Ask All You Want, But I Don’t Have The Answer

Which way is home?

I thought about this while barreling up the East Coast toward New York’s Penn Station. Pebbly roads and snaking streams cut the surrounding landscape, like a post card from some old country store.

I was leaving home – or I was going home?

We passengers stared silently out of our individual windows, all of us likely trying to peg down a certain emotion.

Richmond, Ashland, Fredericksburg

… the train continued north as winter’s hesitantly sunny skies kissed any remaining flecks of red and orange in the barren treetops.

With each year I live in New York, it becomes more difficult to imagine residing anywhere else. The addiction of city life is all encompassing; that ever-present spark in the night air, the endless possibilities each hour might bring, the hoards of people you’ve yet to meet, touch, know….

But oh, how easy it is to be home (which, in this case, I’m defining as that familiar place harboring your most distinct memories of childhood). The normalcy of life is comforting and triggers a specific type of relaxation unobtainable in any other environment.

Home has the smell of coffee in the mornings.
Kitchen stools, lined up in a row of three.
A Weezer CD left in your car since high school.
Dogs barking, cars parking,
That revolving side door of continual visitors.

These things are native.

But now, too, are the rooftops and subway stops of New York City.
Home has a crack in the pavement that you always trip over.
Bars you know, friends you meet.
Italian bagel guys who make you laugh.
People walking, cars honking,
That perpetual feeling you’re living, being, doing.

These things are native.

These things are home - that place where you were, and where you must go back.

With these oh-so insightful thoughts brought on by obvious train boredom, I decided stubbornly (if only at my own indecision) that I was, in fact, allowed to have two “homes.” Who doesn’t fancy a little juxtaposition anyway?

So you can keep asking me to pick one place over the other.
Ask all you want!

But I won't choose because, at least for now, I simply don't have the answer.
And I may never have one.

The great American railroad -- where, incidentally, my train was delayed due to a man on the tracks who was "armed and dangerous" outside of Philly. But, that's another blog post.