Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Perhaps it all began because I had a wandering family. And in that I simply mean, we moved around a lot. Through my young life, I became adept at tracking down visitor's bureaus, and chambers of commerce; always looking for the next place that I'd like to live. Ooh-ing and Ahh-ing over mountainous expanses and greener pastures and ocean-side villages (I still feel drawn to little fishing towns in Maine or the Northwest), but even understanding early on that home was where you hang your hat, I still have this romantic vision of what it must be like to those who were made and grown in one place. I know what it is to "make" home and am not quite sure if I ever just "feel" it. I have lived in eight states and twenty houses. Which means I have moved at least once a year for at least three-quarters of my life? If it wasn't a new state, it was a new house. I think the longest I stayed in one house was six years. And the longest in one state: ten years. And I have moved at least once a year since 2001. Which has taken me from Wyoming to Arizona, to Colorado to Massachusetts and back to Colorado… and no matter how much I say to myself or to others that I hate moving, that I don't want to do it anymore; I inevitably find myself searching through some photos online or books or pictures of places I haven't been. I feel my feet, instantaneously, begin to itch. I think then and pause: perhaps there is so much more of the world I am supposed to see.

There has only been one time ever that I have been on my somewhere I have never been and felt like I was home... There is a canyon between Knoxville, Tennessee and Asheville, North Carolina, and in May 2 years ago I was driving through the scent of magnolia's and my first real glimpses of the Smokey Mountains and felt… happy. Comfortable. Safe. Heading higher and higher into greener grass and thick cool air… and I don't quite know what to do with that.

I had this very romantic idea of moving to the Northeast. Boston and beyond, the bay, the fens the curving arm of Cape Cod. I can admit it now, that I had read far too much Emerson and Frost to be anything more than entirely naïve about the state of history in that particular landscape. I was looking for the feelings Thoreau descried, when he went into the woods to "live deliberately". Now, I knew Boston was a city --of course, I did -- I just didn't realize that something had been born there that had never left: history, sadness, massacres, race. And yet the city shut down for the most part at night, everyone went home to their own pocket of New England suburbia and unless you were seeing a show, belonged to one of the fifty colleges in the Greater Boston area or part of the neighborhood poor, this city, unlike New York, was a sleeping city. As much as I liked (and even miss) the North End, Haymarket and the Commons, walking towards Tremont Street or up Boylston; walking home at 2am from the Garden or Beacon Hill, I still miss my idea of it more than the reality of being there. That reality for me meant oppressive summer heat, claustrophobia, and the inability to be where I was without counting down the days before I could escape…and a self-contained bubble of space I used to insulate myself with, and learned early on to project a "don't fuck with me" attitude to protect myself from unwanted introductions or intrusions. Survival was an important desire on the darker later nights walking home alone from work, or taking the last call of the T home amidst the homeless and gang-bangers or insane and their 8-yr old tongue-pierced children as they made their way to the 4 corners of Bostonian-burbia, segregated harshly by race as well as economics. Newton, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and South Boston. Rich/Jewish, Hispanic/Cuban, Black, Cracker Trash, and the poor Irish. That's how they see it. It actually hurts to remember the indifference in their inflection. But things just are they way they are, and there's nothing nobody can do about it.

In retrospect, I am sure I would have loved Boston a hundred years ago, but there is something lurking there that irks me, pulls at me from under the arms like an ill-fitting coat. Ah, History. The same story told over, and over with no hope in sight but a glaring false truth: this is just how things are. Get used to it. I prefer New Hampshire I think, but again, I do not know if I will ever go back east to live again. I simply want to wake up a feel grateful to live in a beautiful place. Maybe Seattle or British Columbia? Maybe I will be drawn back to the Midwest: Madison or Chicago perhaps? I do not know. Perhaps I will continue to (always and perpetually in the beginning stages) to love Boulder. And yet there is that tug still, to see other places. To reduce my life to boxes and new empty houses. I don't know if my feet are done itching yet.

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