Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Why I live where I live

I've been calling this year "the transitional year." But, recently, I've been hearing myself say the same thing about next year, too. After selling my place and moving to town last October, I felt rootless. And, to be honest, it was an uncomfortable feeling. In December I dedicated an entire art show to the sense of loss I was experiencing. Strangely, the last pieces I painted were not of the place I had left behind, but of the place I've arrived at.

It has been raining for two days straight. Anu's been holed up in her dog house and so this morning I took her for an extra long walk. It was cold, windy, and wet, but after the first couple blocks both of us just sorta gave into it. After a while, it started to feel good. Then we found ourselves not wanting to go back home, like we could walk forever.

Since moving to town I've done a lot more walking than I ever did living out in the country. Because Anu is half wolf, half husky (and had never before been tied up, fenced in, and very rarely kenneled), I pay for my guilt in moving her to the middle of town with long daily walks. And in the process I've become friends with this place in ways I never expected.

I live here because when I returned from India I got sick and was bed-ridden for 2 months. Even after that, it was a long recovery. I grew up in this smallish town with a population of 10,000 and when I left, I never thought I'd come back. My return was all an accident--I never planned on staying. But somewhere along the lines I came to realize how much I love it here. Now it's 9 years later and I'm still here and, every day, I grow more conscious of the sadness I feel in the fact that I'll soon be leaving. This sadness surprises me. I thought the hard part was in leaving my old place. But leaving is starting to feel like peeling back layers of an onion--there are numerous layers of separation.

I wish words were enough to give you a little piece of this place. I wish they were enough so that you could experience it the way I do. But they're not. I don't know how to turn words into weather or wolves or water. I don't know how to smith these syllables into footsteps that fall on this dark soil that I've come to know and, in so many ways, hate to leave.

I wish words were enough so that I could carry this place around with me forever--in a little book, or my pocket. That way, I'd never have to leave it behind. I suppose I could carry this place in my heart, but lately it already feels much, much too heavy.

I look forward to moving on. I just never expected it to be this hard.

20 comments:

Shuku said...

There's so much power in your words, in describing how a place sneaks up on you, burrows into your blood when you don't even know it. The feelings just reverbrate off the page. I do understand the feeling only too well. Beautiful.

Mardougrrl said...

This was so moving...I could feel your deep sense of home. You DID manage to give me the sense of it through your words. Thank you. :)

paris parfait said...

Moving forward is always a wrench, no matter how positive it turns out to be! Great job of describing the tug-of-war you're experiencing, emotionally. You know that old expression about the most stressful events in life being death, divorce and moving house. Bonne courage in your next step! Thanks for sharing your story.

GoGo said...

Hmm. You describe so well the feelings that scare me in leaving a place, but as a friend of mine once said, "sad feelings reflect that you have lived well in a place you are leaving behind." Good luck with it all and good journey!

AnnieElf said...

Instant thought. Take one meaningful picture of this place you love, put the photo in a locket and wear it next to your heart. Then you will always be able to carry this special place with you and touch it and hold it.

Jennifer (she said) said...

there is so much here. when i got to the end, and you wrote that you didn't know how to put wolves or weather or water into words, that did something to me. even if i don't know what it's like where you are, i understood something on an emotional/feeling level at exactly the moment you didn't know how to say it. and then your details - your writing. i felt like i was there. and ending up in a different place than the one you started at (with your art)...i really enjoyed this (and will be bacl:-) thank you.

Joy Eliz said...

I've never been away from a place I call home...you really make me feel how it would feel.
Beautiful writing!

Left-handed Trees... said...

"I don't know how to turn words into weather or wolves or water." Oh, but you do--and it breaks my heart it is so beautifully done.

Mark said...

Beautiful writing, Jes.

I moved away and moved back twenty-six years later. I was never able to get this place out from under my skin. No place else, regardless of its beauty or interest, felt right.

You might come back.

Cate said...

Oh, your words WERE enough! Your honesty and emotions just poured into me as I read this post. Thank you for such a genuine, marvelous piece of writing.

megg said...

i agree with Cate - your words were enough! I completely understand your tie - your need for your roots in your childhood home. I wonder - why do you have to leave?

Jessie said...

megg, thank you for your comment (and everyone else, too!). to answer your question, my husband and i are leaving for several reasons. #1)a change of pace, #2)jobs, #3)and for MFA or Phd programs (year after next).

my desire to teach outweighs my desire to stay. unfortunately, there is not a lot of opportunity here. although, mark is right, it's possible that i will someday return.

i'm really ready to move on...but i am surprised on a daily basis when i see something and realize just how much i'll miss it--things like the lake or a certain trail. yep, shuku's right--sometimes a place just sneaks up on you.

Living Part Deux said...

The weight of your words perfectly expressed the weight in your heart. No long walks can erase that. Only time. In time. I hope the next chapter of your life is beautiful.

Endment said...

A very insightful post... It is strange to discover that sometimes life brings us to the place we need to be... and allows us unrest when it is time to move on...

Loralee Choate said...

I can't say anything that everyone hasn't stated already. Only that you had better take this blog with you, dammit! ;D

Jamie said...

Sometimes it's like that with love. You don't realize you're in it until something shakes you up. May you fall in love again.

tara dawn said...

So strange how the places we often feel a desperate desire to leave may become the places we long to return to. I know these feelings too. And I just adore your ways of telling a story...it brings me right there with you, moving from one home to another:)
Love to you sweet one!

mary jane said...

Your story about the tug of war of moving is never a joyful experience. This pain is a deep hurt that can only be healed slowly one new day at a time....so often like magic it disappears...may the days that follow inspire you..

gkgirl said...

"But leaving is starting to feel like peeling back layers of an onion--there are numerous layers of separation."

i loved that line...
so well said.

a dyke... said...

Is it just me, or are blogs not updating? Are people not posting? Why is this the most recent post I see when I come to your blog?