Dreams of Athens
A little over 10 years ago, I was living in Athens, Ohio in this little house at 8 Patton St. with two old friends, Ryan Davis and Tom Potter. The house was just up the hill from the Village Bakery. That was before Della Zona opened and the student co-op changed from Acme to the Vine.
Lately I have been going through seemingly long-lost media files on old or slowly failing storage devices. Among those many lost memories I stumbled upon were an array of image files from my time in Athens which had vanished into the technological memory hole for a few years. Seeing some of these images made me a bit nostalgic. Or perhaps it is the changing of the seasons and the fall colors.
I used to love fall in Athens. Maybe I still do. It was a truly magickal time. The hills were alive with color as the Appalachian hardwood forests began their slow descent into winter. With two exceptions–a year in the Convo as an OU freshman and many memorable years at the Acme Co-op–I have always lived around the woods. Whether it was as a child in Richville and then Bolivar, on Long Run Road in a little cinder block house, in Guysville at the amazing old farmhouse, or even at Highland Keep amidst the towering sycamores, a common theme was always living around trees and the woods.
I did try to hang onto this green disposition. I spent the first two summers working for the NYC Parks department doing forest entitations–which is a fancy way of saying I was doing park surveys and inventories of tree and plant species. That gave me the chance to spend a lot of time in Van Cortlandt Park, still my favorite place in all of NYC. It’s like a hidden gem in this mad city.
But like all fun jobs, this one only lasted two summers, and then the money ran out. And as much as I love the park, it’s a huge pain to get to. It is at the dead-end last stop on the 1 train, and literally takes me 1.5+ hours to get there one way. Hardly a quick walk like I was used to in Athens. And so, when that job ended, so did my daily forest commute. Now I spend very little time these days in the woods.
I love NYC parks, and without having two I pass every day going to work I would have already gone mad. Plus I have my little slice of green respite here in Greenpoint. We have wonderfully big London plane (Platanus x acerfolia) trees on our street, and still enough wild backyards between the blocks that some semblance of urban habitat still exists–enough at least to support a healthy bird and squirrel population. So at least when I look out my window I can still see trees and hear the birds and rustle of drying fall leaves. It’s not a lot, but it helps to get me through.
It’s hard to imagine I have been here in this city for almost a decade. I do really miss the woods a lot. And sometimes I miss Athens too. So here are a few old images from my time in Athens.