It often takes an outside eye to help one see things close at hand. Last night, a friend came to my house for supper. I’d made a rhubarb crumble, and mentioned that it really should be served with ice cream. Everyone agreed, and my daughter said, in the most ordinary way, “I’ll go get some at the coop.” The Berkshire Coop is a small version of Wholefoods and it’s about five minutes’ walk from my house, straight down the hill and across Main Street. She picked up her purse and walked out the door. She was back in less than ten minutes, and we sat down to our dessert.

It was an inconsequential event, nothing Rachel or I would have given another thought to, except that my friend said wistfully, as we spooned up the last bites, “I remember being able to walk to the store.” Quality of life is often hard to define, but I am certain that being able to pop out to the shops on foot adds to it. This is one of the things that makes city and town life easier and more relaxed, and I’m glad to have been reminded of something else to be grateful for – in both Great Barrington and New York.

karen christensen's corona typewriter on t s eliot's desk

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