53/365: Promise me you will always remember who you are.
Friday, 18 July 2008.
Sitting out on the back deck facing the backyard and the woods behind our house is one of my favorite places to be. In an imperfect life, in an imperfect world, it reminds me of all the things about my life and my relationship with my husband that are perfect.
When he found this house, we were living hundreds of miles apart (not even engaged yet, though we had already begun talking about my moving out here). He kept sending me pictures of houses, and they were OK, but none of them felt like home. When he found this house, we just sort of knew it was right. I saw the pictures and I began to cry.
The house sits on a long, narrow strip of land that goes down into a wooded ravine with a little creek winding through it, and then back up the other side. It is, essentially, undevelopable. I grew up in the Huron National Forest, and but for the substitution of deciduous trees for pine trees, it might as well have been home.
My husband and I met 15 years ago in Chicago. I'd gone to college there, and he'd moved there just after college. We shared a close and rowdy group of friends, and always ended up at the same parties (and sometimes ended up together afterwards, as often happens in such a group of friends). Both of us probably seemed urbanites, through and through. Neither of us really were, though.
A few years ago, we finally realized that, after years of the odd hook-up here and there, we should probably give dating each other a real go. In the process, we discovered commonalities we never suspected. Now, staring down the barrel of 40, both of us are ready to return to something at once more wild and peaceful. The trees are in our blood, and we are finally home.
The thing is, though, you can't spend 20+ years in a city and not have it under your skin somewhere, sunk deep into your pores and coursing through your synapses. Chicago, and more specifically, our friends in Chicago, are also "home," and we miss them a great deal. Some days, I imagine that it is only an hour or so drive away, and that I could call up a few of them and say, "Hey, why don't you come over tonight and sit out on the deck with us."
We are all of these things: people of the woods, people of the ravine, people of the city. We are people without a large group of friends in Kentucky, and people with a large group of friends in Chicago. We are people who love the taquerias and falafel joints of Rogers Park, and the people who love the flap of the blue herons on Lake Santee.
Most of all, we are people who love being together, and who know that home is where you make it (and all that claptrap that seems bullshit until you really sit down and think about how it applies to your life). We've been a bit kicked around by life lately, and we both have demons to fight, but we also have a little space in this world that is ours, and that feels just right. And eventually, we will have friends in Kentucky to sit here with us, and occasionally, our friends from Chicago will come and sit here with us, as well.
And all will be well.