Thursday, November 03, 2005

Iowa is a state of mind

My favorite television show in the universe was Northern Exposure, it had everything dry wit, pithy symbolism, and a hot disc jockey who was a bad boy poet and had a cute butt. It had a wise woman who had girth and a beauty queen who was so dumb she made sense. It had a man in a bubble and it had a retired astronaut and it had Ed…if I told you that Ed reminds me of the beauty of a flower would you mock me? Ok, well any way…it gave me the same feeling a LOTR book does….or did when I had time to read.

Mostly what Northern Exposure had was this doctor who wanted above all else to leave Cicely and go back to NYC. He obsessed about it for years missing the beauty and amazing culture that was all around him. And then when he finally got it, he snapped the other direction and ran away so embracing Alaska that he couldn’t face a future in New York. In the end he “walked” out of the Alaskan wilderness into his picture perfect New York. Only months later did Maggie get a post card from him with the simple message “New York is a state of mind.” It was a message mirrored over and over again in the context of the show. When Chris lost his voice to beauty, and Maggie had to give it back to him. When Ed’s spirit guide made him buy a cheese burger so he could smell it (spirits can’t eat, but it sure smells good) . When we met the “boogie man” Adam and learned that he was a gourmet chef with a flaming attitude. Life is all in how you look at it.

Beautiful…so simple and elegant and what a hard lesson to learn. I thought for years that it was perfect that he realized what he idealized about NYC or Alaska for that matter was all about how he was thinking, not where he was. But the lesson hasn’t been learned. We left Denver three years ago in search of an ideal…a place, a perfect place for my family. A happily ever after place. And I’ve been mad that it hasn’t panned out. After all this time I’m finally beginning to realize I put quite a burden on Des Moines…it is after all just a little Midwestern burg with it’s own beauty and perfection and it’s own problems to boot. Marcel Proust said: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." That’s what it’s all about. I’m trying to have new eyes. It’s hard some days. But I’m trying.

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