This is Tyringham, Massachusetts, where we just passed an idyllic week, in a bed & breakfast whose hosts don't even lock their doors at night.
This is the human blood shed early this morning at the intersection nearest our home in Brooklyn, where a man was stabbed and, according to police, nearly killed outside the Parade Grounds section of Prospect Park. We didn't even hear a commotion, or at least not much of one by our city standards, just a shout and the sound of breaking glass. This lovely summer morning, parents and children stepped unknowingly through the dried puddle on their way to the soccer fields.
Now, it's never easy to come back to the city from a blissful sabbatical in the countryside--you can't help but question your sanity during those first uneasy bumps back down to urban earth--but this kind of stark contrast should be the work of bad novelists, not reality. And my own Inner Bad Novelist is the one gripped by the drama; after all, in 20 years here, very few have involved crime-scene tape. For all its crowds and litter, the park's periphery is usually a blessing of fresh air, and the park itself a respite just as beautiful as it was in Frederick Law Olmsted's day.
But Saturday afternoon's return had already socked us with a series of mundane reality checks, from the choking traffic across the Brooklyn Bridge, to the nutty Nation of Islam guys distributing their angry screeds and bean pies at its base, to the guy peeing in a neighbor's shrubbery as we turned down our own street. To transition from the Berkshires back to Brooklyn is hard enough; returning to bloodshed visible from our porch is disturbing and demoralizing.
Shouldn't someone wash the blood away? With no rain predicted until tomorrow, it will sit there in all its Shakespearean significance for at least another 24 hours.