It is surprising to fall in love with a place that was not yours from the beginning. You moved here for a summer, a winter, for a man, a woman, for a job. You never expected you’d stay.
You do the things that one does in this place. Go on the hikes, learn the cafes, the restaurants, visit the parks, the concerts, the museums. At first it is giddy, this place opening up for you. These flowers that are native to here, the warm smell of these trees by this creek, this snow comes early then autumn returns and the light slants golden but still new. Sometimes it is novel and exciting, sometimes it feels wrong. Winter should be different. It is different than the winter your body knows and you are exhilarated by it, then frustrated with it, but hold it lightly and at arm’s length because you are only here for now.
And then the flowers that are native to here. The smell of these trees by this creek. The snow. The slant. And your body remembers. You begin to learn how water moves in this place—the direction of the rivers and how they connect to other places. You know automatically where to turn to see if the moon is rising yet. How late the sky will continue to glow and where to watch for the constellations. There is Cygnus: rising over the same part of your home as last July.
The flowers that always bloom here this time of year—you know their names and when they are at their peak. These trees and the creek like every year. The first snow! That certain gold of the light that cues you to get out the sweaters. You learn the stories of the place, the history. You vote with its best interests in your heart. You defend it to people who come here who don’t know it and want to mock its quirks. Those are your quirks. Your favorite restaurant closes and it is like a little death.
Your body anticipates the flowers weeks before they bloom, and then they bloom. You realize they are the reason you sneeze this time of year but you don’t care. The trees. Creek. Snow. You arc to them. The light in the fall. Winter and all its anticipated pleasures and you can fight it or enjoy it—it will happen as it happens. This is how it is here. You learn about the geology of the place. The politics and prehistory. You wonder how deep this can go. And then you wonder how much you are willing to give to this place. And perhaps that’s the only question that matters.
The flowers bloom and they bloom and they bloom. Just like last year. And the year before that, and the one before that until the seasons are layered with sensory memories that become a kind of clock your body is tuned to. And you can exalt in it or wrestle with it, it doesn’t matter, we each love how we love.
Text by Amie Tulius in support of the NOWHERE project, with photo still from video by PerryLane Decker above.
The performance is this coming weekend on July 17 and 18 at Libby Gardner Hall. Get your tickets here.
AND, yes, it is true: Our friend and collaborator Adam Bateman is home, as seen here on the final stretch.