Since turning 75 when I made the decision to retire from the daily office and studio work, I have been fortunate to live in two places of great beauty, spending the winter in one of the Florida keys and the summer in the mountains of North Carolina. My wife Bobbie is from North Carolina and still has friends and family nearby so we both feel right at home and taken in by the warmth of the community there. We have a view of the hills that are sometimes so covered in fog it is like an ocean of mist outside our windows. But the climate in the summer is very comfortable. For many years, we lived in the hills of western Massachusetts, also a beautiful area, (and we moved there from New York City! You see I have been moving around a lot!). We had a very nice flower garden there and I enjoyed watching out for visitors from the nearby forest including bears, deer, porcupines, foxes, skunks and many birds. Once I opened the door from the inside of the house and stood nose to nose with a bear, separated by the screen door only. I don't know who was more surprised! Then the bear ran away. Actually they are very shy.
In Florida, our home is very close to the water and we are constantly marveling at the view of the ocean, Ospreys and Pelicans flying past and Iguanas strutting among the palm trees and mangroves. This is very far from the kinds of views I had as a child in Germany, and yet the closeness to nature is not that different from what I enjoyed as a child when my father took me out for walks and showed me all that could be found on a trail in the woods.
I will turn 80 years old in June and it is wonderful to have these days by the sea and in the hills, with Bobbie and all of our close friends and family nearby or able to visit. And to have a studio to work in both places. I have no complaints.