Right now, as I’m typing this, I’m on a train cutting through the Michigan countryside, trying not to get sick. One of the benefits of having quit my day job is that I now have the time to visit home, which I haven’t been able to do in two years. Obscene. I’m going on Tuesday and coming back on Tuesday, which means, round-trip, the whole travel cost is $50 (not including obscenely priced snacks from the diner car, of course). Very doable if I get this writing thing kicked off and want to take more trips. And I definitely want to take more trips.
I’ve forgotten how much I love the train. It’s about a five hour trip, where I pretty much can just read and (now that Amtrak has WiFi) catch up on emails and play games. I tried writing, but it is just a liiiittle too bumpy for that. Still, I can foster ideas, peek in on other worlds, and do a little inbox cleaning in the meantime. Not to mention the views. As I’m writing this, we’re passing by a river swollen from the floods of winter snow melting. Though all the trees are barren and the grass is brown where it isn’t still covered with snowy patches, Michigan is really, really beautiful. I love how, as soon as we enter the state, it immediately just feels different. There’s something about how the farms are laid out and the tree lines and even the buildings that just screams “HOME” to me, and it’s thrilling. Just as thrilling as when I take the train into Chicago from the ‘burbs and I see that skyline with the Sears tower poking out of it, and that feels right, too.
Part of me wonders if others can really relate to the strong feeling I get when I’ve immersing myself in a certain setting that fits a part of my soul just right. I think it’s incredible that I can feel such a sense of longing and love for two completely different places. I love the bustle of the city, the tall buildings and the old architecture, the little details in a place swarming with people just as much as I love the stretch of cornfields and the winding rivers and the patches of trees. We just passed by an old house with fading teal tiles and a fenced in area beside it with nothing in it but a tree in one corner and a lone, solitary iron bench painted white. It creates such a stark image and fires my imagination in a powerful way. What’s the story there? What stories could come up from it? And five feet away, there’s another house with another yard and other random details, suggesting even more infinite tales.
Moments like this really help confirm that I have made the right choice. There’s a lot of big changes going on for me, a lot of questions about what I’m doing with my life on the day after I turned 30 (guess I gotta be an adult now, huh?), how it doesn’t feel like I’m thirty, and yet at the same time it does, and who am I, and where am I going, and all sorts of things. But then I realize that what I’m doing at this moment is pursuing a dream I’ve had since I was ten, perhaps even younger, and that’s all I need. This is more than a homecoming in the fact that I’m going literally home; it’s a homecoming in the fact that I’m going back to where I started, in more ways than one.