Paradise isn't an afterlife. It is a place we create in our hearts and lives. My family comes from many generations of farmers. Sometime in the 1900's, the family farm fell out of our possession. According to my family history, after the last man who'd owned it died, it was sold and parceled off to the freedmen. My 100% Cherokee grandmother was not allowed to own land because she was a female native american. So, the freedmen bought it and took care of her for the rest of her life. The family stayed in the south until my grandmother and grandfather began traveling the country due to military service. My father chose to make his life in the north and the remainder of my family settled back down in the parts of North Carolina they'd originally come from. (This is accurate to my understanding but may not be entirely accurate).
You can take the girl out of the farm but you can't take the farm out of the girl. This is true on more then one level, especially since scientists have recently found your ancestor's experiences leave an epigenic mark on your genes. I've grown up far enough from the suburbs to call it the country. My whole life my family has hunted, fished, and gardened. It has made me who I am today and given me a unique appreciation for the earth and what we can get out of it. It's also helped me keep in touch with my native american ancestry. So I guess it's not surprising my idea of paradise is our own land that we own in the country -with a chicken coop and a full acre of garden. I get glassy eyed at the thought of our own produce and fresh eggs... maybe even a goat or two! I like the kind of hard work that rewards you with the sustenance you need for life - the kind of work that helps enrich the earth rather than harm it.
I do not hate the city. No, far from it. I'm enamored by it. The lights! The people! Infinite possibilities! Art museums larger then shopping malls filled to the brim with the human experience. That perfect concentration of life and excitement and adventure! Yet, the city is only a place I visit. A homestead is the place I grow, rest and focus on making my mark. It is where I focus on growing as a person, writer, and as an artist - figuring out what kind of philanthropy I have to offer the world. In the city, it's easy to become self consumed and ignore everyone around you. People get uncomfortable when you make eye contact. The homeless and the panhandlers are more approachable then the business men and single mothers -strolling through a Jackson Pollock gallery with a baby in tow.
Regardless of where we thrive, we must remember to find balance between both worlds: to strive for clean and sustainable energy... to eliminate food deserts... to take care of our earths and stop being so damned attached to electronic devices over meaningful communication with other people! To embrace the uniqueness of our human experience - which we will only remember once. We don't know where life ends or what happens to our energy. As of now, we have very little control over that. That's why it's so important to work together to make the best paradise we can on earth.