Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Introspective retrospective

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.

26 comments:

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Delia, this post was so beautifully written- your best ever. The photos and words conveyed your thoughts very clearly. Pennsylvania will be lucky to get you back.

Rabbits' Guy said...

"Where ever you go, there you are."

Jon Kabat-Zinn


"Tie yourself not to a wall, for you must leave or it must fall"

Anon

"When I die I want to go to Heaven. But I don't know if they let cowgirls in. So when I die just let me go to Texas, Texas is as close as I've been"

Tanya Tucker

John said...

This post is well-written with lovely photos.

Beth said...

Beautiful post, Delia. Come back to PA...soon.

Fran said...

Lynne is right - this may be your best post ever. I have read it over and over, taking in the photos. I felt as if I were on a long, long walk with you, a walk in which many secrets were shared, vulnerability revealed, friendship formed.

What a gift. Thank you. Love you.

Elizabeth said...

Delia,

I've been going through some similar struggles. Sometimes I think that our ability to pick up and move anywhere in the country makes life harder. At least for me, I have so many choices that I worry about missing all the opportunities.

I'm really happy to have moved to Utah, but I'm actually a little homesick for California. I'm going back for a business trip today and I'm so excited. I still don't want to live there, but I missing seeing birds in the winter. I'm going to Golden Gate Park tomorrow; hummers here I come!

bunnygirl said...

Beautiful photos. But maybe moving to the pine woods of East Texas would be far enough? Texas has ten climactic regions and eleven ecological regions, you know. In some of them, you can't find a cactus on a bet. :-)

dAwN said...

Great post..longing for PA! Bet you will be there soon..

Amanda Fall - PersistentGreen said...

I just stumbled across this post by "accident"--and was immediately transported by your words and stunning photos. Wow. What a heartfelt journey.

You make me itch to get back outside, even though it's cold and snowy here in South Dakota. Thank you for reminding me to take time to appreciate my special "spots"--the places that are indeed magic.


Have a wonderful day!

dguzman said...

Lynne--thank you!

Rabbits' Guy--well, I used to feel that way about Texas, but not anymore.

John--thanks.

Beth--trying!

Fran--oh, I love you too! Thanks.

Elizabeth--I hope you spot some great hummingbirds there! Say hello to CA for me. At least Utah is beautiful!

Bunnygirl--I need maples! Spruces! Tamaracks! Elms!

dAwN--thanks! And your posts have been amazing lately.

Amanda--cool! Welcome to the bloggy! Hope you return.

KGMom said...

Delia--lovely lovely pics, and such a bittersweet quality to your look back, and your look forward.
The Commonwealth of PA would be greatly enriched should you return.

I think every place we are has its own beauty--perhaps time passing and memory help to burnish that beauty.

Take care.

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Lisa Beth said...

What a lovely post - both in words and images. Quite reminds me of Cavafy's poem Ithaka: http://homepage.newschool.edu/~wrightd/cavafy-ithaka.html

Blessings on the next leg of your journey.

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