Monday, September 30, 2013

Coastal Ambiguity

I'll always be an East Coaster who's heart is pulled by the smell of fresh cut hay and cow manure, the thought of a steamy sugar house or a crisp autumn day filled with the fiery color of changing leaves.  I don't know what it is about growing up in New England that at once makes us so nostalgic for the simpler life of rural self-sufficiency, but at the same time lights a fire for the passion of a far flung adventure.  Every so often I wander home and find myself torn between these sentiments, and as I grow older, I may not become wiser, but I certainly do gain the perspective of time, place, and experience to better understand these two sides of my personality.  While this struggle has existed in me to some degree always, it's when I return home that I consider it most often.  The East versus West discussion can take on many forms; migration, motivation, mindset.  Ultimately it's about where we come from, and where we want to go, parts of ourselves that we can't escape or deny.

I started writing this piece when we were still back in New England, but it's been with me for some time before that.  I'm back west now, and it's even more apparent how different things truly are.  Weather or not you grew up on the east coast we're all a part of this discussion, we all came west at some time, unless you're one of the people from whom we took this land, and unfortunately that's equally as true in the east.  The decision to move west is written into the blood and history of being an American, and that's true even if you feel comfortable staying put at home on the east coast.  Traveling west is part of our individual and collective manifest destiny; experiencing freedom, independence and generally being unbound.  What does it mean to you, to live where you do, to travel in one direction or another, does your home call you or is it exploration you seek?