Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beauty in Both

There is a depth, a steadfastness in living in one area your entire life.  

I think of my friend, Elaine, living on her family farm, treading the same floors and fields that her great grandparents trod.  

People who have deep roots in a community—roots that go back generations—sometimes have an understanding of the landscape and character of the community that others do not.  

Leaving my home in California and going back to my Kansas hometown last week, however, makes me glad I am a transplant. 

There is no doubt that I am now a California girl.  I am happy to live here.  The lifestyle, weather, and mix of people suit me.  

There is also no doubt that I am a Midwesterner at heart.  Green fields dotted with black and white cows, a red cardinal in a cottonwood tree, the smell of lilacs in the spring, the texture of a bale of hay—all these things touch something deep within me. 

Landing at the airport in Kansas City means landing amid fields. Last week as we touched down, I looked out and smiled at all that beautiful space, uninterrupted by roads or buildings.  Then I heard the guy behind me, a thick New York accent coming through, “Look at that,” he groaned.  “Nothing but fields.  How do people stand to live here?”  

My first impulse was to stand up and give him a Betty Glare, but I refrained and instead felt sorry for him. 

It occurred to me that there is a danger to living too narrow of a life.  

Moving from one region to another does not insure perspective, but it does help.  Not everyone is guilty of such narrowness of outlook.  However, many people who are born and raised in California are often sure it is Heaven on Earth.  The New Yorker behind me no doubt thought his birthplace superior.  Country songs hail the South.  Midwesterners often discount other ways of life and Texans?  Well, we won’t even discuss Texans.  

Pride in your home region is good. The danger comes when people of a region discount the validity of a life lived outside of that region.

Now, I love my home state of Kansas but my politics and driving habits veer more towards California.  I am privileged to feel at home in both the Midwest and California.  My plan is to live in California the rest of my life, but I’ll always make trips back to Kansas—to look at those fields, to breathe that air, to visit with my people there. 

On those trips, as the plane approaches the runway in KC, I’ll smile to see those open fields.  

Then, when I land in LA, I’ll smile to see the complicated crossword puzzle of traffic below me.  

There is beauty in both.


Jane Westwell said...

I agree Betty, we do need the contrasts but usually settle in the space that suits us best. And thank goodness we're all different... or the countryside would be crowded! (Don't think I'd like to be on the receiving end of a Betty Glare;o)

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Betty,

Yes, we should certainly be of the view that life is richer with a variety of outlooks and experiences. There is, however, something totally captivating about being grounded in a specific place where generations of your family have gone before.

We too embrace change and thrive on the differences that exist between our natural home in the UK and our adopted home in Hungary. We feel privileged to enjoy the best of both worlds and do agree that it gives one a broader view on Life itself.

Olga said...

The NY accent made me laugh. I actually like that accent. It sounds so rude always, but for some reason I like it.

YrHmblHst said...

Texans? No need to discuss em because the vast superiority of The Republic is self evident!
And how you didnt tell that jerk to please go back as he is unwanted out here is beyond me ; your self control rivals your talent with the written word.

My Mind's Eye said...

Good morning BB!!!
We've missed you and your lovely writing. We live in the middle of the Triangle area of NC. 3 major universities, NCSU, UNC and Duke.
Lots of brilliant minds and state of the art research programs at all including companies in Research Triangle Park. People from all over the world. So I know what you mean...often I hear complaints about how things are done in the opposed to where they lived before moving here. BUT in the end they all come to love it here.
Hugs Cecilia
PS if you get a moment today check out the final tally from my hubby's bday card shower.

Miriam in KS said...

Amen, Betty. Amen.

jenny_o said...

So well put, Betty. I was born and raised in the country but prefer the urban life that I have now. But ... there's a peace and quiet in the country that connects me more deeply to the basics of life.

"Driving habits"? LOL Tell us more :)

Tabor said...

I am a multiple time transplant from the west to the south to the tropics and to the city. I love them all and feel I fit almost everywhere.

Gigi said...

Hey, hey now...I'm sure you don't want to discuss Texans is because we are so superior; right? ;-)

Hilary said...

Agreed. I was born and grew up in Montreal. Lived the next 30 years in the suburbs and am now out in the country. All have their wonders and value.

Alison said...

You'll be at home in both places, and always miss something about the place you're not.

My dad grew up in NYC, but I was raised in rural Ohio, so I've always had attachments to multiple places and cultures. I think it instilled a sort of wanderlust in my brother and me, as we've both lived abroad repeatedly. Or maybe it's just something about Ohio.

Shelly said...

Texans? Those egotistical folks... :)

Slamdunk said...

Glad that you are comfortable as you in both worlds. Having moved quite a bit, I have also seen lots of different parts of the country. Despite the opinions, each has its pluses and minuses.

Glad you are back!

Leah J. Utas said...

Every place has its wonders.

Unknown said...

Well said! This really reflects my relationship with Kansas and Colorado. Kansas will always have a piece of my heart, but Colorado is where I belong.

Pat Tillett said...

If people have an open mind about things, they might be able to find happiness most anywhere. I like seeing where other people live and what they do.

Nice writing Betty.

Baby Sister said...

I like your new header!!

It's true, there is beauty everywhere as long as we're willing to look for it. Kind of like there's always a positive/silver lining as long as we're willing to look for it.

That being said...I will always be a Utah girl. Lol ;)