I don't understand why sometimes the spring season elicits an ancient yearning in me to leave my current life behind and run away to the places I consider my "spiritual" homes and to track down people whose friendship or love I feel is what fait truly had destined for me, but "life" interfered.
So far this is not one of those springs. It's still early, and as the weather brightens and becomes warmer, I may indeed feel the drive to flee to Key West, FL or Moab, UT, but currently I'm pretty stable about staying put.
Key West and Moab are two places where I've spent time and felt a sense of "arrival"; like I finally found my home. Twenty-plus years ago those places were New York City and Boston. Although they still hold attraction to me, I'd rather visit than live there. Been there, done that.
I'm surprised at how different these two location are. Key West is surrounded by water and Moab is high in the Rocky Mountains. Although both have a similar anti-establishment vibe. Key West prides itself on being the southernmost place in the continental U.S. and is a port for cruise lines. The "Duval Crawl" is an infamous way of bar-hopping up one side and down the other of Duval Street where famous bars like Sloppy Joe's are located. Sloppy Joe's was one of Ernest Hemingway's hang-outs when he lived in Key West. I've taken the tour of his home on the island and saw my share of six-toed cats which were supposedly spawned by an original pair that lived on his property.
Moab is entirely different. It's surrounded by Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, the Colorado River, the Green River, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Natural Bridges National Monument. The way that wind, rain and time (and I suspect, the hand of God) have shaped this landscape is breathtaking. I've seen arches in the making; the difference between arches and bridges are that arches are not rock eroded by water, they are swept away by wind which creates a hole in the large rock and leaves the arch hanging over the top. Bridges however, are created through erosion by water and frequently the water changes course and all that's left is the bridge hanging over the top. While visiting Canyonlands, Mark and I were there late at night, stopped the car and laid on the hood, looking at the stars. I have never seen so many stars; they blanketed the sky and we saw the edges of the Milky Way. The first few days we were in the area there was a full moon. I've never seen the light of such a bright moon. There was no urban light pollution to fade the natural light away. Shadows of rock formations were lit as if there was a spotlight pointed on them. It was magical and grounding all at the same time.
I once played a game that asked, "Which would you rather give up: never again seeing the ocean or never again seeing mountains?" I have no idea how to answer that question. I don't want to give up either. I want to swim in the ocean in Key West, San Francisco and Boston harbor. I want to climb the mountains in Utah, California and North Carolina. Are these dreams I should pursue or are they memories of amazing places I've vacationed and have treasured memories of?
Right now, my general statement is: I don't care if I have to live in a box on the beach, I'm retiring to Key West. Alternately, I state: I don't care if I have to live in a box in the foothills, I'm retiring to Moab. Since I'll likely need to work until I'm 70 years old to have any type of retirement, I'm grateful I don't have to make this decision until roughly 2041, so I've got some time to think it over.