You Can Never Go Home Again
I’ve blogged about this before. I really disliked living in Chicago and my memories of Huntsville Alabama, my previous home, grew well beyond the city’s ability to keep pace with the impression in my mind. After a number of years, I returned to Huntsville. Wow. Barely worth remembering.
In fairness, that’s not entirely true. Huntsville hadn’t changed, I had. Not for the better or for the worse, simply changed. If I had never left Huntsville, I would have remained as happy as can be. But I did leave Huntsville, and for more than an annual vacation on a cruise ship. My perspective on everything in my life had changed, through personal experience, growth and learning.
I recently sold my house in the Atlanta area and went back there to effect closing. It had been my intention to rent it out for a number of homeless years, then return when I was done being a nomad. However I decided that if I get done being a drifter, the Atlanta area was not where I wanted to return to… based mostly on climate.
I saw the house, the subdivision and the area for the first time in three years. My fresh perspective saw the faults, not the features. It is perhaps laughable to be finding flaw in an area with comfortable homes and convenient shopping while living in a 26′ box where the highlights of local commerce include Piggly Wiggly and Dollar General. But this is a stop in my journey, not my destination. And that’s how I felt about the area where the house is. Returning there to live would have been a destination. I don’t think your destination in life can be where you’ve already been.
I suppose that I really AM at heart a barefoot boy from the boondocks. When I first moved to the very rural community of Bethlehem, we had one stop light, a couple of Shell-marts and a Dollar Gentral. In time came a strip mall with Target, Belk, Michael’s, TJMaxx, PetSmart and Publix. The number of traffic lights has doubled, there is now an Applebee’s and an IHOP, new subdivisions once at a weed-filled standstill have blossomed and there are more city-folk than people. I was amused to see once again the ‘bright red Georgia clay’, something I had forgotten after a couple of years being a coastal dweller with its beige, sandy soil.
The paradox is that after a lengthy absence, change seems odd, but also questioned are the things that look exactly the same. Has there been no progress, no upgrades, no fresh coat of paint? As I drove past, I considered stopping at Faith Baptist Church where I had attended, to say ‘hello’ to the Preacher, a really fine man. But I decided that I was really saying ‘good-bye’ for good. As I once told him a few years back, I’ve already seen Monroe, Georgia. Now, I was leaving the area with a sense of closure.
The King is dead, long live the King.
I’ll be headed back up north in a few weeks for a full summer in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I’ll get bored there, as well, most likely. Then next fall, it’s back down to Coastal Georgia again, to begin the next big adventure with a new camper, a new truck and a newly-retired woman. Once everything is in order, we’ll hit the road. I want to explore little-seen Louisiana. (Did I just see the General’s wife roll her eyes?)
Laissez les bons temps rouler!