Thursday, August 1, 2013

Multiple Personality Disorder-The Country

We went from the fast paced urban life to Frank's comfort zone in upstate, NY.  Frank grew up an hour and a half north of the city, in a little town called Rhinebeck.  Most of the friends he has today, he made while growing up here.  It's rare to see such an oddball group of people stay friends for as long as they have.  The community he grew up in was very close knit, and there weren't many lines between family and friends.  It wasn't uncommon to come home to find anyone of your friends, there specifically to hang out with your parents or to discover that they were living there for the next month or two.  I guess this is where Frank developed his ideas of community.  When I was first exposed to this 11 years ago, I was dumbfounded, and didn't quite know how to react to this openness.  Growing up in the city where you couldn't trust anybody or anything, this idea was a pure breath of fresh air, and the impression this made has stuck with me since.

Poughkeepsie, NY
Rhinebeck, NY

One of favorite families is that of Sean and Shea, and Sean’s mother, Janna.  When we first arrived up here, we had called Sean and were instantly invited to Janna’s place for a big dinner.  Janna has always been a very maternal figure and her house has an open door policy.  I can’t tell you how many Thanksgivings, Christmases, and random nights Frank and I have celebrated there.  She is an incredible cook and whenever we eat there, we feast.  Platters of Goat Stew, Quinoa, Monkfish, Snapper, and grilled vegetables are the norm.  There is always an array of delightful homemade desserts, and after dinner we enjoy coffee and conversations about the most nonsensical, abstract, and sometimes hilarious things.  I always say that Sean is Frank’s brother because they truly are kindred spirits. Their sensibilities and humor are so similar, and though they are so different, they are exactly the same.  They are some of our best friends, and people we used to hang out with at least once a week, cooking together, dreaming and scheming together, and just plain growing up.

Sean & Frank
Shea & I

We have also been enjoying bonfires and barbeques at the Rokeby property, a 200 hundred year old 43-room palatial mansion set on a sprawling 1000 acres, with another eccentric group of people, all our age or younger who have formed a small, but serious sailing community with thousands of miles of experience between, on small Lightnings to hundred foot Swans.  Cruising anywhere from the Hudson to the Gibraltar Strait.  Ben, a descendant of the Astors (Rokeby's owners) and someone Frank used to rock climb with, recently came back from living for 2 years in France after completing a full loop of the North Atlantic.  He had sailed his 32ft steel boat from the South of France, to Africa, to the Caribbean, to NY and then back via Newfoundland and Brittany.  During that trip, him and his group of friends stopped at French speaking schools in each country they visited and allowed the students to fill out questionaires and make art work that was exchanged with the next school visited.  The idea was to connect students that were all united by one language, but separated by country and culture.  When he returned to France, he put on an exhibit in Paris, showcasing the diversity through the eyes of schoolchildren. 

The property itself is a strange juxtaposition between opulence and decay.  The beauty of the old mansion mixed with the industrial machinery and broken down cars, makes for an interesting scene.  We barbequed in a 200 year old barn, that has been recently restored.  It was beautiful, with Christmas lights strewn from the rafters, and 150 yr old ice-boats stacked neatly beside them.  The nights up here have been filled with good music, old friends, meteor shower watching, and a lot of silly dancing. 

I forget that there are young people, like us, doing epic things and truly LIVING.  It has been so nice to have intellectual conversations varying from philosophy, art, quantum physics, polyamory, socioeconomic policy, to farming and everything in between.  Sailing is currently our lives, and more recently I realized, we have neglected our other interests and it’s been nice to refill the coffers with novel, dynamic ideas that our friends have always provided us with all these years.  It’s these interactions that have strongly influenced our personalities and I've never realized how much I've taken this for granted.

Rokeby Mansion
Old Barn
Crossing an old bridge to go swimming
Mooring Field at Rokeby
Swimming in the Hudson with Motor
Thanks for cooking, Asher
Jessica & Ben
Laura & Shea
Ben, Patrick, and Sean looking at meteors
Silly dancing

1 comment: