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?