Where I come from there are fields upon fields of open space, sometimes full of perfectly aligned cornstalks or little tobacco teepees, and sometimes they're just open plots of land full of high weeds and wildflowers. There are forests of thick pine trees and other less appreciated trees, where foxes and coyotes trot and sneak around off the blazed paths. There are rivers and quarries and streams and ponds and creeks that wind through the land, and deer that roam like Mowgli through the jungle. Where there is housing, you will find light blue cottages donned with American flags, brick houses softened by sunflowers, and shops with faded, rusty signs reading things like "Motel" and "Taylor's Auto Body Repair." There are 24-hour truck-stop diners with neon, blinking lights like "Jennie's Diner" that are never without a tractor trailer tramp reading a map or jaded high school kid sipping coffee. If you drive down these roads lined in homes, you'll see people living quietly - the twenty-something heading back south to where he's stationed in the Marines, loading his laundry basket and duffle bags into his truck; the little girl with her legs up to her chest sitting on her porch in a lawn chair laughing at her grandfather's jokes about farm animals and the silly people he's met; the 18-year-old getting gas in his rented U-Haul that'll take him just far enough away from the only place he's ever called home for him to realize it will likely be the only place he ever calls that.
This is the town that I grew up in; the place I met Jesus, the place I first fell in love with music, the place in which I found myself. While we aren't always meant to stay where we were destined to begin, our home is never diminished by change. It will forever be the dirt that felt your first steps, the air that first met your lungs, the trees that first held your body up from all the dangers of the world like fictitious crocodiles in lava and non-fictitious siblings. The place you were born will remain magical and full of wonder and mystery, because it remains the setting of your childhood, where you were formed and molded and revealed.
Someday I think I'll leave this place, and when I do, it won't be because I hate it here. It won't be because I have lost my appreciation for it's beautiful backdrop. It will be because sometimes you have to leave your home to love and appreciate it even more. One of my professors in college told us that if we remember one thing from her course, let it be this: "Get out. Get away from this place. See the world. You can always come back."
And when I leave, I can promise this: I will always come back.
|Sweaters were made for airplanes.|