Altamont, NY — How far back can you remember, before things fall

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Altamont, NY — How far back can you remember, before things fall

Altamont, NY — How far back can you remember, before things fall

Altamont, NY — How far back can you remember, before things fall apart? A few days ago I visited this farm and up came a strong memory of the first time I ran away. It sounds dramatic, was not. I didn’t hope to escape, but to return to a place I loved just down the road. I knew the way, knew the signs. Tall grass at the roadside, a ditch beside it deeper than I was tall, a pool of water there wriggling with life. Three years old and I walked out of the apartment complex and toward the dairy barn by the railroad tracks. It’s amazing no one stopped me, that my brother kept silent, though it was a different era. I wore overalls and a baseball cap and must have appeared so sure of my destination that the neighbors left me to it. The barn doors were open, always, and out breathed the sweet warm scent of cows. Behind the milking stations rivulets of mud and piss moved dark and sluggish toward rusting drains. A carpet of hay over the concrete floor, crickets in the corners below cobwebs. And nearby, scraping the heels of his tall rubber boots or steering the red groaning tractor, was Farmer Foley. Maybe his boots were tall, maybe the tractor was red. Anyway the man was a giant and somewhere, in a shoebox, is a photograph that captures the world: Foley and his sons, their cows and the cats, garter snakes and toads and tractors. Everything enormous and tolerant, none of the rules set fast. My mother found me below the hayloft, where a litter of kittens lay between summer-scented bales. She made no fuss, held my hand home. I ran away a few times after that but never anywhere so good.

#runaway #dairyfarm #barns #cows #rural #outinthesticks #mothersandsons #_intermission_ #outliers #fueradelmarco

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