In 1986, I moved to New York City (pop. 8.406 million) to make it big.
And I did. I've built a successful career on the radio, working for 15 years at WNYC, the largest and most successful public radio station in the country. I hosted NPR's "All Things Considered" from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM, writing and reading newscasts, conducting interviews, introducing our reporters' stories, and providing live election night coverage.
I reported on then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg's post-Nine Eleven decision in 2002 to suspend plastic and glass recycling, earning the WNYC Newsroom title of "Garbage Queen." Several months earlier, I stood at a phone booth at the corner of Vesey and Church Streets, at the perimeter of the World Trade Center, waiting for NPR to transfer me to "Morning Edition" host Bob Edwards to talk to him about the two huge, smoke-belching holes I was seeing in the sides of the North and South Towers. A police officer threatened to take my press pass away from me if I didn't leave the scene immediately, and that on-air conversation never happened. But I'll hazard that he saved my life.
My husband-to-be, Mark Hilan, meanwhile, was broadcasting the story of that terrible day from WNYC's studios at One Centre Street, several long city blocks from the World Trade Center. He was the first broadcaster to report that a plane had hit the North Tower.
Our wedding that Saturday, September 15, was pushed back to January.
Nearness to death has a way of clearing space, of brushing out the sticky cobwebs of complacency and habit. It wasn't Nine Eleven that did that for me, though. It was the death of my sister-in-law, of breast cancer, in 2013 and of my mother-in-law, in May, 2014, of infection from surgery to replace her worn-out knee.
Bubbling up came the desire to slow down, to be closer to the rhythms of the earth, not the world. To be closer to my parents, while they're still alert and active, and closer to my nieces, while they're still young enough to desire my company. To look at life from a different angle and see ourselves, and others, anew.
So we moved to rural Ohio!
In September, 2014, we bought a house in Ada (pop. 5,823) and moved there to make it small.
Some of the older locals call it "Easter Egg House," because it looks like one of those sparkling sugar-and-icing candy eggs. The house is a frothy pastel turquoise and blue spruce-colored confection, built in 1900 in the Queen Anne Victorian style. It looks like a Fannie May Mint Meltaway. We've admired it from afar for 14 years, and loved it from the moment we stepped inside, coming in through the back door, the family entrance.
We want to share Easter House with you, and help you follow your path to smallness, wellness, newness.
Life's too short -- and too long -- for all our working and striving and big time living. Step back. Come visit us and explore rural Ohio. Hang out by the fire, or let your mind wander while you swing idly on the back porch. Watch the world go by on the front porch, and wave to the neighbors. They may even come over for a chat. Help us pick apples from our wildly productive apple tree out back. Maybe we'll have apple pie for breakfast the next morning. Who says we can't? Take long drives through the countryside. Watch an Amish farmer and his team of draft horses plow a field in nearby Kenton. Or find a quirky treasure at one of the antique stores up the road in Mt. Cory. Wash your soul in music from the Lima Symphony Orchestra.
Relax. Refresh. And return, renewed.
Follow the path to smallness, wellness, newness.