Am I Blueberry? The case for leaving the city
08.04.10: Leo's 27th Month
Watching Leo float naked on a raft on a lake in Maine, supervising him with my ears only as he heads out the screen door by himself and pours pebbles into a plastic tub while singing, then taking him to a U-Pick (that’s toddler for All-U-Can-Eat) blueberry farm, I can see why my best friend, Steph, seems to have arranged her entire life around summer vacation. We spent almost a week at Steph’s camp on the lake, where she summers with her husband, kids and a rotating cast of other family members. She claims that having a long summer vacation to spend here was a primary consideration when she—and then her husband—decided to become school teachers, and I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s too late for me and Aaron to make some similar career decisions.
What we have now is not too shabby, actually. Aaron gets Fridays off in July and August, and has sprinkled his vacation days liberally over these months, and I am freelancing as usual. We’re spending a leisurely week up with my folks in their gorgeous summer rental now, also in Maine, before a brief return to reality (aka Heat Wave NYC).
Leo is constantly outdoors, he’s gotten to know the farmer who grows his vegetables (and he’s eating those vegetables! coincidence?), he adores the water, the mud, the ants, the attention of adults on vacation, the weird nut-and-bolt building toy we picked up at a junk shop, and most of all the Endless Blueberries. I’ve been jogging, swimming and cooking, and Aaron is composing, fishing, working his way through Infinite Jest (BIG book), sampling the local beers and playing a bit of tennis.
A week before we left for Maine, Aaron and I took a Friday to go up the Hudson and drive around scouting vacation spots. We were thinking that we might someday want to buy a little place a couple hours away. “Ah,” a friend of mine responded, “you’re buying your second home before your first.” Maybe. Certainly we’re closer to being able to afford an un-winterized shack in the sticks than we are a 3 bedroom in Brooklyn. I don’t know that it really makes sense right now, but I love imagining that we could spend weekends in the spring, summer and fall away from the noise, heat, crowds and, frankly, the danger of the city. I’m not saying I don’t love city life, but man do I love getting away from it.
Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.