Anger Overtakes America – Can the Berkshires Be the Antidote?

A stroll along the Housatonic River in Great Barrington, Mass., invites a cooling-off period

Just this past week, I’ve had several conversations with friends in which we remarked how we detect a palpable level of tension bordering on anger and hostility rarely felt in the placid, laid-back environs of the Berkshires. (In New York City, of course, these feelings are to be expected, and they serve as much as protective armor as anything else. There, we laugh at them.) People, however, seem to be on edge lately, impatient, tightly wound, ready with a cruel stab disguised as a sarcastic quip, or, thinking the worst of others, primed to take offense at the most innocuous of statements or actions.


Thus it unfortunately doesn’t come as a surprise and it does come as cold comfort to read that the level of anger and hostility we’ve sensed here in our rural utopia is part and parcel of a national affliction. Here’s hoping with the summer months and gorgeous weather we’ve been enjoying that – at least in the Berkshires – people get out and about into nature and breathe richly and deeply of the vital oxygen that in and of itself is an antidote to a build-up of tension that causes anger. There are undoubtedly very real reasons to fear and be afraid, genuine causes for anxiety – but to channel these into anger and hostility toward others is never a solution and only serves to worsen the situation.


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