Saturday, September 5, 2009

City to Country Mouse

I had expectations for the summer of 2009, but as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” It would have been the one-year anniversary of a new relationship; I was settled in my hometown of Buffalo, New York; and I was running a successful freelance book publicity business. What I didn’t know would happen was finding the advertisement for my “dream job”; having a great interview with my future boss, Storey publicity director Amy Greeman at Book Expo America; and, finally, falling in love with Western Massachusetts.

After being offered the position of senior publicist at Storey Publishing, the false images of commitment; Sunday family dinners; and playtime with the family dog, Max, were replaced with midsummer drives across New York State for meetings; an apartment search; and, finally, a move.

Even though I always have had a love for all things country — animals, flowers, eating out of the backyard garden — I've never lived a moment of my adult life out of an urban environment, and it was becoming tiresome. There are things I wanted to have in my daily life that weren’t possible in a concrete jungle. Over the past couple of years, I've had the urge to raise a piglet — and my parents weren’t game on keeping one in their backyard (and I wasn’t even allowed a dog in my city apartment), but now perhaps, since moving to Williamstown, Massachusetts, it’s a possibility.

Wildflowers in Williamstown, Massachusetts

On a vacation in the Mediterranean a couple of summers ago, I fell in love with kayaking, and I think I’ve found Western Massachusetts to be just the place to embark on my newfound hobby. I also come from a family of food preservers, bakers, and recipe developers. Having had a knack for creating food dishes early on, I think now may be just the time for jamming, canning, and baking (the latter being a skill I really need to work on). Overall, Berkshire County just appeared to be the place where all the riches in life that I love are offered.

When I lived in Manhattan, I used to see the Empire State Building every day, and in Buffalo typical urban problems were on the corner of my block. Now I wake up to see fog rolling off Mt. Greylock, and I have a sense of eerie calmness and the impending fear brought on by the rumored folklore that an occasional black bear may appear in my backyard someday! The smell of mountain vegetation has become welcoming. I am now (trying) crocheting and eating mostly organic (okay, you will still find boxed mac-n-cheese in my pantry). A couple of things that may stick are my loyalties. Being a native of Western New York, I don’t see myself giving up the Bills for the Patriots, and as a lifelong Yankees fan, I would probably be disowned if I started rooting for the Red Sox.

Change is never easy, especially as age increases, but during the scurrying, unpacking, stress, and sometimes uncertainty, I would catch glimpses of myself and see a happy face. Maybe it’s the mountain air, or possibly, I have finally found home.

On top of Mt. Greylock

— Michelle Blackley, Storey Senior Publicist
All photos taken by Michelle Blackley


Becky said...

Good for you! It's a great feeling isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy reading this and knowing you're happy too. I feel like I've taken your life and turned it around; I'm glad you're loving your new life.

knitandcrochet said...

Western Massachusetts IS beautiful. Kind of like the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. And if you need help crocheting, you know who to call...

Edie Eckman

Hazel and Melvin's Room said...

Trish and I are so happy to be working with you!

sarah said...

i REALLY hope you get a piglet.