This land is a place I’ve wandered quite a lot, some areas of it I’ve explored much more than others, and in greater detail, mostly because I loved what I saw and felt and sensed in every which way while in a particular place the first time, so went back. And the this of the land to which I refer is the USA, me and Bruce were born here, both of us in New Jersey even, even if via routes quite different.
As I understand it, I was conceived upstate, along the Hudson, Dad’s RCA stop before NJ, not all that far south of where I sit now. Bruce was from the Jersey shore.
The only two states I’ve not yet visited are ND and SD, so I’ll check them out, might as well, as well as the UP in MI. I quite like visiting places I’ve not been before, just to see what’s there, what the people are like, how the vibe feels.
As much as New England appeals to me, there’s a vibe in many areas there that is so strictly North, and Ivy League Uppity North, and angst and anger, coldness, like, Ice Hockey North, a sense of hurry, something that’s just flat out missing from much of the Slow South.
New York and New Jersey, I mean, cross either state line, and driving gets aggressive. PA is okay, mostly the middle part, but get too close to Steel Country and it gets kind of funky dirty quickly. Up north leads to Upstate NY, very pretty, but still, lots of uppity, at least until one gets over to not really Midwest, and brutal winters, and Lakes industry and pollution.
Florida is Florida, where I spent most of my childhood, so it I know well, and it’s funny, the east side is mostly transplants from NY, the west side transplants from the Midwest, which isn’t Midwest in this country, at all, it’s freaking way north and east-ish, but whatever, lots of the westside of FL is more from the not quite east coast, northways. Then there’s the northern part of the state which has lots of deep south influence, and the panhandle, kind of a mix of snowbird northerners and deep south rednecks, the latter not commanding the oceanfront properties. The interior part of the state, farm workers, Disney and Orlando, the Magic Kingdoms, except if one is poor and black, and swamp folk. Of course now, it’s all just kind of a big mess.
Hot and humid as all get out, too.
The Midwest which isn’t, I haven’t visited all that much, but I’ve done time in WI, Madison, that was fun, plus we explored bit while there, up into the WI vacation spots. I’ve done time at Niagara, and Toronto, and the wine and peach country up there. Did Minneapolis, too, but that was a quick trip, a little exploration, and Chicago, great town, for a city, one of my more favorite cities, but never Bemidji (don’t ask me why, it just appeals ), and never into the Dakotas.
The West, well, I’ve done all over the Rockies, several times, there’s not much more spectacular, north to south, alpine to low desert, freaking Yuma. The change in environment that goes hand in hand with the change in altitude is magnificent, the vistas breathtaking. Yuma is breathtaking, too, in a different kind of way. I did have more than enough low desert.
Utah, tentative plans make it my next state of residence, kind of, at least for a month or two, and as odd as it might seem, Utah is among my favorite of western states. I mean, face it, the whole world is weird, politically. It’s super diverse, from the magic of Zion to Arches and the huge clonal Aspen stands in Fish Lake Forest to the beautiful Unitas, climbing into Wyoming.
Wyoming, Montana. ‘nuff said, or at least before the pine borers got too bad. Montana had some sick spots last time I passed through, but both places, magical.
Southern California, other than its climate, holds no appeal. None. Don’t like LA, San Diego is so over the top Uppity, it makes Boston look, well, Boston still looks uppity, but without the tan.
No, give me citizenship in the North side of that state after the Water Wars, except probably not, because the Left Coast is just way too freaking expensive for anyone of my ilk, particularly as one moves northward.
The PNW is way pretty, with good food, way over the top expensive. Way pretty and good food is for the beautiful people, and Bill Gates. It’s dreary, too, I’m way too fond of Sunshine for too much time in the upper left of the country.
I like Arkansas, it’s pretty, and not very densely populated, at all. It’s religiously weird, most of the south is, but everywhere there are young people who have more open minds than did their parents and grandparents. Land is relatively cheap there, too. Parts of Tennessee and Louisiana were okay too. N'walins, a nice place to visit, don't want to live there.
I still haven’t written my piece on the south yet. It will come. There is something about the south, the vibe, lots of beautiful souls in the south, I think it's a population density thing.
That very middle bit of the country holds little appeal for me, that line that runs from Kansas down on into Texas, right through good old Oklahoma, even if it is the birthplace of the guy who wrote the song about This Land being Made for You and Me.
I like Hobo’s Lullaby better. This land wasn’t made for you and me, nor for those who claim ownership, nor the nation, nor the indigenous people who lived on it before the Jambalaya (a Hank song, but Woody doesn’t mind sharing) that invaded it and lives here now.
The land was made for that which inhabited it a hundred million years before we arrived, and that which will inhabit it long after we’re gone. It was made for itself, by itself. Maybe, just maybe, we can learn to live on it.
First we need to get over the idea that it is yours, or mine, or made for us. That’s just not so.