written July 8, 2011
The majority of my Fourth was dedicated to getting ready for my new roommate: cleaning, making sure everything went smoothly, and helping with the actual move-in. When it was all said and done we went out to celebrate with a few friends. I think it’s going to be a great fit with Doug. I also found some time on Saturday to unwind and get away with an afternoon hike at Pere Marquette, a state park along the Illinois River north of Alton. More domesticity this weekend in order to finish books on autism and John Dewey.
I hadn’t thought of the park in quite that way before, but very true. With the readers and painters scattered about it reminds me of the city hills of Athens where the artists would gather. I get that sense of nature-commune when I bike through the open country or some shady stretches of woods. As a person finally wrapping up my own “lived other places” phase and cognizant that however much I like Edwardsville it is impermanent, I like how you called where you are “home,” reading it as a sense of contentment.
There is a quote that goes something like, “You don’t know your home until you leave it.” It popped in my head when thinking of how to swiftly summarize my own journey, from a tiny rural town onward to a bit a global gallivanting. I wouldn’t trade my experiences because they simultaneously shrunk and expanded my definition of the world: sampling haggis and finding it delectable, being greeted enthusiastically by crowds of Russians, and helping build a school in Ghana definitely was worth the price of naval admission. Another gift has been an appreciation of the simple, like reading under a tree on a nice day or the independence of cooking for myself.
The hardest part of changing my routine was simply saying “let’s start,” and the rest has been fun (less fun admittedly at times at five in the morning…). Mostly it’s because I’ve made it a lifestyle where the benefits have come with patience. While I have to hunt for another new twist on chicken I have to concede it tastes better than the alternates. Of my goals, I have reached my fitness from a few years ago and have more energy, but my goal is also to never be done.