Monday, April 24, 2017


In Southern California, the weekend's box office numbers make the front page (usually below the fold, to be sure) of Monday's newspaper. In Seattle, the latest moves by Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft are reported at the top of every news program. In South Dakota, no news broadcast is complete without a list of prices for major crops and cattle.
Photo Credit: South Dakota Magazine
 Priorities reveal what's important to the soul of a region. Southern California thrives on the movie biz. Seattle views itself as a tech hub. South Dakota, despite a vibrant and growing tech and banking industry, has its heart in the farms that start just past the city limits.

I can't say whether one is better than the other. I remember as a teen, hating the superficiality of SoCal's news, and counting the days until I could finally leave. To be free of the valley whose buttes and mountains felt like they hemmed me in.

As a game developer at the start of my career, Settle's tech obsession intoxicated me. The pace, the changes! But the rain, the gloom, and the traffic all combined to wear me down year after year.

South Dakota is growing on me. The wide open spaces, a sense that my future is wide open again, and boundless possibilities for my family and me are right on the horizon. Seeing four actual seasons is different. The biting cold and snow of winter give way to green and the new life of spring. New life blooms into fullness in the heat and humidity of summer. The adventures of summer are celebrated and memorialized in the fireworks of autumn, and we breathe in the crisp air that presages another rest, another blanket of snow from winter once again.

Still, I find myself missing California. I miss mountains covered in snow, salty sea air, and cold Pacific ocean waters. Perhaps someday, California will right itself from the political disaster that it's become, and in my later years, I can return.
Image source
Perhaps not. Maybe, like a teenage first love that's long past but never forgotten, I can't go baqck again. That doesn't mean I'm not happy or in love now, just that memories of the past can co-exist with a happy present. Maybe, to borrow a classic song lyric: "If you can't live in the place you love, love the place you live."

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