We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
So-called "nice weather" doesn't mean a thing to real Yankees.
We exult in challenging weather, and love to go out in it to do things. Indeed, we look down on the "soft," who want life to be easy, overly comfortable, over-heated, and overly safe.
We like hard stuff, and we like to teach ourselves discipline. We do not respect the soft, lazy, easy parts ourselves - and rightly so. But we do not disdain good sex or good wine or good company. Even mediocre wine. And neither did the Puritans, as they were disparagingly termed.
Furthermore, we are raised to expect life to bang us up, draw some blood, break our hearts, make us shiver in the wet cold sleet, rust our guns, damage our faith, strain our capacities, get us lost in the financial, spiritual, metaphysical, or literal woods, disappoint our fondest hopes and dreams, make us hurt by friends and injured by enemies, drag us towards sin and pride, face us with risk, hand us loneliness and doubt, confront us with danger, add sorrow to our basket of sorrows, and even to kill some of us.
But we must give thanks for the chance to engage all of it, for better or worse, as best we can, with such gifts and such weaknesses as we are given. Can we take delight in the moments of joy and pleasure? Of course. But those are the exceptions: the dessert, the country pies of life.
No God promised us a rose garden: only politicans do that. God gave us mainly a chance for salvation of our souls - and interesting weather, and an interesting, complex, difficult life, to contend with, without all of the tools we really need....except the ablility to connect with God's love, if we want to. It's about Grace.
I did not mean to compete--but, rather to compare the places of our hearts. I do not understand why it is that people who are 3rd generation from the borroughs of New Jersey refuse to leave. I will never understand why it is that the people who grew up in Arkansas refuse to find a better quality of life. But, I DO UNDERSTAND why you and yours did not leave the Northeast. It is the same reason that my husband's family and our future generations will not leave this place. It is aboutsome primoridal connection. I can look at your picture and feel the grit in your soul. I would hope that you can look at this picture of our plac and know the endless quality of our nature.
If you would go to the western part of TX you would meet people who do not like trees! They don't like any building taller than 3 stories. Why? Because, it interfers with that which keeps them connected to place. It interferes with their horizon. A vision that is very different than what you and I experience in the place that we love and call "home'. The Texas people call vast, limitless horizons home. They are not comfortable unless they can "see the stranger coming--be he enemy, or friend." This is a very real part of what we are; this thing called place.
As for me: I love the vast horizon--the safety that comes from seeing who comes. However, I have been loved by the family of my husband. They are very comfortable in a small steep narrow valley. Up until 30 years ago, this place that is snowed in from mid December to first March was completely isolated. They would pack all that would sustain them into root cellars, and jars, and wood piles. They rwould ent books from the town library in September. Both the librian and our family understood that the books would not come back until after spring 'break up". After the snows melted enough to allow passage down a narrol road into town.
I bet you thought all that had passed out of our nation memory, our national being, a long time ago? I am here to tell you that in 1960 one young man was so determined to finish high school that he moved into town in the summer (afte spring haying). He took a used packing crate from the railroad yard and dragged it down to the river. He lived in that crate until almost Thanksgiving day. He needed to move into town to finish high school. He got a job as a box boy at the local supermarket. During the Thanksgiving week, one of the women who worked as a checker took him home to meet her husband--a wonderful man with a degree in engineering--they took the box boy home and built him a litte room in their garage.
So there you go Yankee--I hope you appreciate having met a son of the real west and the woman, who loves him! It is my hope that this little insight will help you to appreciate those of us who are OF the West. In some very basic ways we are kin.
Good job, Bird Dog. As we have told each other before, God cares more about our struggle to be holy than our happiness.
Got quite dewy eyed driving thru post holiday traffic jams this afternoon back from the family place to the fleshpots (aka the suburbs where we work and go to school), still in the NE, but richer and more decadent than our hilltop, trying to explain just what their Pilgrim ancestors had come here for, and why their ornery Boston Brahmin relatives were the way they were, and why their values were worth preserving...For a wonder, the kids' I-pod earphones fell out, the laptop clicking on the game ceased, and we actually talked for an hour about cross cultural child rearing practices, church attendance, business ethics, whether to cheat on a test, lie to a friend, etc. Told them about the horrors of living in Latin American police states as a kid and the loving friendships with people there, the way an American kid abroad grows up so blindly, in love foolishly devoted to their country that when they return, they are forever wondering "What happened to my country? The one I got black eyes defending..."