Today during my lunchbreak at work, I was showing my RGV pics to a coworker; she lost interest pretty quickly (bless her, I'm sure it was like watching your Aunt Mabel's summer vacation slide show circa 1971) and I started digging waaaaay back into my archives.
I flipped through old pictures from the Marsh House: my garden, the marsh itself, the mountains on the edge of Penns Valley, birds at my feeder. I began to get really sad; I started to feel like maybe it was dumb to go back to those days, or even want to go back to those days. They were hard days sometimes! And I just wanted to leave there!
But then I began to think about it in a different way: those pictures from back then had a certain magic for me.Everywhere, there was magic.
The marsh had magic (along with a lot of purple loosestrife).There's no place like that anywhere here in Texas; even the beach (my favorite place in Texas) isn't as magical to me as that beautiful countryside out there in Central Pennsylvania. Remember when I discovered my "secret" place, the Coburn Rail Trail?Magical spot.
Remember Kline Road?Magical.
Even my garden.Magical spot.*sigh*
Upon further reflection, though, I began to feel it was a good thing that I was going back into those old photos, old posts. It reminded me of how beautiful it is in Pennsylvania and how much I loved being outside in that magical crystal-clear air. By the end of my time in PA, I had pretty much soured on the place; I was so ready to move to California. After everything that had happened with my relationship and my life, my crappy mood led me to feel like I just needed to be elsewhere, like I didn't belong there because I'd only gone there because of Kat.
But now, looking back after everything else that's happened, after I've gotten way way way more changes of scenery than I'd ever wanted in my whole life ever!, I feel like I can look at Central PA with fresh eyes. California was incredible. But I'm not in California, and I doubt I'll be able to go back there. Texas has its pretty places and its amazing birds, but nothing I've seen here has the magic of discovery and beauty that I found in PA.
Maybe it's the lack of pines to keep the place green.
Maybe it's how everything here is so spiny and prickly and poisonous and shrivelled and thirsty-looking.
Maybe it's the lack of snow to turn a country road into a study in blues.
I've found no cool shady green spot under a canopy of dancing maple leaveswith the ground soft and moist and covered in springy green moss soft as a pillow.
I've seen no tufts of fog clinging to the mountainsides, catching the rising sun's rays and and looking like pink and orange cotton candy.
YES, I remember the snow shoveling. I remember being so cold that I just didn't want to move. I remember walking in the dirty slush on the sidewalks, my jeans getting all wet and heavy. I remember the lack of Mexican food!
Besides, without snow, would this picture be as cool?
But I also remember the cool spring and summer nights, filled with the ringing cries of peepers, the low twangs of bullfrogs, and the persistent oh-ka-lees of the Red-winged Blackbirds.I remember driving up a mountain road to gaze out onto a rolling hilly valley, green with young cornstalks and soybean plants. I remember hillsides strewn with the multi-colored confetti of autumn's changing leaves.
Yup, I think my little emotional trip down Memory Lane was a good idea. It made getting back to work a little difficult, as it was hard to focus on debit cards and duplicate charges and customer documents and such. But I think it was a good idea to remember how much fun I've had keeping this blog.
And maybe the next time I live in Pennsylvania, which might be sooner rather than later, I will remember that even if it's cold and hard and shovely, it's also magical and green and birdy.Maybe next time, I won't over-romanticize or under-romanticize it; I'll just look at it with more realistic eyes. I'll take the good with the bad. Certain people won't be there anymore, people like Matty (CA) or my bff Gretchen (DE), but then again, certain people will be there--like AB.So look out, Keystone State. Don't be surprised if a newly appreciative expatriot Texan wanders back your way someday soon.
Note: all these pictures originally appeared on this blog in previous posts.