Some weeks ago, we took a ride thru upstate New York for a visit to family. A short weekend, maybe to see some color changes that hadn’t yet happened further south where we lived. We arrived late on a Friday and it wasn’t until Saturday before we headed out for a road trip north to Vermont.

We stopped at Emerald Lake to shake off the city, then drove into Bennington for a coffee break and short visit. It wasn’t until early Sunday morning, with my wife and her sister off for their own walk, that I decided to take my camera and head out of suburban Troy into the countryside.

You don’t have to go far to drive the distance from an urban grid, to winding developments, to a rural scene that just sits right beyond the manicured lawns of suburban Troy. The landscape opens up with rolling hills, and stands of trees and widely separated homes. The roads are two lanes with intersecting secondary lanes that sit miles apart. And in the background, the mountains shoulder up to the sky, ghosted in the morning mist.

I pulled the car over and spent some time with my camera, focusing in on some cattails that grew in the bog that ran alongside the road. Only one or two cars passed by me in the half hour I spent wandering that road side. The only sounds were an occasional complaining crow or a yard dog barking an answer.

In an odd contrast, on Monday I had to commute into NYC for an appointment. Although it was back in a neighborhood I was familiar with, many of the stores had changes along with the physical look of the streets. Some smaller buildings had been taken down and replaced by rising towers of chrome and glass. Rather than absorbing the light like the soft surfaces of the masonry buildings that sat at their feet, these giants rose to capture the sun and reflect it back onto the busy streets below.

The City is different than Country. Aside from it’s pace, the City landscape grows up, piercing the sky with angles and spires while the Country grows out, rolling in waves across a broader landscape that’s more soothing than electric.

Both can be overwhelming. Yet the differentness is what makes them both intriguing…

Barn Door, Troy NY © Janet Kopito

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