05 May 2014

Seriously Now — Where Would We Live in the USA?

"This land is your land, this land is my land,
From California, to the New York Island,
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters,
This land was made for you and me."*

Two blogposts ago I joked about the difficulty that eventual repatriation to the United States might present. I said that one of the obstacles to moving back was just plain not knowing where in the U.S. a person would repatriate to. There’s a lot more serious truth in that than just the jokey attitude I took in the blogpost. Sometimes when it’s late at night, and friends with whom we’ve shared a few bottles of wine have left, and Mark and I are alone on our terrace with our nightcaps, we get to talking. "Let’s say we had to go back," the conversation starts . . . (By the way, the motive for returning is never spelled out in these hazy dialogues in the dark. Have to go back? Are we being deported? We don’t ever explore that issue.) Okay, back to where we were, under the influence of a little buzz. "Let’s say we had to go back . . . where in the U.S. would we go?"

We’ve read all the articles, like The Ten Best U.S. Cities to Retire To, The Ten Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In and The Ten Most Beautiful Cities in the U.S. We recently read America’s Ten Most Miserable Cities, too, thinking what the hell, maybe we could get a great deal on property! Anyway, it’s a big country, and you’d think we’d have no trouble choosing a new home. We’d just be looking for some place affordable, where the quality of life is high, and where there is excellent medical care (we're getting on in years). A big plus would be easy access to an international airport, for I suspect a steady stream of Brazilian friends would start to visit immediately. What seems to happen, though, is that instead of coming up with some easy, obvious options, we end up thwarted by an exhausting process of elimination.

We can’t go back to New York, it’s too expensive, too fast, too stressful. And what would we do, spend the rest of our days going to the free movies at the Museum of Modern Art? I’m pretty adamant about avoiding snow and ice and freezing wind, so that rules out the entire top tier of the United States, including Alaska. Let’s see — I was born in Florida and that state always looks enticing, but Florida is hurricane territory. My mother’s stories of her standing at the front door with a shovel, killing snakes as they slithered into the house after a hurricane, still reverberate. California, here I come** is fun to sing, but do I really need to test my earthquake survival skills? We’re thinking we should also avoid the entire tornado belt running down the middle of the country. Hawaii looks promising, until you start thinking about tsunamis. Not much left to the United States once you consider weather.

Around Cathedral Rock, photo by Bo Montenegro
Years ago we took a car trip around some of the southern and south Atlantic states, just to see if anything grabbed us. Nothing did, but I suspect our hearts weren’t really in it. Lately, we’ve been talking about a similar trip around the American southwest. A Brazilian friend of ours lives in Sedona, Arizona, and his gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous photographs have stimulated our interest. (Check out more pictures on his Web site, http://www.bomontenegro.com) It’s very tempting, but there is that little problem of Arizona being a Red State . . . I don’t know. For right now, we’ll keep thinking and talking. We’ll keep on staring out from our terrace, which just happens to be in a place where the quality of life is high and where there is excellent medical care. There’s also pretty easy access to an international airport. So, wait . . . what’s the problem?

*Woody Guthrie, music and lyrics
**Buddy DeSylva and Joseph Meyer, co-authors

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh the Southwest!!!!
    The Four Corner World and it's ancient magic!!!
    Big skies and wide open spaces are for those who love the outdoors.
    The Southwest is not a place in the map, but a way of living. I'm suspicious to say anything about this part of the world that I love sooo much. But lets see...
    Four Seasons and "dry" weather. Whatta great combination!!!
    Spectacular natural beauty, like the Grand Canyon, the Colorado Plateau and the Rocky Mountains. There are Volcanos and high Peaks, hight and low deserts, Caverns and Caves, rivers and lakes like no other place on Earth. An abundant and beautiful Wild Life.
    Ancient Human History. Amazing archeological sites dating over eighteen thousand years.
    Nation Monuments and National Parks make the land an open sky lab.
    And of course ... "The Wild West". I guess that goes without saying!!!
    Now my dear friends... Politics shouldn't be part or included in the equation. In our days it really doesn't matter if you are one or the other. Blues or Reds. It's been all the same that you and I do not want.
    As we say out here... "Mi casa es sua casa". You have a home in Sedona.
    Come to visit and be mesmerized.