Out of place

The other afternoon, NLDDH and I were driving back from seeing a movie (we always go to the matinees) and he said, “It’s really beautiful here.” And I said, “It’s really beautiful here NOW.”

It is beautiful here now – it was about in the mid-70s this afternoon, clear sky, bright sun, the land around us golden and sage. But I ruin my beautiful days bracing for summer, when it will hit 110 easily. I find myself thinking of the sun as my enemy. And I stop and linger over the catalogs that show up in my mailbox selling winter clothes, to gaze again and again at snow, slush, bare trees, gray skies. 

My sister just recently joined LinkedIn, and I got asked if I wanted to “connect” with her. Out of idle curiosity I googled her employer, then went to Google maps and street-viewed it. (She works for a stable, and lives on-site.) The photos are all from spring or summer, or some time when the grass is a deep damp green and the trees are bushy with leaves. I’ve never been there, and don’t know that I’ll ever go there, but it looks like home, the way places are supposed to look.

The above all seems to point in one direction. But in the other direction lies my job, my apartment, all the things – real and imagined – that we carry with us when we move and that tie us down in place. I have no critical mass of friends and family to pull me in another direction (they’re scattered all over) – just the imagined memory of what I want the world around me to look like. That’s not enough, but it’s also ineradicable.

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