Sometimes you really don’t know what you have had until it’s 6800 miles and 13 time zones away.
Thanks to jet lag, I’ve been wide awake at 5:30 or 6 am every morning since I’ve been home. The weather so far has been outstanding, so I’ve been itching to get out and down to the water as early as possible, while it’s still relatively quiet. I have lived many places and spent plenty of time away from this place, but this time, I am blown away. Blame it on Seoul’s concrete maze and impersonal behemoth skyscrapers, but I’ve never seen this town with these eyes.
In college, I started bringing friends home to Rockport from our small college in Boston, strays from Texas and Ohio and Michigan who weren’t making the long trip home for holidays. I knew my town was special and I liked to show it off, but I still didn’t quite get it. As a kid, I had longed to live in an apartment (?) or better yet, a cul-de-sac. It seemed so American. Rockport always felt old-fashioned and antiquated, with its creaky floorboards and pristine gardens. Oh, to ride in an elevator or have wall-to-wall carpeting!
Now I live in an apartment on the 12th floor and ride in an elevator everyday and let me tell you, I would kill for creaky floorboards and a garden anywhere in a 10-block radius. Walking around on Tuesday morning, I was knocked out by all the flowers in every front yard, hydrangeas of every color in full bloom, and a million other species I couldn’t begin to identify. People actually live in these houses. I actually lived in these houses. Hello’s and Good Morning’s are exchanged when passing one another on the street. Pick up a coffee or walk the dog and you are bound to run into 10 people you know. It’s true. It’s a fricken ridiculous, sickeningly cute, Mayberry sort of affair.
This morning, I was out the door in running shoes at 5:59 am. I ran my old route, down to the footpath at Old Garden Beach and along the bluff high above the ocean. I passed a handful of joggers, including my Mom and her friend Judy on their morning walk. I ran into three wild turkeys causing a minor traffic jam along South Street. I watched the sun slowly rising over the water. And I remembered why I never liked running to music. When it’s just you and the ocean and the birds and the wind in the trees, Wilco has absolutely nothing on that.