Saturday, October 12, 2013

There's Still a Pig in My Park

It's been one of the mildest, most beautiful autumns I can ever remember in the north, and if today was an exception, it was only because it was even more exceptionally mild and beautiful. Thus, I felt it was a good opportunity to return to that hallowed piece of land at the intersection of Coryland Road and Coryland Park Road, atop Coryland Hill, whimsically titled: Coryland Park.

This park, made famous in my late spring post, The Pig in the Park, was the site of a horrific crime mystery involving a drawn and quartered porcine that I stumbled upon during a run. At the time, after recovering from the shock of the traumatic discovery, I began to speculate not only about how the unfortunate animal had come to be there, but also how long it would stay. Based on previous observations of the park, I wagered at least six months. 

Over the course of the summer, I continued to see him on successive runs. Each time he was a bit more bedraggled looking than the previous. At one point his legs disappeared. Then around August, his head became separated from his body, and then in September disappeared altogether. Despite the punishment though, he continued to doggedly persist. So since it has now been almost exactly six months, I figured it was high time I returned to the park to make a final assessment and documentation for benefit of the waiting public. 

I am pleased, therefore, to provide you with this photo, taken just hours ago: 

While obviously a bit worse for the wear, I think it's safe to say our friend has become a permanent fixture of the park. That leaves only one question. The original question: 

Who put the pig in the park?

Could it have escaped from the metropolis sized corporately owned pig operation known euphemistically as "Pine Hill Pig Farm" just a mile down the road and been killed (and apparently eaten) after only making it to the top of Coryland Hill? 

Could it be it was brought there with the express purpose of killing, butchering, and cooking on the charcoal barbecue, thus disproving my long held belief that no one ever actually picnics at Coryland Park? 

Could it have been something much more sinister? A pagan rite perhaps? Or even darker, a publicity stunt by some local elected official? That one becomes more plausible the more I contemplate it. 

Whoever put the pig in the park must have known I run past at least twice a week, and it would also be a safe bet that seeing it, I would write a blog post about it. Since one stroke of my keyboard has been known to cause international media firestorms and is believed by some analysts to have largely pre-decided the results of the 2008 presidential election––a phenomenon discussed in hushed tones within the Beltway as "the kingmaker effect," this conniving civil servant may have been hoping to bring public attention to the underutilized taxpayer-funded amenities of Coryland Park, justifying his or her own existence. This person almost certainly had backing from local landowners with detailed plans to profit from the busloads of Asian tourists with Mickey Mouse hats and DSLRs that would descend upon the place.

A textbook example of pork-barrel politics if there ever was one. And that, my friends, was the worst pun in the history of the universe. 

The End.  

Monday, October 07, 2013

So Wake Me Up

This afternoon I was driving home after spending the night at my parents' house. Being at a loss for what music to listen to, I switched on the radio and was greeted by the song "Wake Me Up" by Avicii. I'd heard the song several times before as a friend of mine was really into it for awhile, but I'd never really listened to the lyrics. They go, more or less,
I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands
Hope I get a chance to travel the world
But I don't have any plans....
So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
A few weeks ago I confided to a friend that I've really been feeling something like that about my life right now for some time. Basically like there's a hope things can change for the better––but probably not for awhile, and the next two or three years are just something I have to dig in for and try to survive.

Is it at all possible that I'm wrong though? Or that I at least drastically overestimated the time-table?

Last week I was feeling particularly awful, and it caused me to reflect on some things I'd been meaning to do this summer but hadn't had the time or energy for. The biggest one that came to mind was visiting a couple friends of mine from the semester I spent in Italy (what is it, nearly FIVE years ago now?!) and had only seen once since. They live in Brooklyn now where their band is based––which, while for most practical, cultural and aesthetic purposes is like a different country, isn't nearly as far away.

So, I bought a Shortline bus ticket from the coffee shop I order Americano's from everyday I'm in Corning, walked out to the curb, and about seven relatively miserable hours later, emerged blinking from a hole in the sidewalk in East Williamsburg.

The next 48 hours reminded me a bit of some dreamy version The Layover with Anthony Bourdain; stuffing myself with terrific steak, sampling designer prepared coffee, ducking in and out of hipster bars and recording studios pretending like I belong, all climaxing in a prolonged night out––the last four hours of which I really don't remember but my credit statement suggests must have been highly enjoyable. All that was really just the setting though. The ambiance, if you will. What I think I'll really remember from those couple of days is getting reacquainted with some people who were a memorable part of a very different and significant (if short) section of my life.

Looking back at times in my life that were different always gives me a different perspective on the present, but that's nothing compared to the paradigm jog you get from meeting someone who was with you then and looking back at it together––and then where you both are now. It forces you to realize just how much and how fast things can change. That's what it forces me to realize, anyway. Sometimes it can be sad, but other times it can be inspiring. In the case of my friends it was definitely inspiring.

It'd be too complicated––and intrusive––to go into all the details, but the point is: It was encouraging. It took me back to a time that I generally view as a better one, and then brought me forward to the present with a new take on it.

So sitting on the bus home last Saturday going back to my life that I'm tired of, I could, and do feel like the next few years are something that I wish––like the night before––I could just wake up from and not remember. At the same time though, and for the first time in awhile, I had to acknowledge the possibility that maybe they won't be like that.

Maybe, just maybe, the next two or three years could be the best yet.

Or maybe not.

For the first time in awhile though, I feel like there's a maybe. 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Leaves of a different color

The first week of October is unequivocally the most beautiful time of year in northern Pennsylvania, and I can still remember the excitement as a little kid the first year that I had my own camera during that time. It was the same story as a teenager when I got my first digital camera. And when I got a DSLR, I remember being excited yet again. 

While I'm always happy to experience this time of year, it's one of those things that I tend to develop "photography fatigue" over. It seems like it's really easy to just end up taking the same shots over and over every year. I hate doing that, yet the prospect of trying to be creative and take different ones is exhausting enough that I'd actually planned on not taking any photos this year at all. 

But then, my brother asked if I'd take some for him and post them since he's not living here anymore, so Isaac, these are for you. And for everyone else, I hope they aren't too stereotypical.