Sunday, May 20, 2018

You Can't Go Home Again

It's true what they say: you can't go home again. I recently flew back to where I did graduate and medical school after two years away, in order to visit old friends--at least, the ones who were still there. As it so happened, one of my dissertation advisors and our church's long-time choir director were retiring that weekend, so I was able to celebrate with them in person. It was bitter sweet to drive those gridded streets again. They were so familiar: I can remember listening to the radio while driving down that one on Saturday errands; this is the route I used to bike to the farmer's market; I always liked the Christmas lights on that house over there. Of course some things had changed: new apartment buildings that are depressing the rental market, for instance, and new restaurants, a few old buildings torn down. What hurt the most was that I spent a dozen formative years there, and it cannot be "home" again, because I needed to complete my training elsewhere. We knew that when we came, and yes, those years were sometimes difficult: more studying than socializing, far from family, regrets about opportunities missed, cancer. But the place was comfortable and nurturing, as evidenced by the number of meet-ups I tried to cram into a few short days.

I ate lunch with a friend at the new Broadway Food Hall; took a walk on the park path near our old house; patronized the Steak N Shake because the Krekel's hasn't opened yet; worked at the public library; ate outside downtown with friends; got breakfast at the farmer's market with Bible Study folks; tried a new Indian restaurant with an old union colleague; hung around with a church lady and her fur-children; caught up with old swing-dance partners; attended two retirement parties; ran into dear acquaintances on the street; worshipped twice on Sunday morning; and met up with former professors and still mentors. When Dear Husband and I moved away in 2016, I definitely felt as if I had grown tired of the physical landscape but was only just starting to get to know the human landscape. With any luck we will have knitted bonds that will stretch across the country with us as we move from one home to another.

Flower-like butterflies fill the air in the entranceway of the public library.

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