When growing up on the North Coast, I wanted nothing more than to escape, to flee, to explore and make my way in the world—elsewhere. Anywhere... else.
Part of the drive to move out was emancipation. I needed to get away from a turbulent family, parochial community and test myself, define myself, in terms of the greater, wider world..
Going, then, was the most important step I could have taken as a young man. A monumental step in terms of becoming what I am. It was necessary to leave, to go, in order to become me.
Along the way I succeeded, and failed many times, in many different ways, but no matter where I was, I was inexorably linked to where I had come from. Even when I resisted the notion and didn't want to accept it.
In many ways I became what I had long dream t of being. I had reason to rejoice in success but felt, despite myself, let down. So what? I asked. Who cares? Is this all there is?
“Where ever you go, there you are.” has since become my mantra.
Coming back to the North Coast after 35 years away has, in some ways, been the easiest move I ever made. Not much has changed, but the way I see it has. The first autumn I spent back among the flat farmland bordering the lake shore was as splendid as any spent elsewhere—ever.
I had failed to notice the beauty, failed to appreciate the abundance of wildlife, failed to relish the open spaces, variety of landscape and amenities of nature in which to recreate.
After living in urban settings and suburban enclaves for so long, I came to value as I never had in my early years here the pleasure of living in a small village, easily navigated on foot, the satisfaction of chance meetings of friends and neighbors, and relatives at the post office, cafe and library.
In some ways my life has been lived in a circle. Going was important, necessary and right. Coming home, to where I started seems right too.