Monday, March 8, 2010

N-Dimensional Hyperspace

Let me preface by saying that for a number of years when I was younger, I had my mind dead-set that there was no way in atch-ee-double-hockey-stick that I was going to stay in Ohio.  I hated it here.  Well, not really here- I wasn't in Kent then- but in my hometown of Lima/Elida.  My how times have changed, and by "times" I mean my point of view.

In ecology, we have the concept of N-Dimensional Hyperspace, or niche.  Take a selection of measures, and the range across which an organism can survive each of those measures is it's niche.  That might include temperature, altitude, humidity, light:dark ratio, oxygen availability, nitrogen content- whatever.  An organism that can survive only a very limited range across one or more variables is called a specialist, while an organism that can survive a broad range is a generalist.  Ohio is most definitely a generalist.

I think most people dislike or even hate their home area, at least as young adults, and I know that's the paradigm for many young Ohioans.  Ohio really has a bad rap- Rustbelt, Bible-belt, rural, agricultural, parochial- we've been called many things with negative connotations.  We're told that Ohio isn't cool by most of the rest of the US, if not actively, at least passively by the lack of attention given to Ohio.  Not much happens here as far as the media is concerned, and what does happen is usually not good. 

But, dang it, we're the heart of it all.  We've been the site of tragedy and triumph.  We've been under a huge ocean and one of our children first set foot on the moon.  We house world renowned hospitals and world famous sports teams.  Sometimes they even do well

We have amazing zoos, museums, arts, music, colleges, and vacation spots.  We have the Northcoast, and even a few islands, not to mention refugial ecosystems.  We stopped the last glacier, and we started the Clean Water act.  We have the Amish and the Third Frontier.  We have agriculture and culture.  And, for the last fifty years, we've been the predictor of presidential winners- not to mention home to eight presidents

Ohio may not be New York or California, but we're not trying to be.  We're just a good, solid state that does a lot of things well.  We're a generalist.  By now you may very well be sick of my doting, but as a writer from the Mistake by the Lake currently, I think it's important to occasionally recognize the underdog.  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that home can rock.  I have to respect that midwestern pragmatism, humility and utilitarian attitude that pervades my home state, but we could do better at tooting our own horn.  I could take a lesson as well.

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