I am not a great fan of cities. Three days and I am in sensory overload. Three days and the green zone of my brain starts to dry and shrivel, and I am gasping for something natural, which cities surely are not, this overload of human beings (human beans as Stephen King puts it.) I am more likely to be watching a pidgeon pecking on the sidewalk than ogling the Empire State Building. WB Yeats didn't take the fire in his head out to the concrete jungle but to the hazel wood. It wouldn't have been as lyrical if he had. It wouldn't have done him as much good. Somewhere along the line, I set myself in orbit around the natural world, or maybe I was just born that way. My sixteen year old daughter dreams of big city lights, while I picture swallows swooping over fields of gold. I say, just you wait: The city will in the end erode your best sense.
So, I am in New York City this week, wandering around like a lost soul, trying to navigate my fragile life of trees and bracken through the traffic at Times Square, standing at the edge of the subway station, looking for the mice that in some unbelievable turn of their natural lives scurry around with trains rushing overhead. As long as I am in the city, I feel like one of those mice, rumbled
down to my core, deafened and deadened.