Have you ever experienced the feeling of being not-quite-home?
I’ve been in this place a lot, at the intersection of one life and the next.
Where the place I am doesn’t feel familiar enough, but the place I’ve left feels just as strange.
It’s been more than six months since I packed up my world and moved to Boulder. Vermont doesn’t sound like home anymore. I’m too happy here, more fulfilled, more challenged than I ever was back there.
At the same time, Boulder doesn’t feel like home yet, either. I step through my routine of sleep, coffee, work, run/bike/hike, repeat. Write a little. Read a little. Call my mother. Send love notes to my friends.
And yet, Boulder isn’t quite home yet.
The landscape (dry, even after weeks of rain) is so foreign to me. The flora (sequoia pines that smell like butterscotch when you press your nose against their bark, sage growing wild by the trail). The fauna (rattlesnakes, mountain lions, magpies).
I hike and sit on the rocks, slowing turning bright red from sunburn, looking out over the plains with something akin to confusion. Then, I turn my back and look west toward the mountains, bravely white-capped against the warming world.
In the city I make small talk at the coffee bar. I bike along the creek to and from work. The living is easy here. Easier, I think, than what I’m used to. Even having a food allergy is impossibly easy. “I have a soy allergy–“ “Oh, we don’t use soy in this restaurant.” “What? No soy in anything? Not even the chocolate cake?” “That’s right.” “Give me six of the chocolate cake, then!”
I learned to make Cuban coffee in a moka pot, although I use less than half the normal amount of sugar. I learned, too, how to stuff herbed butter under the skin of a Cornish Game Hen and how to trim climbing skins and how beautiful the Flatirons are when illuminated by alpenglow.
The beer’s not as good here. But the mixed drinks are much better.
I’ll make it back to Vermont next summer, I hope. Right now, I’m on my way to Baltimore for my cousin’s wedding and I wonder, I can’t help but wonder: what will it feel like to come… home?