Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Where the Heart Is

I am home. My sails are still flapping in the breeze, but my ship is in port. I have not felt this grounded in a long time, having only visited my hometown several times a year for the past decade. This is the ultimate cure for homesickness: coming home. I have unpacked the homesickness that has been dwelling in my belly for years and have stored it away in a drawer, perhaps in safe-keeping for future journeys. In its stead, the warmest feelings of reconnection with family, friends, and myself have been taking shape over the past week or so since we have arrived here. Something as simple as a bike ride reminds me of how it felt to be 15, tracing the same paths across town that I did in my youth, feeling the same burn in my thighs as I crest a familiar hill.

I left my hometown of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania when I was 17 years old, having just graduated from high school, on my way to college in Boston, Massachusetts. Every move after college (from Boston, to Moscow, Idaho, to Austin, Texas) involved, all at once, the excitement of the next step and a deep yearning for my hometown. Would I ever be able to feel at "home" again? Was Mercersburg the only place I could feel that way? What the heck was I going to do in my hometown if I every moved back? Despite my longing for it, moving home always seemed to be more complicated than moving somewhere else far, far away. I convinced myself over the years that "home" was an elusive figment of the mind and could be achieved anywhere if the conditions were right. But I never felt the strong sense of home I was looking for and knew deep down that in order to find out if Mercersburg really was "home," I was going to have to move there. My husband, who is also from Mercersburg, and I agreed that it was time to stop talking about moving and just go for it, despite the risks involved (mostly in regards to our business). Luckily for us, the opportunity presented itself and the move was facilitated quite nicely.

So, was I right? Did we really need to take the plunge and move to Mercersburg (or at least the Northeast) to truly feel at home? Well...yes, so it seems at this juncture. Despite certain aspects about the town that we could "live" without, it really is a special place, and many of my friends who grew up here agree (and have moved back over the years as well). Not everyone grows up in a town to which they long to return; I feel fortunate that I have and look forward to finally taking advantage of the many positive aspects about living here. Here's a quick list of wonderful things I have noticed about the area since I've been back (particularly in comparison to my former, albeit great, life in Austin):
  • We are now surrounded by green, voluptuous mountains with little valleys and towns in between
  • The corn is as high as an elephant's eye; the fields surround me as I go for walks with my dog
  • I only have 3 bars to choose from (yes, I actually like have less choices), all of which are within walking distance
  • There are only 2 red lights in Mercersburg and therefore only 2 chances to run into a traffic "jam"
  • Big, fun cities such as Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York, are just a hop, skip, and a jump away, easily satisfying any urges to live the city life again
  • Rent is cheap, and beer is cheaper

I could go on, and I may in later posts. Obviously, being closer to family and many of my old friends has already made the move more than worthwhile.

Note: My posts may be lacking in visual aid for the time being, unlike many in the past. I will hopefully have Internet access on my own computer soon, from which I will be able to post photos. For now, I am at the whim of family members' computers and Internet connections.

I am so glad I can keep up with my blog anywhere I go and hope all my readers are having a great summer!


Russell said...

I know those mountains!! Welcome back east and welcome back home! We are finally getting rain up here in north central PA. You all must have brought it with you. I am house sitting out at an old country farm house until mid-August, but hope to swing down your way to DC at the end of the month or in September. Enjoy this time and place in your lives. Eat it up. Eat it all up.

Christina said...

I found your blog again, It took me awhile to catch up. The spoke looked awesome. I am glad that you are happy with your move. I agree that there is something about home that can't be replaced no matter where you go. I miss you guys and hope we get a chance to meet up in the not too distant future again.

Ricky said...

im glad you and ryan moved back to Mercersburg. I've missed going there since Aunt Candy and Uncle Joel moved away. I have such fond memories of the area even though I only visited twice and sometimes 3 times a year. Glad I'll get the chance to visit again :D