I’ve been out of the city for nine months now. Still, a day does not go by that I don’t miss it so much it almost hurts. I don’t consider myself very sentimental, but I can miss a place, a thing or a moment with the same intensity that one misses a lost love. A few years ago, when moving out of a Brooklyn apartment where I had spent many happy years, it felt like a divorce. I cried uncontrollably as I glanced back into the empty space and turned the lights off for the last time. Even though I was moving on to bigger, better quarters, it felt like a chapter in my life was closing and I wasn’t going to have another chance to go back and rewrite it.
We are fascinated by people’s homes, because a space is considered a manifestation of who we are. The same goes for the place in which we choose to live. Sometimes circumstance (or furnished rentals) can take us places we never intended to be, and what does that, then, do to our character? Do we absorb some of the qualities of this place and/or space that has been forced upon us or can we transcend it and keep our own identities?
I live in a very small town on the West Coast now. The total population probably equals that of the number of people that can fit onto the L-train at one time. There are no hip restaurants, no cupcake shops, and no pretentiously overpriced clothing stores. Children ride around my neighborhood on bikes unsupervised and nobody locks their doors. I’m surrounded by gorgeous mountains, flowers and trees and I go for a run amongst divinely scented orange orchards instead of on the Williamsburg Bridge, where car exhaust was the main olfactory experience. Despite this, I still feel like a city girl. I still wear impractical heels whenever I feel like it, but I can also open the back door and walk around the garden with bare feet whenever I want to.
It’s a total cliché, I know, but that sense of connectedness with nature and, ultimately, self is why we chose to leave the city for these greener pastures. Every morning, I sit outside and enjoy my herbal coffee under a majestic walnut tree that has just started to bloom. Everything is quiet, all I can hear are birds singing and the intense buzz of bees working away at those newly sprung buds on the tree, spreading life from plant to plant and giving us the possibility of enjoying life in this incredible place called Earth. The only place, I realize, I will truly miss if I had to leave.
We are all still writing the chapter about our time on Earth, let’s get rid of the typos, grammatical errors and bad storylines and make this one the best part of the story yet. We get many more Earth Days but only one Earth. I think we all agree that we never want to flip that light switch for the last time.
Photos from my Instagram. Follow me, I’m jbjork