I have come to the realization that I like mountains or at the least hills. I like them to be green for a minimum of three months a year. I like bushes and trees with insects roaming their trunks and birds perching on their branches. I like the sounds they make in the morning and their almost deafening choruses that signal a late summer rain. I like the sounds of dogs barking in backyards and the leaves rustling in the breeze. I like grass and being able to walk barefoot through it. I like brick houses with potted plants on their porches. I like the sense that everything is the way it should be and that nature will literally and figuratively run it’s course. It’s a wonderfully peaceful feeling that there is no need to push or to hurry. When it’s time the sun will rise and when it’s time it will rain.
I’ve lived most of my life this way. Growing up in a valley in southwest Virginia, life was slow, calm, safe and to be honest, maybe at times a little boring. Sometimes my little heart yearned for horns blaring, shuffling, bustling and hustling swarms of people. I wanted to be where the action was. I wanted the 18th floor apartment on the busy street. I wanted to be where you’d still hear sirens at 3 am and where the deli on the corner and all the shops on the first floors never closed. I wanted prostitutes by lampposts in front of smokey bars. I wanted a sense of danger mixed with an almost frantic pace. I wanted life, moving, dancing, yelling, running, climbing, pushing, impromptu concerts on rooftops, flash mobbing, crying, hugging, public affectioning, laughing, cheering, crowding, beautifully living, life. I wanted the opposite of peace and natural order. Nature was boring. I wanted the beauty of the chaotic mess humans make.
Over the years, I visited cities. I always loved the feeling of the first sight of the tall buildings usually grouped at the city’s center. It would happen when the road curved or the clouds parted. It was my favorite moment, the first glimpse of the fascinating and exhilarating human hive. Everyone appeared to be moving like a choreographed ballet or a shoal of fish. Everyone was busy, busy and most assuredly alive. I wanted to be in it. I wanted to move with them. I tried my hardest to return to these places whenever possible. That’s when other things started to happen. When I was 11, on a trip to Boston with my father, I saw an emergency crew pulling a bloated, blue thing with clothes on it from the harbor. It was the first time I had ever seen a dead body. It wasn’t at all like the movies. It was ugly, scary and very confusing. Then as time went on and I visited other cities, the crowds I so longed to be in did open to envelope me. The problem was, it was hard to get back out. The beautifully choreographed movement lurched along at times and didn’t move at all at others. Traffic jams, pushing crowds and screaming vendors were not nearly as fun and exhilarating as they had appeared to be from the curve in highway two miles outside of the city. I wanted to go home and rest where I could hear myself think. So, I did and was happy until…I inevitably became bored again and had to made another trek to the “city”…any city. It was go,go,go then stop, then go, then stop, then go and then stop. I was growing very tired of my own personal game of red light, green light. My life was either too fast or too slow, too crowded or too lonely, too exciting or too dull.
Now,however, maybe just maybe I have found my “just right”. I mentioned last blog that we are back in Niteroi and that it’s a gated forrest/mini jungle like area. It’s on a hill and it’s quiet for the most part with occasional dogs barking in backyards. The breeze blows rustling the leaves and gently bats the palm fronds against the side of our little house. The insects hum and chirp and the birds tweet and coo. It’s lovely. So lovely, in fact I’m tempted to go and sit by the new pond/ hot tub behind the main house* and pen a novel entitled Waldeninho. What’s makes it just right is that when I get bored, which I always seem to do, there’s Rio just across the bay. It has all the hustle, bustle, stray bullet flying, transvestite prostitutes by lampposts, open restaurants at 3 in the morning, museums, concerts, impromptu music, plays, motion and chaos my heart could ever desire. Actually in all fairness, so do Centro and other parts of Niteroi. Oh and if my mountain soul gets tried of scaling things to return home to a jungly heart of darkness, I have more than enough beautiful beaches to visit. It could be the best of all possible worlds for me. I guess the best part is that it feels like home in a strange sort of way. It’s familiar and exotic enough for me to feel very comfortable and to explore news things. I have my curiosity peaked and my sense of excitement along side my feeling of peace and tranquility.