July 15, 2015
The husband is making plans for the future, looking ten years ahead to the daughter’s high school graduation and his retirement. He’s fixing to make a liar out of you, because you’ve been telling people he wants to live in your current apartment for the rest of his life. Turns out that’s not the case: he wants a house in the countryside, far enough from city light pollution to have his backyard observatory, but close enough to cultural comforts like movie theaters and museums. Living near like-minded folk is important too—he doesn’t want his blood pressure to skyrocket every time he drops by the post office or buys a cup of coffee.
You agree with these criteria for contentment, but everywhere the husband listed as a potential new community is hours inland. Meanwhile your dream house sits on a bluff above the ocean. If you start looking at mountain properties, you’ll be giving up on visions of sunset walks on cold, hard sand. Your practical side thinks a home somewhere in the Hudson Valley is a wiser choice. Sea levels are rising, and to purchase an oceanfront home these days is to court disaster. But oh, how you long to hear the crash of waves, a noise whiter than the buzz of an air conditioner. You see yourself in a Nordic sweater, pants rolled to knees, footprints stretching along the seam between land and sea while the glow of a setting sun shimmers on the water.
If that stripe of orange danced across a lake, could you be as satisfied? You could have your sailboat and your kayak and glide through gentle ripples, without a hint of seasickness, and you’d save your wetsuit and mask and fins for warm ocean vacations. Let’s face it, you’re never going to dive in the cold, rough northeastern Atlantic, so there’s no benefit to a coastal home on that account. Perhaps you could be just as happy in a mountain home, and if it’s water you want, there is no shortage of lakes in the Northeast.
Still, when you told the husband your dream was to live by the sea, he remarked on global warming and went back to listing the inland towns where he’d like to reconnoiter. The prudent choice for the future is to move inland, to a place dark enough for his backyard observatory, yet close enough to the bright city lights for days at the museum or nights at the theater. But that dream house still sits on a bluff, and the waves still crash below.
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