Okay – Kevin, Steven, Tony and Jenny, Sheila – and all our California friends who now stand poised to marvel, exclaim and covet the following: In the center of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, sits Lake Alice, ringed by a panorama of historical homes. These are just a sampling –
One of them is now for sale and currently being considered by one of our local friends. And who wouldn’t consider purchasing this three story Gothic beauty for – $49,000. Yes. You know and must admit, dear friends and family, that $49,000 would not buy a junk yard dog trailer in Carmel, Ca. If there WAS a junk yard dog trailer in Carmel. And no pressure here, but you see my point.
This charmer on Lake Alice is only two blocks from historic downtown Fergus Falls and three blocks from the Otter Tail River Walk and one block from the Riverview Sanctuary (not to mention about a mile from our own residence on Mt. Faith).
ENVIRONS – “ – a circuit, to turn, to encircle”
ENVIRONMENT – “ – all the conditions, circumstances, and influences surrounding and affecting”
Which brings me to my point. Moving to this place on a hill above the river in a small-ish Minnesota town, has not only brought a drastic change in tangible environment, what with weather “incidents” quite unlike the central western coast we left behind, but it has opened up a most satisfying circle of contentment.
I wrote recently about the “special-ness” perspective experienced by residents of Big Sur, Ca. I think it is more extensive than that. Californians, in general, (not all, but some) think they are the center of the universe and maybe, with the exception of New York and selected points in between – Aspen, Taos, to name a few – believe that anything of importance or relevance only occurs within their charmed perimeters. It’s the “all roads lead to Rome” syndrome. It’s an acknowledgment that “we are cool, and you are not!” It’s a bully system that denigrates much of the continent.
I am guilty. It’s true. I grew up wanting to be a part of my family “back there”, while at the same time exalting in my so-called and all-in-my-head, coastal sophistication. How little I knew.
I will love California and all the sweet familiarity of my past ‘til my dying day. The craggy bluffs and wide beaches of Long Beach. I know each and every neighborhood with a familiarity that almost hurts my heart. It will always be home in a way that no other place can provide.
Big Sur and Carmel – no contest. How lucky we were to inhabit paradise for a time. I can “dine out” on tales of the central coast for years to come. Portland and Ferndale. Morro Bay and Atascadero. Newport Beach. San Diego. All the “ocean and the palm trees and mountains” of my mother’s dream come true. In many ways I was the Golden Girl from the Golden State.
Given all that – these new environs have brought a sweet contentment, a happily shocking social calendar, and a friendship scale which encompasses more creativity, artistic pursuits and intellectual and political stimulus than we thought possible in California. Throw in the revelation that Minnesota Nice is not just a slogan but an ingrained way of life, and we’re home.
Across the street – Mt. Faith. But no pressure. Really.