11 October 2009


all my life i have searched for the perfect balance between nature and culture. cities offer fine dining, museums, live theater, music, dance, cultural diversity -- yet they are also polluted, overcrowded, noisy, and sometimes dangerous. wilderness offers peace, comfortable solitude, clean air, the delight of watching wild animals, birds and plants -- yet it is also socially isolating, short on access to the arts, and sometimes hard work. where is the middle ground?

for a time, in my early 30s, i found it in some measure. i was caretaker at a nature conservancy preserve in southern arizona, and made frequent trips into tucson, 65 miles away. but my marriage came apart, and i aspired to return to school for my degree (ecology & evolutionary biology), so i moved back to tucson to attend the university of arizona.

now, after a lifetime of colorful jobs in far-flung places, i'm retired, and thinking about where i'd like to live more permanently. both the southwest and the pacific northwest have their appeal, in that they are known quantities with familiar attractions. but might i want to try someplace i've never lived before? i vascillate. the familiar: portland, oregon, or tucson, arizona? someplace new: santa fe, new mexico, or san luis obispo, california? what about overseas? spain, ireland, costa rica, tanzania, new zealand? so many possibilities, cultures, climates. i welcome suggestions.

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