Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Going back again

I've now lived in one place longer than anywhere I ever have as an adult (7.5 years). The rest of my life, from age 18 to just  a few years ago, consisted of floating across the country, trying a place out, and moving on. I lived in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, New Mexico, Washington, Michigan, California, Idaho,  Nevada, Oregon (twice), and Alaska. They were all pretty good (Well, Pennsylvania wasn't that great) but I felt like I wanted to see what else was out there.

I've gone back to some of those places and big surprise, it wasn't the same. Good, but not the same. Being a visitor is a lot different than being part of the fabric of a place.

I  spent a lot of time at the Bowery Guard Station when I was a wilderness ranger.
The Sierra! My home for two summers

Florida, still beautiful,  but (except for this beach) so crowded! So much more pavement! It was sad.

Idaho, also still beautiful! But probably too much of a winter for me anymore.




I found out last week that I'm going back to Alaska for work. Not moving, just for a week. Going back to a place I've lived, I've figured out, is always kind of strange. The friends have moved on. The rain is much more annoying than it ever was. The tourists, so many! Even the scenery has changed, wildfires changing the landscape, new trophy homes dotting the hillside. Nothing ever stays the same, and I haven't either. Talking on a conference call with my old co-worker, AM, about my project was weird. We used to be teammates on the ranger boat, toting guns in the field. I'm not that same person anymore.

a "Fort Wench" in Michigan
I could be sad about this, and think about all the years that have gone by, never to be reclaimed. More years are in the past now than will be in the future (at least I hope so. Who wants to be that old?) But instead the overwhelming feeling I have looking back is gratefulness that I lived in such spectacular places. Even though friends who wisely stayed in one place and got permanent jobs at 21 can retire way, way sooner than I ever can, I wouldn't trade with them, most days. I have made all the right choices, I think.

My former co-worker AM in a survival suit, looking over Dry Pass.
Ever go back to a place you lived? Was it different?

20 comments:

  1. My first 10 years were spent in a small rural community. There was no electricity, dirt roads and in my first year of school, I rode a horse 3 miles to school. I love to return as often as possible [ manage twice a year] and the 2 hour drive down after rain, is just glorious.
    I've lived in 5 other towns in my state of Queensland, but don't go back.
    I love your selection of photos, especially the wrench!

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    1. Haha! That sounds like an amazing place.

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  3. Sorry to hear you're moving away from Oregon. I'd always wanted to go visit your corner of our state and meet you. Sigh...I shouldn't have waited! Best of luck in your move and look forward to hearing about your adventures in Alaska.

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    1. Oh no, no, I am not moving! Just going back for a work project for a week! I'd better edit this so it doesn't come off that way.

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    2. Glad to hear you're not moving....now I feel foolish for thinking that. :) Guess I'd better plan that trip, huh?

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    3. It was ambiguously worded, don't feel foolish!

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  4. Love hearing about the places you've been....all those, even if you never go back, are part of who you are. You have lived in amazing places, far more than most of us ever will....lovely photos. "Fort Wench" ---smile.

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  5. I did go back once to the neighborhood in the Southern town where I was born and lived for over a decade. Much had changed, including development and traffic, though the house and steps where we played "rock school" were the same.

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  6. I've never lived outside of my hometown. The 3 neighborhoods not more than 7 miles apart. I've only lived in 4 different houses. The shortest time in a house was 3 yrs. I drive thru my old neighborhoods at least once every couple of weeks. Would I live in either one again? NO WAY! They are both pretty rough parts of town now. Only drawback to only living here is not being able to b experience life outside of "my box". You've been fortunate to have been able to experience life like you have.

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    1. The grass can always be greener! Staying in one place means lifelong friends.

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  7. Going back to some place you've lived can be very strange. When R went back to school in Pocatello years after we had lived there raising the kids while he was getting his master's degree it took quite a while to get used to being there. I think there are ghosts of memories especially when your previous time there was really joyful and you have lots of memories that are only ever going to be just that now, something about raising kids I guess. And then there are the places you grew up which won't ever be the same. When there was the big fire in Four Mile Canyon a number of years ago I researched it for a Fire case study for a class and was very dismayed to discover how incredibly developed that whole area had become. I won't ever go there in person to see it, it would be too heartbreaking.

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    1. I went back to Stanley awhile back and it still feels the same except for so many new trophy homes near town. And also the beetle kill on the mountains is so terrible.

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  8. We inevitably go back to a lot of places we've lived because of all the road tripping we do. It sometimes feels strange--like a peek into a former life--and other times it feels like coming home. I think the changes in these places feel natural to me because my whole life is dynamic daily! I do have to say I like when I still have friends living there ... it makes it less awkward.

    We are going to Phoenix this summer and that will be very interesting. I lived there 2000-2004 when I was fresh out of college and just started dating J. Feels like a completely different life. We still have a lot of friends there, but I'm expecting it to be so weird!!!!!!

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    1. Phoenix in the summer! I have to agree about friends although I don't keep up with them as much as I should.

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  9. PS - This is random, but I just noticed a link on your page for Hermit's Hut! We are going to speak there (or at the local rock climbing gym--working this out with the owner) this summer. You'll have to give us tips for the area and why you love that store so much!

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    1. That was something from a long time ago..they invited me to put it on my blog and if someone clicked through I'd get something? Credit maybe? I guess nobody ever did! I should take it off.

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  10. Such a amazing place it is, would love to go and spent my days there.
    luton airport valet parking

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