There Is No Place

Like Our Place...

Since 2008 I have been taking road trips through Arizona, New Mexico and the Inland Empire of California sometimes alone and other times with my partner. During my trips I talk with local people, observe local color as well as visit friends and make new ones. I've also watched the area change during this economic period and how it has affected people and the landscape. It is clear there has not been an economic recovery or that we are merely in a double dip but in some sort of disruptive economic contraction that is of greater magnitude and will take time to resolve. The question now is how do we cope and make the best use of what we have and keep ourselves alive and prosperous in mind and spirit?

There are pockets on the map that are doing fairly well, some in a temporary mini-boom. The majority of places of any size are at a minimum in a holding pattern of stagnation at best while there are areas that are clearly in a doomsday bust. You see it in small things such as service at a decent hotel is slightly degraded to entire blocks of buildings empty, broken down and facilities lacking. The most telling thing is people and what is in their eyes.

Many people are clearly not doing or handling the downturn well. There are others who keep going through their daily routine seemingly happy enough but you can sense by looking in their eyes many of them have troubles. Others eyes are clear and bright, full of the knowledge that times are getting tougher but there is still life to live and make the most of. Those are the people I'm drawn to and hold fascinating conversations with about the condition of our region and how to make the best of it.

The mainstream media, politicians and special interest groups would have us believe all kinds of things about each other. One thing that has been consistent in travelling this region as time has tattered and worn down structures and people is the resilience of a significant percentage of the population. That has not changed. They come in all sizes and shapes, colors and age but all of them carry a spirit that is healthy to be around. These are the people I'm surrounding myself with to maintain a high level of energy and optimism so I may return the favor. In the long term our place is in our minds and souls and how we choose to preserve and uplift ourselves and others.