Bisbee… a Place to Dream

“The Soul cannot be held back by any imaginary boundary drawn against it; not by mountain ranges, not by rivers, nor by human scorn. The Soul, goes everywhere, like an old woman in her right mind, going anywhere she wishes, saying whatever she wants, bending to mend whatever is within her reach. Wherever she goes, the Soul brings new life.” — Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

While visiting my Tuscon family for Thanksgiving, I simply could not return home without visiting my favorite town in Arizona. Bisbee is about 90 miles from Tuscon, and I was rushed for time as usual, but it was well worth the effort to fit the field trip in.

I have fantasies of moving to Bisbee after I retire. But then, I have many retirement fantasies. The question is, do I ever get to retire? Best not to think about that…

Perhaps I have romanticized this area, as tourists often do when they find a place they love. There’s a reason the saying exists that, “It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

Art, like what I photographed painted on the walls in Bisbee, is what draws me to this place. There are many literary, performing and visual artists in Bisbee. But it’s not just the creatively-artsy, somewhat hippyish feeling of the place that leads me to believe it would be a good home for someone like me. It’s the hilly streets, unique houses, and the small, compactness of a place set in the middle of a vast open desert and mountain region that feels right.

There are many unique towns like Bisbee around the world. I see them depicted on several blogs I read. In many ways, Duluth, which is more local to where I live, fits the bill. But if I really want to make it as a writer, shouldn’t I drink in all the culture in a busy city like New York or even Minneapolis?

I have regrets about choosing to live in an in-between place, with neither the diversity and opportunities of the city, nor the acres of woods, fields and wildlife of a rural area. In the best of situations, I’d be able to live for part of the year in each environment. Instead, I live in neither.  But after I retire…

It’s a mistake to put things off for that dream moment when you aren’t tied to a job and ‘have time’. Time itself is often not what holds a person back. Fear and lack of focus do that.

I’m working with a friend to define my dream life — not the dream that I usually come up with, the one that is practical, that I believe I can reasonably accomplish, the dream that won’t endanger me financially and set my hopes too high. No, not that kind of dream.

We so often set our own limitations, building up mountains that tire us out before we even start the climb. Wherever I live, wherever I go, I want to be the woman in Estés quote. I want to feel free to go where I want, say what is on my mind, and take the time to mend what I can in this world.

This post also appears on Vision and Verb where a collaborative group of like-minded women from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word.

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  1. heheh! I’m smiling because you captured some of the same photos I did when I visited Bisbee about 6 years ago. I love the hilly streets and the outdoor theater park and all those murals and stairs….although I would not want to have to walk up and down them all the time. Better to just visit, instead.
    Did you stop in and say hello to the Bee Man of Bisbee on the Main St through town? He has the best honey!

    I also had to laugh when I saw your reference to Tuscan and realized you didn’t mean the region in Italy, but you meant Tucson, AZ, instead. lol!

    Wonderful post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


  2. My lack of sleep is getting to me even more than I thought! Thanks for pointing out the spelling error, which I’ve now fixed here anyway. Maybe it was my subconscious that wants to visit Tuscany sending messages…

    The bee man was outside giving out samples. So many variations in honey! One more interest that we share. =D

  3. Hi Maery, what a fun blog! I’m stopping in from Vision and Verb…so intrigued by Bisbee. We stayed in Tucson in our RV a couple winters back and kept hearing tales of Bisbee. Never made it. Must do it now. We’re in the RV again, but up in the Pacific Northwest now, and the warmth and sunlight Bisbee must offer sounds medicinal. Thanks for an artsy peek!

  4. I love Estes quote! I can’t imagine you’ll ever retire from writing or making images; I so appreciate your heartfelt words!

  5. Barb – Thanks for stopping by! I’d like to hear more about this RV living as that’s another “after retirement” thought that I have, partially as a hope to live more cheaply, although I imagine most people have another place to live, as fitting your entire life into an RV might be a bit claustrophobic.

  6. What a great post – both the words and the images that complement them so perfectly. It is worth defining what your dream life would be… and to keep revising it as time goes on.

    Merry Christmas, Maery.

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