Over the summer I visited Maine, New Hampshire, Cape Cod and even Chicago. As a transplant to Arizona from the midwest/east coast, I wondered how I would feel as I visited my previous geography… would I find myself drawn back to the green landscapes? The humid air? The ocean? The lake?
Nope. It appears that Arizona has gotten in to my blood.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast with my family at New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee. I thouroughly enjoyed kayaking and I am sure that the young adults will long be telling stories of me jumping off of the floating platform in to the lake…several times…screaming my head off. We swam . And watched the sunset. And told stories. And it was wonderful.
On the same trip I walked along the ocean off of Cape Cod, visited Hyannis Port, sampled jellies at Stonewall Kitchen and reveled in the majesty of Maine’s rocky coast. All of it was restorative and peaceful. Maybe even a bit magical.
And then I spent sometime in my “hometown” of Wheaton, IL… a place that formed me and still feels familiar though I have not lived there in over 30 years.
And then it was time to come back to Arizona and I was curious about how that would go. I had let my heart be open to everything I loved about Chicago and New England and I have only lived in the desert a little over 5 years. What would re-entry feel like?
Re-entry felt great.
First of all, I was not completely re-hooked by the green landscape of the I-95 corridor. True, it was wonderful to see again, and I enjoyed it… but I found myself thrilled to be back to the big sky of the Arizona desert. And there was the extra bonus of actually being dry! I am not sure that my clothes EVER really dried while I was travelling.
And I did not feel the loss of the lake and the ocean. Again… I enjoyed making a complete fool of myself in the water. But, one of the first days back I woke up early and went to the PebbleCreek community pool to swim while the sun was rising. AMAZING. And I had the pool to myself. If I want to kayak or play in a lake, Lake Pleasant is just a short drive away. Heck, San Diego is less than a 6 hour drive.
Most significantly, I looked forward to reconnecting with the people and the projects that make Arizona home for me. This takes time, don’t I know it, but over these last five years I have found ways to be engaged in the community and I have met people who have encouraged me and enriched my life in many ways.
I will always have roots in other parts of the country and will be a frequent traveller for years to come. But home, for me, as for SO MANY other people, has definintely become Arizona.