Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Home" landscapes

With this post, I am shifting the focus of my blog from SLA's "23 Things" initiative to "my random thoughts about stuff," starting with why certain places, in particular in Maine, have such a strong pull for me.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, probably because my husband and I are starting to plan our move back to Maine with his retirement from his federal government job. My guess is it has to do with where one grew up; you either love similar places or hate them. I am drawn to landscapes and climates similar to those where I grew up. Central Maine has mixed woods and fields, humpy roads, hills and dales with short horizons for the most part, and a particular set of plants and animals in it. There are four very distinct seasons -- well, three anyway: winter, mudseason, and the 4th of July, as the joke goes.

Not to say I don't enjoy visiting other sorts of places. The southwest is great, but I'd have to live in the mountains to feel comfortable (need those trees!). There's too much open space in the desert areas, and I think it would take a lot of time for me to adjust to such a hot arid climate. So I'm probably not going to be comfortable long-term in a desert environment. Southern California holds not appeal. The South? forget it -- too hot and humid, among other reasons. Cities? Love to visit.

For my big adventure right after college, I went to Alaska and loved it, so you know for sure I'm a cold-weather gal who doesn't need hordes of people around me. (Also the social and cultural enviroments in Alaska are endlessly fascinating.)

I used to refer to where I grew up as "home with a capital H" -- as opposed to wherever I was living at the time (merely "home"). Mind you, I don't want to live in the town I grew up in, which I have no great affection for, just somewhere in the state.

Here's a question for you: when you daydream of chucking it all and going off to start a new life somewhere else, where is that place? What are the candidates? What do they have in common? Are they where you grew up, or similar to it? Or are they as far from where you grew up as is possible on the earth, whether in a geographic, climatic, or social sense? My candidates: anywhere in Maine and Alaska, northern Arizona or New Mexico in the mountains.