I live in a picture-perfect region — the Hudson Valley, memorialized by painters and poets; a patchwork of autumn reds and yellows, majestic hillsides, storied waterfalls, and little homesteads dotted picturesquely on the slopes of sleepy hamlets.
Towns in our area look like Norman Rockwell paintings: there is Main Street, Millerton, with its white 19th century church steeple, its famous Irving Farm cafe with the excellent curated coffee beans, its charming antiques mall, its popular pizzeria.
When you drive to Millerton, it looks like you are driving into the heart of archetypal America; everything that Woody Guthrie songs memorialize, everything of which American soldiers dreamt when they were far away — everything decent and pure, is to be found in Hudson Valley towns.
It sure looks that way, anyway.
But these days, I am obliged to maintain a fervent inner monologue, just so I can pleasantly go about my business in the local hardware store, in the local florist, in the post office.
Because an emotional massacre has taken place in these little towns. And now we are expected to act as if — this never happened at all.