Procrastinating as usual, I tried writing tonight a piece for an upcoming art show (with a deadline I can’t recall) I’ll submit to an artist whose task it is to illustrate my words. This woman, I’ve been told, has a thing for landscapes.
It was an excellent opportunity, I thought, to write about western New York State. It’s where I’m from and is, as far as I’m concerned, the naturally prettiest part of the US of A. It’s where picturesque landscapes were born.
But I’ll be damned if I could remember anything. I tried recalling the Native American-inspired names of roads and towns about the place and resorted to Google.
“Seriously?” I thought to myself. “I can’t remember the name of that road I used to drive up 50 times a week to go trout fishing in a creek?
“And when did I start calling a ‘crick’ a ‘creek?’”
My memory of the area has faded. Pictures have blurred, words have muted and smells have been replaced. I can no longer count the number of folks with whom I’ve lost contact.
But for a reason I may only describe as peculiar, I can recall vividly the look of a sunsetted horizon in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. I remember the smell of the ocean and still talk to folks I met in the Tarheel State.
And I hated that place. Or so I thought, anyway, on nights in college when I’d drank too much whiskey and missed my hometown. Back then, I remembered WNY – and have the blog entries to prove it. On one particular drunken evening, I even drafted this elegant, ultra-descriptive love letter to the place I’d intended to submit to the local paper but (thankfully) never did. It was nonsensical, if I can recall with any strand of accuracy.
That was six years and a child ago. It hardly seems that deep in my past. For a time, I was bound and determined to move “back home” so I could attend Bills and Sabres games regularly and send my child to school in a state that isn’t ranked 38th in public education. This faded. My child likes grits. I like grits. We both enjoy what seems like eight months of summer. And the smell of honeysuckle and magnolia? It can’t be topped. By anything.
(I also can’t forget my time near Raleigh, either … acres and acres of cotton – even tobacco – is a sight to behold.)
I proceeded with a piece on WNY because I know it’ll be something different at the show. It turned out I recalled the people most graphically, which makes sense given the way I am, and wrote accordingly, although my references to their landscapes were far from lacking in descriptiveness. As per usual, I’m sure I’ll win numerous awards and be featured on the local news.
But the prize I may value most for this effort is the very realization that going “home” might be easier than I once suspected. It’s possible that I am home. It’s possible I’m not miserable here. It’s possible I am exactly where life has told me to go.