We Are Where We've Been

November 21st, 2011 by Sarah Clarkin

I moved yesterday. Sold the house, picked up, packed up, drove a few hours, and landed at a new home.

In the weeks and days preceding the move, I aspired to permanently paste the beloved images of the local open spaces, neighborhoods, and architecture into my mind. While I had taken the time to admire these over the years, I looked at them as though I’d never see them again. I focused on the afternoon sun striking the nineteenth century commercial buildings; the heavy early morning fog shrouding the arched bridge over the pond at the nearby park; the beautiful vertical neon sign hanging outside a local brew pub; the porches of my neighborhood – all of it. During my years there, I became a part of the place. The place became a part of me. Leaving was difficult.

This morning, as I walked Hudson the Wonder Dog, I began to take in my new surroundings. Snow topped mountains and sky were markers. Cold, soon-to-be iced, water lapped against rocks. Commercial buildings, new and old, were anchored alongside sidewalks. Over the weeks and years to come, I expect I’ll become a part of this place, and it a part of me.

The landscapes of my childhood are still very much with me. Many of the homes, backyards, and woods of my New Jersey town have changed or disappeared, but the scenes, sounds, smells, and textures live within me. Similarly, the beaches of New Jersey and Cape Cod comprise part of my being. I returned to some of those beaches in October – a homecoming.

I suppose I didn’t have to consciously paste the images of my old home onto my mind. They’re already there. I am a product of where I’ve been. These places have contributed to the person I’ve become.

I think the same can be said of family and friends. And, as Thanksgiving nears, it’s good to contemplate the values of landscapes, family, and friends … and give thanks.

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