It’s always hard to leave this coast. Fresh fish, oysters, sushi that I could maybe find the likes of in New York City – but only maybe, and at costs so far above what I’d consider normal for the quality. Powell’s books. Microbrews, rubinators, pubs and good pub food. Mountains that reach to the sky, capped with snow, next to raging rivers and the wide, beautiful ocean. Farmer’s markets, fresh produce, organic, local food. Powell’s (yes, it’s really worth mentioning twice). Light drizzles, violent winds, nasty weather, green trees.
There is such a bounty here, and the people who’ve lived here for a while, their entire lives, don’t see it so much as take it for granted. I did, after a few years – of course this is the way things are. Memory is interesting in it’s ability to rewrite itself, and this became normal, the way things simply were.
Needless to say, the east coast is a shock in comparison. I’m still searching for the things that could tie me to the area, the things that are local and would be missed if I couldn’t, didn’t have them. I’m trying to remember how long it took for the PNW to write itself so indelibly into mind, and hope that even if it can’t fully happen in my current home, it might happen at least to a degree where I can capture some of the quality of life I love when I’m here. But a lot of that quality depends on things that simply don’t exist where I am right now – tightly built downtown cores, mixed living and work spaces, an ability to walk, good public transit.
But even with how much I love this area, and how much it hurts to leave, how much I miss it, I don’t belong, either. In a lot of ways, I didn’t belong for a while before leaving Seattle – I was growing out of, beyond, that city. I needed more than it could offer, especially academically, professionally. My friends tethered me, and my love for what quality of life – but I was restless. It’s just that I didn’t move to the next logical place, so far as that restless energy has been concerned.
It’s a weird feeling, to be ungrounded in sense of home. I am strongly pulled to the PNW, but whenever I am here I realize I am different enough that it’s history that’s bringing out that strength of belonging, longing. But it’s no longer home – it doesn’t move as quickly as I want or need, and although it’s building up a world class group of people working in areas closely related to my own, it’s still not a powerhouse of my particular interests.
It takes time to settle, grow roots. Time to find the small and simple pleasures that make an area unique and memorable. I think I just need to devote a bit more to that, on the opposite coast.
And I could wibble on for a while, but Aubrey, Maturin, and the wide open sky is now demanding my attention. See you on the other side.