I’ve lived in Ithaca, NY since 1995.  About two months ago I finally moved from Ithaca to Cazenovia.  A move accompanied by a strange and confusing mixture of feelings.  Ithaca is a beautiful town, one of the most beautiful places in the USA that a person could live.  A small town in the middle of an incredibly beautiful and dramatic landscape, culturally rich and diverse, with an unusual population of extraordinary and eccentric people, many of them creative geniuses of one type or another.   As soon as I moved there (from northwest Florida) back in 1995 I immediately felt that I’d found my real home.  And indeed, it was only after I moved to Ithaca that I started to find opportunities to expand myself creatively, and discovered the two great passions of my life, writing poems and playing the flute.  I joined a writing group.  I had my first poetry publications.  I became an enthusiastic follower of the local music scene.  I joined an ensemble.  I played gigs.  I had adventures!  I took art classes and discovered that I could draw.  And I made many friends who inspired me in various ways.

I also encountered a great deal of sorrow.  Attempted relationships with women who turned out to have serious and deep emotional problems and who used me as a target for their long pent-up paranoia and rage.  In my long and frustrating search for a woman I could feel close to I have known such profound sadness in that town, so many nights of despair. 

Things are very different now.  I’ve moved to another town and I’m fortunate to have found a wonderful woman with whom I feel very close, and we have a beautiful life together.  But I still work two days a week in Ithaca, and when I go back there and walk those downtown streets and stroll through the Ithaca Commons, I feel a great affection for the place, a nostalgia for all the years I lived there and walked those same familiar streets.  But underneath, a deeper layer, is this deep and pervasive sadness for the tragedy of human relationships, their terrible terrible fragility.  How easily we can be broken.  It’s a special kind of sadness that seems to have become so much a part of Ithaca for me that it now feels like it saturates the very streets and the buildings there.