Photo courtesy of the author
I live in two places, and I love them both. My main home is in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a college town in the Ozark Mountains. I live on the highest hill in a quiet cul-de-sac, surrounded by friends. When I'm there, I am content to be an adult and talk to other adults and teach graduate students two days a week at the University of Arkansas.
I love Fayetteville. I like hills and vistas and hardworking people and fighting snow in winter and chiggers in the summer. You have to be tough to live in Fayetteville at certain times of the year. January and February and parts of March are bitter cold and seem to last forever. It doesn't help that I live in a house built by a famous architect named E. Fay Jones. He was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright's and built my house the summer he came home from Taliesin West. The floors are made of stone and scored concrete. The walls are glass. It is so cold in this house in winter I think I must be a lunatic to stay. Yet I do stay because it's beautiful. Jones disliked putting gutters on his houses, so the pitched roofs make wonderful icicles that hang down outside. Light comes in the windows and the skylights, and you might as well be sleeping in a tent you are so close to nature.
I never meant to be here in the winter, but then I started teaching, and I love the students, so I can't leave. Besides, I get a lot of work done when I'm snowed in. No chiggers, no pollen, and never a dull moment trying to outwit an E. Fay Jones house and stay warm: My main line of defense is heated mattress pads and UGG boots. It used to be heated blankets, but the hippies say that heated blankets cause cancer so I switched to heated mattress pads.