot of the brook, the fallen branches, the mud!

    I'm for enjoying both worlds, that is, living in a house with a garden ( big enough for crops and children's games) - located within the city, at a plausuble walking distance from the city center.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Duta- Precisely what I'd like. ;)

      Delete
  15. Jayne: Your posts are always beautifully written, and always encourage us to wonder. I can only say that I was raised in a suburb in the Mid-West that was very much like "That 70's Show". But in America, our culture has shifted so drastically that it is permissible to question how people regard one another and what they DO have. I prefer a smaller home to a Beverly Hills "bachelor pad" with several wings and a staff of servants. A home that feels "well lived in" to me is one where there is love and harmony. "Home" means so many things to each individual. I have a friend in Manhattan. She and her husband pay over $3,000 a month for a tiny apartment. So while it is all relative, I like the reasons you cited for moving where you are. I know things are in a state of flux all around us, but we have to keep our gravity and remember that our culture is realing on a wild glide slope. This too plays a role in altering our perceptions! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well-lived = love and harmony--I like that Michael. Home is where the heart is. Having lived in NY (Brooklyn) many years ago, I know about the high cost of housing there. New York is a great city but too expensive for me. Wonderful to visit, though.

      The upside of the economic downturn is that it has humbled us. People are rethinking the oversized life. (Of course, that's not a good thing for all those who bought into it and would like to get out.) In Providence, our beautiful Arcade will be restored and reopened this year with the addition of "green" micro lofts (averaging around 400 sq. ft., I've heard). This is a really ambitious project. And encouraging--folks (probably mostly single, younger, just getting started w/career) will have the opportunity to rent (inexpensively) lofts in the middle of the city, where cars are not necessary. I hope we'll see more of this type of development going on, rather than our continued encroachment onto open space.

      Delete
  16. Ah, geography -- and the instinctive sense (well, of course) that if only we lived at 123 Main Street instead of being stuck here, at #125...! :)

    You know I tease. Where we live DOES make a difference. Because I never had kids, I was spared the agonies of decision-making on behalf of a helpless someone else, extending naturally to living-here vs. -there. I've lived only in Suburbia, in fact (except for a few years in a tiny little village surrounded by farms). OTOH, until the 10 years it was always older suburbia -- neighborhoods of homes (and often families) which had often been right there for 20, 30, 40 or more years. Big old trees along the sidewalks. Birdsong. Like that.

    I know you've worked in real estate; you must have heard (maybe uttered) the "Location, location, location" more times than you can count. The twist, the real complication to that is the changing nature of locations as homeowners follow their lure... which means, well, a phrase like "Ooooooh... you live there!" can mean something entirely different now than it will a few years later, when it becomes, more flatly and less breathily, "Oh. You live [beat] there." We were talking recently about that comic book -- the aliens' being frightened by our everyday climbing into big steel projectiles which we then fire up and aim at one another. I wonder what they'd make of our U-Haul culture, every one of all those little Chinese checkers ceaselessly rolling from one little resting place to another.

    (They'd probably wonder, for starters, why we call them "resting" places. I imagine a Martian interrogator who comments, "You're being ironic again, aren't you?")

    You seem to be doing a fine job as parents of cultivating your kids' minds and sensibilities. I suspect that that landscape will ultimately serve them best. It's the one they'll carry with them. Ultimately, I think that's part of the appeal of the title Suburban Soliloquist: the suggestion that, geography aside, it's the self who lives there which decides how happy and secure s/he will be at Location X, Y, or Z -- that, not the location per se. (I know: real-estate blasphemy!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Er... "until the 10 years" = "until the last 10 years." I didn't expect readers to know which 10 years I meant. :)

      Delete
    2. Ha! JES, I remember being in Charleston a few years back and seeing a For Sale sign with those same words: Location, location, location! And then there was another one, on the gorgeous wraparound porch of a beautiful old home near Battery Park, that read: Picture yourself having cocktails here. !!! I said to hubby, "Now that's how you ought to be marketing."

      Having worked, and still working to some degree, in only the commercial market, I, myself, have never uttered those words. I'd be hesitant to, as well, for the same reason you stated: the quality of a certain location may change.

      My concern right now ("right now" ha!) is living in an area that is more environmentally conscientious. Not in town Y that eats up every little bit of land it can (when there are perfectly good options for development that don't include finding loopholes in which to legally breach a contract. If that makes sense! Ha. A breach is a breach. The other interesting (or quirky, or uncomfortable at times) thing about this town is that no one seems to leave. At least not those born and bred here. So no U-Hauls around! This tends to promote a certain exclusive culture in various pockets of town. The younger generation is still living in the same town as their parents, but have moved on up to the biggish homes. This also perpetuates the white-bread suburban culture to which I've never been able to assimilate. But that's my little personal issue. Everyone else seems quite happy here. You think? But. There's NO town center!!

      Ack. I want a smallish home in city X, and a smallish garden in a smallish yard on a street with sidewalks, that's a walk away from the library/restaurants/shops/butcher.... Alternatively, I'll take a bungalow in Z, way, way out there. It's the Y that unrests me. ;)

      (Figured you meant the last ten years. Mature suburbia is nice, but it kills me that trees are leveled for new cul de sacs and homes while electrical wires are all still installed above ground!)

      Delete
    3. One of the current crop of TV shows based on (loosely adapted) fairy tales is called Once Upon a Time. The present-day action takes place pretty much entirely within the limits of a town called Storybrooke, in Massachusetts; every single resident there has a counterpart in one or more fairy tales. Until a new person shows up in the pilot, the time in the town always was the same. No one ever aged. And no one ever left.

