Sunday, August 13, 2006

Live Free or Die

We recently returned from a glorious week in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This was our second year to spend time at the same condo in Thornton, and we hope to make it a yearly vacation. It is a simple place; two rooms, uncrowded pool, river nearby, surrounded by trees, and not much else. It was a week of hanging with the kids, eating good food, drinking good wine, catching up on some reading, and being outside as much as possible. There is so much to do within an hour of the condo that we always find ourselves wanting to stay longer. We live near the ocean, so it was so great to be in the mountains again. People in New Hampshire are different than most folks here in Massachusetts, I dig their "live free or die" ethos in the Granite State. Your next door neighbor in New Hampshire is just as likely to be a NASCAR fan who hunts bears, or a vegetarian whitewater kayaker/ski bum. Both love New Hampshire for the same reasons and they seem to coincide peacefully.

I have a half-baked theory that when it comes to recreation and our creative outputs, most people can be categorized as either "mountain people" or "ocean people"- I thought about this idea a lot while on vacation last week. I am definitely a mountain person. I love being surrounded by the hills and even the smell of the trees energizes me. I can sit and watch the clouds roll over a mountain ridge at dusk, changing the shadows on a hillside, the same way some people sit on a beach and watch the waves all day, but it is more than that. My idea of a perfect vacation involves some activity, I have a hard time laying around for too long. This may be simplistic on my part, but mountain folks seem more intent on doing (biking, hiking, skiing, kayaking, making pottery, building a house, shooting a bear, etc.), while ocean people tend to more introspective and creative when it comes to their downtime (laying on the beach, reading, painting, writing, creating music, etc.).

Most of the people I have met from California are mountain people for sure, while I have met many people from Minnesota with saltwater in their veins. I'm not sure it has anything to do with geography. There are plenty of us mountain people living near the ocean, and the other way around. It goes beyond where you choose to call home, or what you like to do on your vacation, it has more to do with the core of who you are- rock or water. Of course, most of us are a little of both, but I think we lean one way or the other.

So what are you? Would you rather swim in a mountain lake or the ocean?

Listening to: Neil Young- On the Beach


CHW said...

I would rather swim in the ocean BUT I consider myself more of a mountain person. Growing up in Vancouver, I was practically raised on the ocean. Love it. But my passions lie more in mountain biking, hiking and skiing/snowboarding -- which Vancouver also has a lot of. I guess that's why I'm confused. Can I be both?

JMH said...

You are SO an ocean person my friend.

Jake Brake said...

I wasn't aware I had to choose between the two. Boats and crabbing and fishing and campfires on the beach in the summer; mushroom hunting, hiking, and snowboarding in the fall and winter.
Based on past experience, I am unable to live in an area that doesn't have easy access to both the mountains and the ocean, which makes me...spoiled, I suppose.