Monday, August 13, 2007

personal geography

We're back from vaca in the North Woods. It was a good week. My head has been swimming for the last 10 days with this post ... so I will try and make it short.

My friend Ashley worked with inner city kids when she was in grad school at Yale. They had the kids map their lives. And they meant for them to do it quite literally. Map the inside of your house, your walk to school, your drive to your grandma's house, etc. What she told me was fascinating. Most of the kid's maps were very small. And by the size of the map they could tell if there had been abuse or if the kid would make it out of their circumstances easily.

My sister-in-law talks about her home town in her blog and how it has shaped her today.

I say all of this in thinking about my personal map and T's personal map. I think that where we grow up molds us in so many more ways than we realize. T misses the Midwest. So much that it hurts. He misses the water. And the familiarity of the city. The perfectly laid out streets that make sense if you get lost. He misses the drive up to the far corners of Wisconsin.

I like Chicago but I feel like I am missing something as I drive the flat roads that are laid out so symmetrically. I miss being physically held by the hills of my youth. The gigantic green trees that cover the city like a blanket (if you go to Google maps, it is sometimes hard to find a house in Atlanta with the satellite view because of tree cover). I miss the roads that curve around the city like a river ... only making sense to those that have lived there their whole lives.

All of these things make us feel safe. And at home.

My dad's family is from Colorado. My grandparents met here. I wonder how much of this "safety from place" can be passed down. They saw the mountains everyday. And the vast expanse of plains, golden almost year round. They dealt with the snow blowing across the roads like pictures from the dust bowl. I love these things even though I didn't grow up with them. Did they feel safety from the mountains, holding them to their home? Did their rivers become my Peachtree Road?

I don't know the answers.

I want to find a place where both T and I feel at home. It could be here in Colorado. Or closer to some mountain lake (wouldn't that be sweet!). Or back in the Midwest, at the bottom of one of the three hills in Chicago.

1 comment:

Towles said...

Jupe - this is beautiful.