What’s in the Air?

Last night was Beth’s birthday. We went to a local farm-to-table restaurant in Roscoe called Northern Farmhouse Pasta and had a great meal. I love that the better restaurants here are very rustic. I have never liked the feel of a restaurant with white tablecloths. I’m more comfortable dressed in jeans. I guess I like down-home better than dressed up.

Northern Farmhouse Pasta

Sitting down, I noticed the couple across from us had finished every bit of their main dishes.

“Good, huh?” I asked.

“Better than good. This place is always great,” replied the man. “First time here?” he asked.

We talked for about ten minutes about their favorite dishes, RV camping, jobs, venison and what’s so great about the countryside (the people, mainly). We said goodbye and wouldn’t you know it – they bought us dessert and coffee on their way out. Happy Birthday and ain’t that a hoot?

When I forget about why I love the rural life, something like this happens and I remember – the city life is more exciting and fancier, but excitement and elegance isn’t what turns me on anymore. I like going to the post office for my mail and knowing that the woman behind the counter has lived here for her whole life and so has her dad, that the guy who fixes our truck is honest and the venison I had for dinner is healthier than steak and I wouldn’t know that if two local hunters and a butcher hadn’t explained it to me.

“Deer meat is a nutritious option. A three-ounce cut of deer meat has 134 calories and three grams of fat. The same amount of beef has 259 calories and 18 grams of fat, while pork has 214 calories and 13 grams of fat.” (Source: https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-deer-meat)

It’s not clear to us, yet, that we’re gonna make it here because it’s pretty far from where we work. However, I am going to enjoy it while I can and who knows? Maybe there’s a John Deere cap, a log splitter and a hound dog in my future.

Today, we watched a movie about Kutsher’s and the 500 or so Catskill hotels and boarding houses that were here in the 20th Century. Sadly, the type of people that flocked here for vacation went to live in Miami or LA or they now take cruises, instead. A once prosperous economy in this area has never recovered.

Helen and Milton Kutsher in 1977

But I like what’s slowly growing here in its place. It’s no longer 12 buses of seniors showing up at Kutsher’s on a Friday night. Instead, it’s young people and ones like us who come here for the hiking, breweries, the restaurants, a day in Woodstock or a concert at Bethel Woods. What’s the same, though, is that they come to escape the city, breathe a little country air and go home with a memory.

I get it. That country air is intoxicating and the vibe that slows down one’s central nervous system is almost immediately noticeable. This place has always been an antidote to the city or the ‘burbs and it remains so. And some people actually move here!

Great article on the benefits of country living: https://rethinkrural.raydientplaces.com/blog/15-reasons-country-life-beats-city-life-hands-down

In addition to watching the movie, we filmed a yoga class, completed a video, had a deep conversation with a colleague, planned our coming week, recorded a few songs for a project, re-tarped down the camper for the winter, cooked up some fresh spaghetti squash, roasted some cabbage and planned out tomorrow’s ACA meeting which I’m facilitating for the first time. In other words, it was a typical Bierko day.

Country life may be gentler on the soul, but it’s as busy if not more so than the city or suburban life we’ve led. At least, that’s how we have found it to be. Maybe we’re still working out our anxiety and we’ll learn to mosey some more. But I think not. We like moving our bodies, creating and exploring. We want to interact with people and nature, to get to know the area and see the stars on a clear night.

What’s decidedly different is that the busyness here feels productive without feeling like it’s sapping our strength. When we’re working in the city, we want to collapse from stress-induced exhaustion, mainly due to traffic, but also because of the way our minds rush about like they are on high alert.

My friend, Scott, moved from Long Island to Vermont seven years ago. It wasn’t easy and it sure was scary, but he’s very happy with his decision. Beth and I aren’t ready, not yet anyway, to plant ourselves in one spot. But we sure are getting used to the idea that our sanity might depend upon it.


  1. Judith H Siegel

    I love this post! My favorite line is “Country life may be gentler on the soul, but it’s as busy if not more so than the city or suburban life we’ve led” We certainly find that is true! Most people we know do as well. There’s a lot goin on up here in the country!!! So glad you are here and so glad you are exploring and appreciating some of what makes the Sullivan Countty Catskills so special

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