Where I Live Is Now My Home

Kari wrote a thought-provoking piece about how you can’t visit a place and truly know it.

When Tanya Davis opened the show we saw on [Prince Edward Island], her first song was focused on the beauty she sees and loves around the Island. The line I quoted in the title of this post stood out to me: You have to stay in a place through all the seasons to appreciate everything that it is. I think PEI is a wonderful place to visit, but she is right: I only know a part of it.

I have moved around a lot in my life. Dad was Air Force, so we were itinerant. After that, I continued the move-every-four, living four years in East Central Mississippi before two years in Columbus and then moving to Huntsville for college. Somewhere along the way, though, inertia set in. Actually, that’s not fair. Huntsville was the first place that I chose to live. I had my choice of colleges, and I chose here. I don’t exactly love living in the American South, what with its generalized disdain for erudition, but I’ve lived down here since 1991 and can’t really disclaim it anymore, can I?

My new job is in a virtual office, which means that I could do it from anywhere with an Internet connection. Even though I now have a choice, I have never thought seriously about moving from here. I would lose touch with a lot of really close friendships that I’ve made, most of them since my college days were done. [“They” say you make a lot of life-long friendships in college, and I have a few of those, but more of mine are from my MSMS days and then my post-college days.] I would move away from my alma mater, with its hockey program that I have dedicated a lot of resources to making known. Unless I moved to Nashville, I’d probably be farther from it, which would diminish my ability to see as many concerts as I’d like.

Finally, though, I realize that I’ve put down roots here because I bought a house here five years ago. I had held off on it for three years after college, not being sure that I’d be here semi-permanently. Being here five years means that I’ve lived in this dwelling longer than just one other place in my life: our home in Ohio. It’ll be a weird day in 2013 when I realize that I’ve been in this house longer than I’d been in that one.

I love the Huntsville area for a lot of reasons, but I believe that the main one is because I really know it, which is of course Kari’s original point. I know that it can be ridiculously hot here in the summertime: right now, we’re in a stretch of high-90’s F days with heat indexes well above 105F. The winters here are mild—actually, too mild for my liking. I love fall and spring, though. I love that there are two main thoroughfares, and that if you can find your way to one or the other, you can find your way home regardless of where you are in the area. I love that we have a huge replica Saturn V right alongside the Interstate. I love that this town helped to put a man on the Moon. I love that you can’t swing a dead cat in this town without hitting some kind of engineer. I love drives into the Appalachian foothills along the Cumberland Plateau.

I may eventually move away from this area, but it will always feel like home for me. I only have one other place like that in my life, and even southwest Ohio feels a little less like home every year.