I like to think that natural beauty can be found anywhere, but I have to admit that too often, what’s happened is that brute ugliness has prevailed in far too many places, typically as a result of greed. There’s no excuse for much of that, either. A little extra expenditure could have added grace to any development, created visual intrigue, lessened the harshness. Urban or rural or what’s in-between, alas.
Whenever possible, I chose career moves that opened me to natural or artistic settings and inspiration – along with opportunities to shine professionally. It’s meant avoiding suburbs, for one thing. Sometimes, though, it’s also meant invoking a sliding scale of value – you know, finding pockets of serenity within otherwise harsh localities. And then there were some other postings that principally industrial, even when it was mostly farmland. So it’s been a mix.
Still, as I’ve said, I came to realize that had I remained in my native corner of Ohio, I wouldn’t have been able to write poetry, the vibe was simply wrong. Or, if I had, it would have been much different from what I’ve done.
On the other hand, the four years I lived two hours east of Mount Rainier, back in the late ’70s, gave me repeated access to one of America’s greatest national treasures, often from lesser-known perspectives. What memories! And that’s before I turn to much of the back country and wilderness that was closer to our home. I even came to love the beauty of the desert where I was living, a landscape that initially struck us as hideous.
Now I’m finding myself dwelling two hours east of an even more popular natural park, Acadia. Already, I have glimmers of many backwoods and remote rocky shores to explore in-between.
Technically, all of Downeast Maine is also Acadia, the French name of the region. For most folks, though, Acadia means the park.
The biggest land mammal out west was the elk, while here in northern New England, it’s the moose. Just as the celebrated shellfish here is lobster, rather than Dungeness crab.
The fact is, for many people, either place is about as close to paradise as you’d find on earth.
And, yes, I’m feeling lucky – or especially blessed – that way.