Friday, December 21, 2007

Change (and cold hands) are relative

My home town has a certain air of timelessness about it.

I spend my day-to-day life in a city that is constantly changing. A few weeks' eschewal of a route will lead to the surprise spouting of seemingly random buildings into any spare gaps upon my return, like weeds in a neglected garden. It often feels that stepping out my front door means an automatic sort of awareness or vigilance, as though you need to pay attention, lest all the constant moving and transformation sweeps you off what falsely seemed like stable ground.

Don't get me wrong-- I like that excitement, that sense of unexpectedness, that chaos that pulses from the city. I enjoy how it allows me to slip out of people's field of vision, and to just blend in with all the anonymous cacophony. I relish being able to watch screenplays develop before my very eyes, through the sheer variety of interactions and behaviours.

But, stepping off the plane today, I took a deep breath of fresh air, and it just felt as though the crispness held a bit more oxygen than usual.
Watching the snow-dusted scenery flicker by the car window, it's amazing how it feels like time has just slowed. I've been away from here for over six years now, and I feel the distance when I'm embroiled in the city life that has become my own. But these flickering images carry me back in a moment.

I can't explain the surrealism of being brought back instantaneously, as though these years have dissipated merely by the glimpse of a road sign.

The standard for change is suddenly different. It is no longer new condos and gang wars and train lines. It is now new paint on the pharmacy, the Mexican restaurant changing owners, a pregnancy announcement.

I took my sister's dog out for a walk tonight, with my pajama pants tucked into winter boots.
It was so quiet. My boots crunching and her collar jingling were the only sounds piercing the silence.
And, even though my hands were cold, it seemed so much more alive for my hands to be cold in that moment, rather than when they are being frantically stuffed in my pocket while waiting for a bus or running to work.

23 comments:

ana said...

Nostalgia wipes the lens clean of all the smudges...I hope the rest of our stay at home is wonderful and as insightful. Love the way you write....

lspoon said...

I'm glad you finally got home! Enjoy your holiday with your family!

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I agree with ana.

Coming home after the hustle bustle of a life away in a city is strange. The changes that happen seem to have the same level of perceived impact on those within their sphere of influence, despite their apparently more trivial nature.

This is innately reassuring for me.

La said...

Glad you made it home - and the dog walking with crunchy boots in the snow sound absolutely peaceful. Have a great holiday!

Miriam D said...

I feel this way every time I visit a place I've lived before. The sights, the smells, the sounds bring me right back to the past, and I feel like I did then, young and carefree.

Loved the post. Happy Holidays!

Michelle said...

so glad you were able to make it home finally! have a great holiday weekend :)

Beth said...

Happy to hear you got there safely.
It's wonderful that you still have that home and hometown to return to.
Treasure it.

t.b.f.love. said...

This is so beautiful. I love the nostalgia that you captured. There's no place like home.

NamesAreHardToPick said...

It seems you can handle change better than myself. But you're right, there is a sort of surrealistic notion about it in comparison of the previous. I am glad that you enjoyed it as much and could not agree with the previous comments, excellent writing.

brandy said...

Well said my friend (like always). And what a gift you have for taking in change and writing about it so beautifully. I'm glad you finally made it back!

distractedspunk said...

You made it home! You made it home! *cheers* And this post? Absolutely beautiful. I could picture you walking the dog, and there's something so ethereal, quiet, content about the way you described it, I loved it. Thanks.

Sheila said...

Glad that you have finally made it home! I have often felt the same way when I get back home to the midwest.
Best Wishes!

the frog princess said...

Hooray, you finally made it!

I feel the same way when I go home, so I'll be right there with you by tomorrow evening.

Except without the snow :(

Enjoy your holiday!

Yoda said...

Me loves your hometown already :-)

You need to check out Westchester county (where I live). It can be as city as you like (White Plains), but venture a few miles off the parkway and BAM! you're in the country. Funky place this. Ah yea, NYC is a hop skip and jump away, if you wanna get adventurous :-)

thestoryofagirl said...

I am going 'home' too, after being away from 3-4 years. It's weird, so much time away. I hope your time home is good for you.

Eve said...

It's so good that you made it back, especially after your hellish initial attempt.

And isn't it strange how going home can make you feel as though the time you spent away didn't even happen?

Ideally, I'd like to live in both the city and the country or a small town. That would be lovely.

UBERMOUTH said...

great post.

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

Glad you got home!

I hope there is snow on the ground when I fly up to see my family on Sunday....fingers crossed!!

eric1313 said...

How did I not see this post last night? I must have been distracted...

The writing is crisp and your word choices are delightful; I can tell you are relaxed, rejuvenated (I feel that way too, as you hoped for me) and actually happy, not just wanting to be so.

You grew up in a small but growing town, so now the changes you describe make sense. Things get built as needed, but now the change hands, or as you said, paint jobs. The surface details change, but the heart is the same.

Hope you are well! And I hope it stays that way for you. I feel better just knowing a friend feels better.

Jeff said...

Glad you made it home safely! You town sounds delightful!

Wendy said...

Yay! you made it home. Enjoy the silence. :)

Damsel in Digress said...

it is now only hours before i arrive in the sleepy midwestern town i call home ... and i needed this post :) it stirred up feelings of nostalgia and wistfulness that i could completely relate to!

beautiful post. i'm glad you finally made it home, safely and soundly.

brookem said...

Simply beautiful. Enjoy that serenity.