Saturday, November 28, 2009


How do we end up where we end up? It's curious to me that humans land in such different spaces: areas where microclimates, based on either weather or politics, are so diverse. I'm wondering if folks naturally migrate to the spots on the planet that seem to fit, as Goldilocks would say, "just right." I was told that one area of the planet that I like a lot would be good for me as it has "more portals." Not sure what that means, but pretty sure I like it. Like the thought of having doorways to whatever is crucial for my well-being. Like the thought of not being in a mental cul-de-sac for the rest of my years. Like the thought of feeling comfortable, each day, waking to an environs that welcomes a creature as weird as this one...

The trick, of course, is finding that spot. My favored authors--Dillard, Erhlich, Williams, Bass, Oliver--extoll their special places. New England woods, Wyoming range, southern Utah desert, Montana mountains, Atlantic seaboard all welcome these scribes. Each scape offers a unique treasure to the writer who's open, who's aware: Terry Tempest Williams slices, not just a tongue, but a heart, with her rendering of cutting an avocado in hot red sand. Mary Oliver spurs grins with the gaiety of her daily seashore strolls. Gretel Erhlich, whose intensity sometimes triggers tears, displays the limitless expanse of western wildland in a way that makes all covetous. Rick Bass' quiet chat about the Yaak Valley, the domesticity of living among four-legged creatures, is soothing and sweet.

I'd love to live in the desert, on the seashore, in the high mountains, or on the range but, unfortunately, I have to live in an urban, or semi-urban area to make ends meet. My evenings aren't to be shared with howling coyotes, I'm afraid, or with wheeling rounds of terns. So, given the limitations of making ends meet, what is one to do when looking for a place that fits "just right?"

Wonder how we end up in the spots we deem as "Home Sweet Home." Are we creatures of habit, following the well-worn treads of our ancestors? Are we rebels, scoffing at the warnings of our elders, as we head out the door to settle in unexplored nests? Are we just nonchalant: landing somewhere between where we're hatched and where we die, whatever..?" Do genetics shoot us full of momentum or lull us into stassis? Or do the wild circumstances of our environs---whether streaming from dinner table conversation or electronic impulse of radio, TV, computer---determine whether we come or we go?

I know of folks who wouldn't leave their hometowns for billions and others who'd be off in a flash if the chance were presented. Me, I'm a curious observer. I like the town I'm in. It's okay. Not too big; not too small. Not too snobby; not too much lowlife. And yet...presented the opportunity to migrate to a place where portals await, I'd probably be packing my bags and heading on down the road.

A curious thing, the phenomenon called "place." Why do we end up where we do?

1 comment:

  1. I ended up where I am by chance opportunity. We came, thinking we didn't have to stay if we didn't want to, but now it is home and more than that. Maybe it's the portals! But there is a place in the mountains of Idaho, where, as a child, I helped my Dad build a cabin and that is where I feel most at peace. Pine, fir, aspen, mountain maple, blue sky. I'd like to divide myself between the two places.