There’s no place like what used to be home

Today is May 1, 2015. Almost exactly two years ago, my life took a turn that would place me here, on a sunny Arkansas day, a tourist in the place I used to call home. 

Those were emotional days. As were the days, almost 6 months later, when I packed up my life, my dog, and my mom, and headed east toward a new place. 

I wasn’t sure what it would be like, coming back. 

I live in Boston now, so to have spent two days driving myself around is one of the more basic differences between my life here and there. Driving. It is weird to control my own transit schedule. 

One purely meteorological difference is that it’s spring here. Glorious, blue-sky, neon-trees spring. My perpetually chilled Yankee body is delighted and hopeful I might bring some of this warmth back with me. 

I wonder what it means that one of my first thoughts after arrival was -I’ve got to get a pedicure…can’t have shoddy toes around here. 

Followed by: I hope I didn’t pack all dark-colored clothes! 

Last night I saw a touring Broadway musical I couldn’t have afforded to see in Boston. Same show, but more leg room and comfier chairs. I just wandered through an embarrassment of wonderful art, that I saw for free…Picasso, Rothko, O’Keefe, etc. Tomorrow I’ll see Wendy Whelan dance. Anyone who thinks cities are the only place for culture…come here. 

The drawls seem more pronounced than I remember. 

The smiles of strangers come much quicker here. 

It’s weird to be here without Sadie. 

I went to my old theater, and only once had to remind myself that it wasn’t my job anymore to ask patrons how they liked the show. 

I feel like a tourist. I feel nothing but delight at all the familiar places, but I also don’t feel like I live here anymore. Perhaps that’s because I had a long time to say goodbye, or that I love my new city so much. 

And I think the biggest realization so far is that for the rest of my life, Arkansas is not going to be about places. It’s going be about the people, the wonderful folks I’m getting to see during this visit. It’s appropriate, I think, that I’m sitting here whiling away some time before I see another wave of them. There’s not much left for me to visit here that isn’t human. And that’s pretty awesome. 

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