The greatest mystery

Sacred swimming spot

Since moving back to the East Coast, I have been slowly but surely reconnecting with people from my past, mainly through email and posting on Facebook but also with real life encounters. Perhaps, this was one justification on the part of the universe for providing me with an opportunity to return to the region of my childhood.

I’ve written about my skepticism in my ability and desire to rid myself of Eastern culture-the frenetic Massachusetts East, which is decidedly less Zen than the former.

After having spent so many years making figure eights around the globe and avoiding my past, I finally opted to return when given a job opportunity that seemed like a more sustainable option then remaining at my job in Alaska.

While the beginning transition was rough to say the least, I have grown to love being where I am and to feel like this is exactly where I am meant to be right here, right now. It may take a bit of imagination to find the wildness that was so apparent from every corner of my community in Gustavus, but it is here in Lowell if I pay close attention to the world around me.

walden pond nov 2012

Every morning, I greet the plants and animals that share the neighborhood with me. One of my favorite neighbors are the pigeons of the corner of Dutton and Market Street. They dance in the air and travel back and forth between the old, brick buildings. They perch on the canal walls. They leave beautiful feathers for me on the sidewalk. There is one white pigeon who behaves in a way that is reminiscent of my favorite rooster, Samwise, from my home in Washington state. He is quite the stud! Each time he flies, all the ladies follow.

The squirrels are also quite wild, though in a way that is unique to Lowell, I imagine. I call them tiny ninjas. When I climbed the stairs to my apartment one afternoon this past summer, a squirrel leaped from the balcony to a tenuous perch gripping these screen of my kitchen window. I approached slowly, and it jumped from the window to the stair banister. It remained at this perch for less than a minute before launching itself from the banister down to the second floor deck disappearing from sight.

My human neighbors can be equally wild, a trait which I have observed in every place I have lived. I am certainly no exception. Here in Lowell, I have witnessed some pretty strange behavior. One of the most odd has been watching men taking inanimate objects for walks in baby strollers.

Walden pinecones

As I said, I know that I am equally, if not more, strange than most. Of the men and women I grew up with, I was one of the few who quit the East Coast, imagining that it was for good. I never understood why people from home—my East Coast home, that is—would fly thousands of miles each year to go home for multiple holidays and visits. I was happy for my family to come and visit me in my new community, wherever it was at the time, but I had little desire to return to a place I felt I had left behind and let go of.

So this non-traditional, nonlinear path that has taken me back home has come as a surprise to me. Even more surprising has been my own system’s response to the homecoming. I love living near familiar places and people. I love my job and the creative voice that I am continuing to learn to express. I am even growing to love Lowell, a place that many people outside of this community wrinkle their nose at.

Sunset over Walden Pond

And so, as yet another year is swiftly drawing to a close, I am thankful for the unexpected, beautiful gifts I have received and the people—old and new—who I have met and reconnected with along the way.

I can only imagine where I will be this time next year. For now, I will concentrate on being present where I am and let the rest remain a mystery.


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