Monday, June 30, 2008

A study in contrasts

The open expanse of the South West supports a panoramic view out to the horizon, as far as the eye can see. (redundancy...boy it is late...) Some people feel openness and exhilaration, where the sand and dirt meet the sky in painted plateaus. There is so little to hide behind, so little protection. It’s hot, dry and unforgiving, yet beautiful in its sharp contrasts. Everything feels exposed.

The austerity and strength of the landscape offer the world up in sacrifice. “Take it all!” it seems to cry. Never without direction one starts down the road fully informed not only knowing where they are heading, but with equal ability to look back at where they have been. No excuses. Period!

The North East is a study of contrast as well and affords its drama, first by way of its changing seasons. They provide constant opportunities to challenge our sensibilities. I experience it all, the hot, the cold, the lush green protectiveness of summer foliage, the bare it all bleakness of an overcast winter day, as well as the transition seasons of autumn and spring preparing me for both extremes. These seasons offer comfort at the very least, by their certain predictability. The landscape plays its role in the drama as well. The NE’s unfolding foliage provides protectiveness along with its beauty and warmth. Even in the winter cold, the trees’ skeletal branches seem somehow able to keep the sky at bay.

I might not be able to see what’s coming, even if it’s just over the next hill in the NE, but I can duck and cover when necessary. The weight of the sky won’t crash down on me. I can’t easily see things coming from far away like the SW and get to experience it all bit by bit, enjoying each morsel along the way, because I'm not wasting time looking behind or wondering what’s coming down the road. (If there is even one that continues around the next bend of trees.)

How much of our personality comes into play when deciding where to live? How much does where we live, shape our personality? Or do we just gravitate to what is most familiar?

Why do I stay up late at night thinking about this stuff when I should be asleep?