Where Do We Belong?

Billy Ray Chitwood         liebsteraward         booker-award

The title represents an intriguing question. Obviously it is a question posed by an incurable romantic, a question that can occupy many minutes and hours of the day. The context in which the question is posed has to do with those of us who live our lives not so much by genetic and environmental formulae but by the seat of our pants, those of us who have some insatiable nomadic quality that pushes us over the next mountain, over the next body of water, or over the next arid desert. The context has to do with that indefinable impulse within us that makes us ‘moths to light’ or ‘creatures of instinct and passion.’ I’m really a simple man but somehow I seem to be making this sound complicated…

Here’s the deal! I’m sharing me with you. I’m currently living a lovely life in a penthouse on the beautiful Sea of Cortez. Now, as I write, I look out my big windows at the beach and cobalt brilliance of ‘Cortez.’ The sun is slowly making its western arc thanks to our spinning orb. There are sail boats out there, jet skis, occasional yachts, and people adorn the sands dreaming whatever dreams within them. I’m living here near three years now and I’m restless, somehow needing and wanting a new venue, perhaps going backward in time to the state where I was born – Tennessee. What! Give up this sea, this constant sun, and return to the hills of my youth? Am I nuts? No, not nuts, just some inner wiring that makes me long and yearn for where I’ve been and/or what I’ve had – that nomadic thing, that ‘wisp in the wind’ thing, that ‘moth to light’ thing.

Maybe it’s because that opportunity is there. I can move to the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, exchanging what I have here for the four acres of hardwood trees, a canyon, and a big lovely three-story log house. It’s compelling. The urge is strong…to be going back to the state where it all began for me, and not necessarily in the best ways. The property is near the most exquisite Sequatchie Valley, a long and narrow valley that stretches far and parallels the Cumberland Plateau of the Appalachian Mountains. That current within me that sends these strong romantic impulses cannot be quelled. What do I do? But, that begs the question to which the answer is already likely known. If the promises are met by the Tennessee person involved, it will in all likelihood become a reality.

So it becomes a reality. I leave the sea for Tennessee and the Cumberland Plateau. What then? The ‘what then’ is rather predictable for an incurable romantic, is it not? The romantic will come to miss his Sea of Cortez, the constant sun, and the far distant southern horizon. He will feel new wanderlust urges in his senses. It is the way of a romantic.

An incurable romantic knows not about the ways of practicality!


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10 thoughts on “Where Do We Belong?

  1. It sounds like you have a big decision to make, Billy. I understand the desire to return to your home state. Living by the sea would be difficult for me to give up, but nothing ever compares to home. Good luck with your decision.


  2. Here on the Sea of Cortez there is constant sun (as constant as any place in the world) and it will be tough to leave this beauty – replacing it with a different beauty… No decision yet, but soon! Guess I would be testing Thomas Wolfe’s book, “You Can’t Go Home Again.” But, then, whatever is destined to be!


  3. You may indeed miss the Sea of Cortez, but there’s no place like home. No matter how much we think we want to escape it, there will always be a magnetic pull drawing us back there.


  4. I think we are like Salmon…something inside tends to always call us back home for awhile … Off and on all life long. I’m the same way about my ocean life in San Diego. Born and raised there and go away to live in places like Africa, Italy, France, Israel and Portland, Oregon…but I always need to reenergize at home. You’ll make the right decision. I have no doubt.


    1. Dear S,

      Okay, I have your word on that! I’m not so much a salmon as I am a ‘moth to light’ and ‘a wisp in the wind’ but so be it… Thanks, lovely lady, and best wishes to you.


  5. Is it possible for you to have both?
    I love the Middle East as much as the Mediterranean. Like you, when I’m one place I think of the other place.
    Spain is European with the culture, food and lifestyle. Dubai is a 22nd century playground with the Arab culture poking out everywhere. Both excellent.

    So I live in both places. Ideally I’m moving towards Summer in Spain and Winter in Dubai with a look-see at other places now and then.

    I know very few people can afford to do this, but when you want something bad enough…..


  6. Yes, it is, JJ, and it sounds to me like you’ve found the magical combination… I particularly like ‘summer in Spain.’ Never been to Dubai but must be culturally stimulating… Best wishes to you.


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