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Hill Country Living

Good Tuesday Morning From New York City


Good day, again, from New York City! I’ve written a couple of columns from here before so it may seem like I’m here all the time. But really I only come up here two or three times a year and for some reason the trip always lines up to be on a Tuesday morning, which is when I write my column. That’s not when I should write my column, mind you, as my actual deadline is Monday morning. But I always feel I need an extra day to process the weekend because the weekend is when all the good stuff happens – or so I tell myself. It’s probably just because I consistently forget to write it on Monday morning.

This particular morning I am writing my column from Kiva Motnyk’s studio. Kiva is my New York partner for YaloRun Textiles in Water Valley. Her studio is called Thompson Street Studio and it is Yalorun’s “sister studio.” Kiva’s mom bought the entire second story of a building on the top edge of Soho back in the 1970s, back when nobody cared about Soho too much. 

Well, now everyone definitely cares about Soho. I can stand on her fire escape and see the Freedom Tower to the left and the Empire State Building to the right. I can cross one street and be in Greenwich Village. Other times, I have written my column while sitting on a park bench in Washington Square Park while a haggard pigeon the size of King Kong stared at me in an unhappy manner. 

But there would be some drawbacks to living here. Like, for instance, having a dog. Yesterday when I was riding the cab into town I saw a dog wearing a little baseball hat and a track suit and he had four little Chuck Taylors on his feet. He was riding a skateboard. He looked very confident. His owner walked along beside him like he was a normal person who didn’t have a Beastie Boy for a dog. 

While this was cool because the dog was clearly born to do that, all the other dogs I see are just dogs stuck in the city. The humans have professional dog walkers that come take them for long strolls every day. These guys will walk, like, eight dogs at once with leashes extending out from them in all directions, like some canine-hungry monster octopus. The guy that comes and walks Kiva’s dog, Sammie, also walks a wolf. Yes. He walks a wolf.

Yesterday in Washington Square Park one of the dog walkers had around 10 dogs ranging in size from a chihuahua up to a large breed poodle. He had all the dogs trained to sit in two rows like a class portrait. Big dogs in back, small dogs up front. They all looked forward at their walker as he was sprawled out on the sidewalk snapping portraits for their owners who were surely off at work somewhere in the city. 

This feat, to get 10 dogs to pose for a 2-rowed school portrait was so impressive that a large crowd had gathered to take their own photos of the dogs. There was lots of ooh-ing and that’s-so-cute’s. It was a calm little scene of ordered perfection.

Suddenly, from only a few feet away, a massive flock of hundreds of pigeons burst up into the air with the wind strength of a helicopter. The flight was so sudden and manic that everyone’s hair blew back, hats came off, children screamed. When the birds cleared into the sky all that was left was a crazed homeless man dressed in rags standing there smiling, with his main pigeon still sitting on his arm like a loyal parrot. He had made his point.

The dogs had remained calm, though, staying in perfect portrait position throughout the entire episode, focused only on their teacher, ready for their next treat. By some miracle, they hadn’t moved at all. All except for one. He was in the back. You could tell from his spots that there was some birddog in him somewhere. 

When the pigeons lifted into the sky you could see this dogs head jerk up. He watched the birds fly off with eyes wide. His body lifted ever so slightly off the ground. He trembled for a second. His tail twitched. As the last bird flew off down 5th Avenue, you could see this one dog, still wild at heart, taking tiny little imaginary bites in the air.  

A country dog in the city. It seemed cruel at first but, on second thought, maybe it’s a good combination, in a way. He will get to have it all. The pigeon, the track suit, the wolf friend. What a life. I love New York. 

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