What's not to love? I always enjoy each visit to the Golden state. Every time I am out here I am completely blown away with the entire experience. The vegetation, the birds-wildlife and the weather all blow me away. It seems every street is lined with 20' tall oleanders in full bloom some red some white, towering giant palm trees, giant trees full of purple wisteria like blooms in between and clear blue skies over mountains and oceans on all sides! Some times it all looks like a scene from the now banned Dr. Seuss books I used to love as a kid.
Each time I am here the tune of California Love by Tupac plays in my head and I dream of a life living here. All the natural beauty aside the most astounding aspect of Ca to me is the temperature... the pure comfort of the outside elements here. I go for hikes and am astounded at how perfect the temperature and the air feels... doesn't matter if its morning, mid day or evening.... just pure comfort. I am in total awe of it all. I just keep saying "thank you" in my head.
Then I start wondering why the hell don't I live here? Why did I grow up in Crackerville County north Florida only to spend the other parts of my life in white saltine cracker Corn County Kansas? Or now equally obscure places like Delaware? I think how much better it would be to live here in sunny CA. How I could hike every day of the year and also enjoy so many other outdoor activities I have yet to participate such as snowboarding, surfing, etc. My 4runner would have an amazing playground of huge national forests and incredibly stunning terrain instead of endless miles of flat corn/soy monoscape wastelands. I am not sure if "monoscape" is a real word but if it is... it would be Kansas.
But then I think well.... what kind of person would I be building had I grew up in pure environmental comfort of southern California? Who would I be now? Growing up in the Florida sandhills and swamps was extremely rigorous... the critters and people were nasty... the humidity and heat were almost unbearable and every thing was biting me. While life as an adult in Kansas brings a biting sting of boredom, lack of opportunity, diversity and culture. I think about all of this. I think about what it meant to me to grow up in north central Florida and then spend so much time as a POW in southeast Kansas. My years in Florida getting beat up, ridiculed, put down, snake chased, half drowned, heat stroked, and sand everywhere! My years walking a desolate block of a mental prison in Kansas, with no way out... or seemingly no way out.
As I indulge in this California comfort and think back to where I came from and WHY this feels so comfortable... I realize Florida and Kansas made me... they built me. God was using all of that to build me into who I am today. It was all the best thing that happened to me and the best thing for me. California would have been the worst thing for me. I am so thankful for Florida in August and Kansas in January. I am so grateful for the kicks, broken bones, tears, stings, sweat, and hell of it all. Had it not been that way I might be out here in CA driving a Prius drinking oat milk with low T, thinking I know whats best for everyone else in the country!
I am grateful for the struggle... and I can't wait to go for a hike in Florida August or Kansas January now!