Did you make a resolution? Did anyone you know make a resolution? What is a New Year’s Resolution?
Is it a wish? Is it a prayer? Is it a confession? Is it none of the above? Is it all of the above?
I am in the habit of making resolutions which I pretend I’m going to keep. I have actually been thinking of this one since the pandemics, both political and viral, began.
I resolve to adopt a new second-home owner.
I confess. I am a former second-homer. I am grateful that the longer I stay in the county, the more involved I become in the county around me. And the more involved I became in the county around me, the less “The City” meant to me. I shall always be a “New Yawker.” I was born, educated and worked there for many years. By the time I moved to the Berkshires, I was a mature (on occasion) woman. I knew I could endure The City if I balanced it with country living.
Disclaimer and understatement: Because of the many fabulous cultural institutions that make their homes in the Berkshires, the environment here has a more urban sophistication than most villages.
However, over the years, it is the natural wonders that have become more and more important to me. Funny what closing in on death can do to the psyche. As the years passed, I became happier to be in the country. It was the natural wonders of the area that touched my soul. Finding time is the national anthem of city life. In the country, it is easier to find the time to create a life that feels more natural to me. Fighting for space and place takes a back seat to breathing easy. That’s my story.
It’s a very different story for the 2020 “pandemic-refugee-second-home” exodus. There was no gradual adjustment time. The pandemic came upon their world like a virus in a windstorm, because it was a virus in a windstorm. From the city to the country without time to remove the armor of the city for the coveralls of the country, they brought their ways and means of city living to Main Street; boutique shops, expensive coffee emporiums … ”They know not what they do.”
And from these thoughts comes my resolution. I resolve to take a pandemic second-home owner to lunch at Subway or the Co-op. To shop at Goodwill (what a store!). To tour Agway and Tractor Supply Co. To take them to a town meeting to meet neighbors and put money where the mouth is — something I am always forgetting.
Given time, as vaccinations increase and variants decrease, these newly adapted Berkshire citizens will adjust to help the next wave of new second-homers to embrace the differences between city life and village life. Unless they don’t. Then, hopefully the unadjusted hurry back to their warrens of high-speed internet and high-speed life.
In reality, the success of this resolution only exists in a perfect world. No such thing. Philosophically, most of us accept the adage “the only constant is change.” I said accept. I didn’t say adopt.
Humans don’t do change very well. It takes forever for most of us to figure out the obvious. Dare I write the words “climate change”? Oops! I just did.
The question is can we rise to the challenge, yet again, of accepting our differences; agree to disagree (without name-calling or wearing a horned helmet with spear)? Can Berkshire County show the rest of the world how to unite instead of divide?
The whole world is going through enormous upheaval. I hate bursting your bubble but the olden, golden days (if there ever were such a thing) are gone. Give it up! Back to normal doesn’t exist (if it ever did). Try this one on for size: What was wasn’t. What wasn’t never is. What is isn’t. What isn’t can never be. What wasn’t never was. What is and what wasn’t only happened in the past and the present. And if you can figure out where to go from there, you have just won the lottery. If you can’t figure it out, join the rest of us at the end of the dock watching the sun rise and set and checking the pulse on the inside of our wrists.
Is it ticking? You win. Happy New Year!