Just Another Day in Paradise

12  73%  19%  0mph EEN bar30.06 falls windchill 11  Winter

                 Waning Crescent of the Winter Moon

“Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.” – O.S. Marden

Salient advice as Kate and I prepare for Hawai’i.  “Just another day in paradise,” is often heard when there, from tourists and locals alike.  There’s another one, too, “Lucky we live Hawai’i.”  Marden echoes Emerson, who said he didn’t need to go to Italy to see beauty, because he found beauty wherever he was.  

“Wherever you go, there you are,” from the world of AA makes the same point.  We take our conclusions, biases, and perceptions with us wherever we go.

A trap into which I have fallen in the past and no doubt will fall into again measures home against the temporary pleasure found in any distant destination, from Ely and Duluth to Kauai and Angkor Wat.  Home will always come out second best, because by definition it does not have what Ely does, ready access to the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area.  It does not have the perfect, year round temperature of Hawai’i, nor does it have the ocean.  It does not have the howler monkeys and ancient temples of Angkor.  The Napali Coast fires the imagination in a way different from the drive up Round Lake Boulevard.

True.  All true.  Compare these far away places, however, to home from home.  Hawai’i does not have my friends.  Angkor does not have the Minneapolis Art Institute and my docent work.  Ely does not have easy access to theatres, orchestras and the Walker.  Kauai, though it is the garden isle, does not have the garden and grounds on which Kate and I have worked for over 14 years.  None of these places have our house, adapted to our creative work and the daily life we live.  Could these other places accrue amenities like these?  Friends, maybe, over years.  The peculiar blend of artistic life enjoyed here in the Twin Cities?  Probably not.  A house like ours?  Probably not.

Also true.  All true.  Still, we also have, for balance, the testimony of Mark and Elizabeth, who cast off their worldly belongings (ok, they stored some of them.) to travel the globe.  So far they’ve hit Buenos Aires, Peru, Shanghai and head out next week for Bangkok.  Their home is where they are, though they return here episodically to unite with family and friends.

I had a peripatetic 20’s and 30’s after 16 years in Alexandria, Indiana.  I lived in twelve different cities and rural areas until coming to the Twin Cities metro area.  Even after arriving in Minneapolis and St. Paul I lived in twelve different apartments and/or houses in both cities and two suburbs. 

The 14 years in Andover has come close to setting a record for personal stability.   The minuses are written in the script of every foreign or domestic destination that has called to me.  They are also painted in lost opportunities to experience other cultures and locales. 

The pluses though are profound.  Daily life has a routine that frees the mind for creative work.  I know the microclimates and the soil conditions of each inch of our 2.5 acres.  Our dogs and our children have lived their lives here, the dogs their whole lives, the children important parts.  Kate and I know each other as stewards of this land, this house and these memories.  Lucky we live Andover.

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