There’s No Place Like Home
BY EDWIN D. REILLY, JR.
For the Sunday Gazette
And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days.
–James Russell Lowell
Only in June can
District make a plausible claim to being a garden spot of the universe.
humidity. Temperatures in the seventies. Fluffy white clouds that are
not to obscure an azure sky that perfectly complements the deep-green
earth tones of the blessed land below. Surely there is no more
planet. Let’s stay for as long as we can.
I wrote this
opening in early June,
just before our five-day heat wave struck. But, until global warming
still further, that was most unusual and does not negate where I’m
this piece. Most of us who treasure this month nonetheless value our
seasons. If we wanted twelve months like (most of) our Junes, we would
San Diego. But that would not come without its hazards.
The best of all
accrues to those who have both the leisure and the means to live here
and fall but migrate north in summer and south in winter, free as the
proverbial birds. But how did those of us who—except for all-too-brief
vacations, perhaps—live here year round, choose this area in the first
reasons are almost
certainly that we were born near here (I was) or that we located here
to do a
particular job, or both. But let me describe for you how certain
the whole country to choose from, could make a rational decision to
in good old Metroland.
decided to place
highest priority on the minimization of the probability of catastrophe
or even just
grave misfortune or stretches of extreme weather. Oh, bad things can
good people anywhere, but keep in mind that we are talking
fires, freeways, houses that have a propensity to slide into the sea.
it be that a half million people a year are still moving there, placing
homes and their lives on a precipice?)
Excessive rain pounding
the roof, making everyone there sleepless. Volcanoes. Otherwise Edenic
has those too, along with a threat of earthquakes,
tsunamis, and an occasional typhoon, which is
what they call hurricanes in the Pacific just to make them sound more
And Alaska, though beautiful, is just too cold and desolate, and
don’t happen on a sufficiently predictable schedule that you can easily
forest fires. Too
hard to breathe in Mile-High Stadium. The Midwest? Haven’t you seen
of those Ohio River floods?
Flakey school boards. Kansans must be the only ones who haven’t read
the Matter with Kansas?” And everything isn’t up to date in Kansas City.
Texas and points
to the north and
west? Tornadoes. High humidity. Drought in western Texas. Danger from
weapons, lethal injections, and Tom DeLay. And Larry McMurty is closing
Up” in Archer City, which will probably condemn the most famous Dairy
America to the same fate as the neighborhood theater of
“The Last Picture Show.”
The Gulf and
Atlantic coasts? More
hurricanes. My beloved Cape Cod? Fine, but not in February, and
that the relentless sea will move all of its fragile land mass
in a mere 50,000 years.
So we’ve come
pretty much full circuit
around our safe haven. To be as free as possible from the vagaries of
live in upstate New York. But not too far west where lake effect storms
your city in the winter, and not too far north, where mudslides do
not too far south, where occasional Jet streams threaten to move next
send you half the bill. (Saved by a Silver lining!)
Now, aren’t you’re glad you’re here?
Edwin D. Reilly, Jr. lives in Niskayuna and is a regular contributor to the Sunday Gazette opinion page.