Column: The beauty of living in Carmel


Commentary by Ruth Gray

My friends and I agree that Carmel is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places to live in America.

I should know. At last count, I have had more than 35 mailing addresses over my lifetime. My father was a government expediter to the shipbuilding industry during WWII and we as a family lived in many states along the eastern seaboard. As children we attended as many as four schools in a year. After the war we settled on an ranch in the Hood River Valley in Oregon, but not for long, as the nomadic life had ingrained itself into our psyches, so we vacationed every winter after harvest to Los Angeles, Mackinac Island, Missouri and Washington State, and even some of the national parks.

After I graduated from college in Spokane, I had the luck to marry the right man, and he carried me away to Minnesota for graduate school, then later to Washington D.C., St. Louis, Evanston, Madison, then finally to Bloomington, where we lived for almost 25 years. But during that time his university work took him to all parts of Europe, Asia and South America, and usually he took me – and sometimes our whole family – with him!

When he died, I returned to my family roots on the west coast and lived on Camano Island, and then in Olympia, Vancouver, Anacortes and Portland, Ore. I then retired to Palm Desert, Calif. Last year I sold my last home there and moved to The Stratford in beautiful Carmel, near my son and family.

I think you must agree that I have lived in some awesome places, but here in beautiful Carmel, people smile and say “hello” or “hi” – to strangers! The many gardens, lakes and hiking trails are full of wildlife activity and every color unimaginable. On Saturdays and Sundays parks are full of the songs and calls of children. And the bugs and snakes must reside here, but I have not met them.

As I walk to the Village of WestClay, people drive carefully and teenagers say “excuse me” if they walk past me. When I am at the library, the librarians fall all over themselves to help me get the right books or information. When I go into stores, the courtesy shown to me, whether feigned or sincere, simply does not happen to strangers in most places.

Yes, the outside world is falling apart with fires, floods and famine. Yet, here in Carmel, we can breathe, pray and work to be an example of how to bring people together to advance our common interests so that the beauty of Carmel will be seen in us.

Ruth Gray is a resident of The Stratford in Carmel.