      But that, of course, is fiction. (Er, are you sure you live in RI and not a little on the other side of the RI-MA state line?)

      When we moved into our house in 2001, it was already about 12-13 years old; it was built when the subdivision itself was still young. We don't have any sidewalks, but oh my do we have mature trees. I mean, GIGANTIC trees. When the pecans fall off the tree next to the house, they're so large and fall so far that it sounds like we're under meteor assault. :)

      But we're not within walking distance of anything to speak of, except an elementary school. And, if we're feeling ambitious, of a middle school and a public library.

      Your criteria for a good place to live reminds me of the town I moved to from NJ in 1990. I walked a lot during the 2-1/2 years I lived there: groceries, library, used books, post office, video store, convenience store, even a little old (and still operational) movie theater. And it was just about a half-hour's driving distance from Richmond, where all sorts of things were available.

      Delete
    4. ...and a train station. (How could I forget that?!?) Rode the train into DC maybe a dozen times.

      Delete
    5. Oh, now I could deal with a town like that. The train would seal the deal. Particularly, in VA. If Max ends up at UVA (oh please!), I might seriously consider a place down there. I love that area of the country. Charlottesville, too, I'm thoroughly taken with. The lure might be too strong!

      JES, I'm on the cusp of MA. Very likely that fairytale/nightmare show (watched part of an episode just now--didn't hold my attention too long, ha!, what does?) was modeled on... no, could it be?!

      Pecan trees. Divine. :)

      Delete
  17. The diggers of developers get in everywhere. If you want to live in safety and with nature, you must get right away and live in the countryside, not in suburbia. But there, of course, you lack all amenities. I have just spent a day getting groceries from the supermarkets in the nearest larger town. I could have spent the day gardening or walking in the countryside, but I also need groceries. So I've polluted the air by driving many miles.

    You pays your money and you takes your choice, as they say here.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Friko - Your place is lovely--you're fortunate. My sister lives in a beautiful part of New Hampshire, in the mountains. I'm envious. Every time I visit here there I think, this is where I should be. But then, there is, as you mentioned, that lack of amenities, forcing the drive. But at least you're living at one with nature. You have the opportunity to garden and grow food and be, at least in part, a self-sustaining homestead. (Which is how my sister operates to some extent.) I think that's a marvelous lifestyle.

    For me, it's one or the other. City or country. But city seems to make more sense right now. And as my husband has his own business, we are bound to a certain territory. Country someday. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  19. yeah but, id love a little creek...i love how you americanos use brook...they just seem like the last vestiges of this weird thing amongst some people who call it nature...we go and 'visit' nature rather than live within it...dang that is a sad thing that poor planning threatens
    the burbs have their attraction in some ways and i love the idea of such a swathe so close to your back door...but im a city boy as you know..
    i really liked this post ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dan- My brook could very well be the last vestige of nature! My brook. Ha! I can't imagine this "Educational Village" idea gaining much ground--at least not at the proposed site. Yet the mayor's used taxpayers dollars to have the property surveyed, etc... Yup. Thanks guy. Fix the potholes in the parking lot! ;)

      Delete
  20. Replies
    1. I'll try to keep it that way for as long as possible. ;)

      Delete
  21. Our kids have completely eschewed the suburbs and have embraced city life. When they told me the neighborhood where they bought their home I was terrified they had chosen a high crime area. Unbeknownst to me, their neighborhood had been since gentrified, articles about their area of town regularly pop up in Sunset Magazine. Due to increasing fuel prices and more people choosing to live in the city it is predicted that the outlying suburbs nation-wide will become the new ghettos. In our area of the country (Pacific Northwest) house prices have remained steady and are actually increasing somewhat. It is interesting how cultural changes redefine what constitutes "quality of life".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "...outlying suburbs nation-wide will become the new ghettos." Ack! We'd better sell now! Smart kids of yours, Robert. Smart thinking. And smart living.

      "Pacific Northwest" -- sounds so exotic to me. ;)

      Delete
  22. I know of what you speak. I think a perfect utopian city would have a wild forest right in the middle of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Antares- I think you should get into the urban planning business. ;)

      Delete
  23. I think living in the suburbs is for the benefit of the children being closer to nature which the city most of the time cannot give.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marian- "[...] for the benefit of the children..." certainly that's why we're here. Yes, the kids have friends in the neighborhood and they have a couple of parks they can go to. But I'm not convinced life in the burbs is any more beneficial than life in the city (or life in the country, for that matter). In the suburbs, in general (well, ok, at least in the burn in which I live), "nature" consists of a half-acre to an acre lot on which the land is seeded, wired with water lines, and sprinkled with chemicals. We do have areas where we can find undisturbed land, but relative to the overall size of the suburb, it is, proportionately, chump change. And the really good green is closed off to the public. (To find miles of raw nature, we drive to New Hampshire or Maine or Vermont--so proximity of true nature to burbs is important.)

      It all feels contrived to me, and perhaps that is part of my ambivalence with suburbia. Wait, did I say ambivalence? Heh. ;)

      Thanks for stopping by, Marian. True--even less nature in the city. Although Boston has a remarkable emerald necklace of parks and nature, and NYC, of course, has its Central Park. 843 acres of it! I've lived in both cities and boy, I could get me some nature when I needed it. :)

      Delete