Even now, just days after I helped my parents pack up their home of almost 30 years, it is still painful to contemplate the loss of the house and the community.

I shot the photograph on this page, one evening, as we drove across the lake. The reservoir sits there peacefully, a calming body of water in an increasingly frenetic world.

Just along the eastern side, the Pascack Valley train blows its whistle as it enters the station, a place where I once disembarked in the days when I commuted from here to New York City.

Somehow something immeasurable and profound seems to have been stolen. A quiet place with reassuring routines, those days that one spent reading under the large trees or watching the rain from the front porch. Gone for eternity.

Two old movies come to mind when I think of losing Woodcliff Lake. One is “Mildred Pierce” when little Kay dies of pneumonia and Mildred busies herself by working hard to open the restaurant. Another is “An Affair to Remember” when vacationing Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, cruise ship in port, visit his grandmother in her small French port town. After a day of togetherness with the old lady, they hear the ship’s whistle blow, a low groan that stands for separation, loss and dwindling time.

So the real places, those towns of brick and wood, with four seasons and good food, farms and open lawns, and that enormous city built on bedrock with the beacon of liberty in its harbor, these locales now are airy memories.

Los Angeles, you welcome us! Here we come, crippled, exhausted and sad….

The future of happiness is a lie built on a promise that is built in a digital edit bay, on a seismically shaky phoenix whose very existence is a sham. But we smile, as we must, because tomorrow is a sunny day, and life must go on, and a thousand other cliches to recite ad nauseum, but deep down we know what our heart tells us is true.

What car can we lease?


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