June 26th, 2010


Writer's Block: City mouse or country mouse?

Do you prefer to live in an urban or rural environment? Why?

This seems like a good opportunity to bring up the rural nature lover paradox which, roughly stated is: "People who love nature move there and ruin it." Pretty good comments section in the post in the link above, taking me to task and offering alternatives. Worth a read, especially if you feel like disputing the paradox.

As for me, well I've defined myself in a very deep way as "Urban" since 1998 or so. But at this point in my life, it would make things much easier on me if I had a bit of land to run the dogs. It would also make me happy to have a place to keep a composter, and a place to sit and watch the seasons pass from a lawn chair, and maybe even some chickens to provide some eggs for our breakfast. I actually spent the first 7 years of my life in the wooded hills of Connecticut (it's not all suburban NYC) and feel more at home in the forest than almost any other place--I need trees around me.

On the other hand I love the fact that I live in a city, and that exciting cultural things are happening all around me. I don't take advantage of them nearly enough, but they are happening, and when I want to partake in them, I have many to choose from. I can buy a coffee with my bank card within walking distance of my home 24 hours a day, and I can walk to my choice of six or seven bars, four grocery stores, a yoga place, a puppet theater, or a ceramics studito (none of the latter I've actually been to).

Our compromise appears to be the outer, Southwestern part of Portland Oregon. For the price of our little Brookline condo we can get a small house with a big yard, with money left over for home improvements. "The city" would be a few miles northeast, full of all the things a city offers. Forest Park, a monstrous rainforest, pokes into the heart of the city itself, actually reducing the city's heat island effect and providing a nearby source of spirit-restoring trees. We're at least two years away from this major change, as Alexis wants to pursue a career move and associated school program, and the thought of it terrifies and excites me.

Urban Nature Pictures 6/26

The trailing edge of dog vomit slime mold. Conditions appear to be ideal for the appearance of this myxomycete this week. I've seen it in four or five different locations, on stumps as well as the usual woodchip habitats I'm used to seeing it on. toThe 365 urban species entry for this species (linked above) is from two weeks from this date. More or less the same, I suppose. I think heat and humidity must be the factors that induce it to appear.