My aunt’s house in Dryden, NY is like something out of a storybook. It is perched on a hill in the rural up-state area. Homes and farms dot the rolling landscape. The house itself is tiny, white, old. I think it is still heated by a central furnace.

Step into the backyard, a small vegetable garden boasts cucumber and squash during the summer. There is a solitary large tree from which a swing made of twine and and a plank of wood hangs down. The whole backyard is framed by tall ryegrass and milkweeds. At dusk we like to whack the milkweeds until their seeds float off into the sunset.

The house overlooks a valley framed by rounded old mountains. There is a glistening pond down on the neighbor’s property. Birds are chirping, and you can hear the occasional cow moo as it approaches the pond. The air is clear, the sun is mild, and the temperature not too hot even though it is summer. Everything is perfect.

At night, you can see the stars. I’ve never seen so many stars in my life. You look up, the sky goes on forever and you can see it all because you’re in the mountains and there are no buildings or trees to block your view. It’s overwhelming, you may even be moved to tears.

I wouldn’t mind living in Dryden some day.