Escaping the City Hustle :: Thoughts from SGA

Escaping the City Hustle
Juan De Loera

*part of the "Thoughts from SGA" Blog series

When you get full and stressed by the rapid movement of the city where do you go? You head out to the countryside to relax and unwind. This approach towards urban and rural life started in ancient Roman with the terms negotiis and otium. . Negotiis, referring to everyday concerns, business matters, personal responsibilities, was in the city thought to be a compromised or debased state of affairs, tainted with vice. Otium, on the other hand, could be defined as “seclusion, or serenity, or relaxation, but the ancients thought of it rather as an opportunity to engage, often intensely, in worthwhile physical and mental pursuits.”(1) In summary, city is vice and the country is virtue.

This past weekend a friend invited me to the Roe Han Ramble 50-mile bike tour. I took the opportunity to escape the city and head to the New York’s countryside. I also thought that this was a great chance to think about the performance programming of my thesis. As some of you may now leaving Boston Friday in the afternoon can be faced by grueling traffic jams. We arrived to Copake Falls after the sun had set, we could hardy see anything, we ate dinner and went to bed. Waking up on Saturday morning was breathtaking. I was awoken at 6:45 am by a flock of geese landing in the pond, the beams of sun were beginning to touch the mountain in background and illuminated the changing foliage varying in colors. This feeling of serenity and beautiful isolation continued as I began to ride through the back roads of the Berkshires. Rolling through the hills of the Berkshires was a surreal experience, in the peacefulness of the road my mind went blank and I was able to deeply appreciate the changing landscape as I sped by, from open meadows to dense canopies. The alternating scape changed the perception of speed and the way I was able to capture and process the objects as they crossed my sight. The flashing shadows on the pavement gave the impression of a black and white film reel casting each frame, but only for a split second. This was in contrast to the open meadows where time seemed to morph and slow down blurring the rode lines, which gave the sensation of being drag in slow motion. The roads wind through the countryside narrowing and widening, passing picturesque old decaying farmhouses being consumed by the dense nature. It was a great weekend to began the fall and the scenery and picturesque landscape was the cherry on top. I’ve you have the chance to get out there, it is definitely worth the trip. Don’t forget to go apple picking!

Bash Bish Falls, a waterfall in Bash Bish Falls State Park in the Taconic Mountains of southwestern Massachusetts is also a beautiful place to check out!

(1) Ackerman, James. The Villa: Form and Ideology of Country Houses. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990. p. 30.