about bliss

Saturday, August 23, 2008

both sides now

I love Lake Michigan, that gleaming body of water rimmed with towering dunes, rocky beaches, rolling dairyland, and magical vistas. I suppose I'm lucky to say that I've lived on both sides now, and I never want to become accustomed to the sublimity of life by the Lake. But when it comes time to leave this side of the Lake for the other, my heart is heavy, my soul deflated, and my mind anxious.

Maybe if I think of the Lake itself as my home, the distance between two of my home places--my childhood home and my present home--will disappear, and home will again be one. Add my "third place" (a concept I promise to explore in some depth later) and the Lake seems even more my home (that is, forgetting my time south of the Mason-Dixon line, a time in which my Lake ties were stretched thin).

Gretel Ehrlich, an insightful nature writer, writes that home is many places. I believe Thomas Wolfe wrote that you can never go home. The mnemonic HOMES helps kids memorize the Great Lakes. Home is more of a state of mind, but cannot be entirely divorced from place--geographical, literal, on the map place.

Lake Michigan. Home. My Place. My primary residence amongst many HOMES. Whether here or there, then, I'm always already home.

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