Every once in a while I get a taste for the New England life. I fantasize about quaint rural towns with a strong history and neatly formed stonewalls. I dream about building a yurt in the woods or buying a big colonial house and calling it a “center for hospitality”. I always imagine the beach in my dreams, the calm presence of the waves, the way my skin feels in the air, and the seagull poop on my car. In this New England life of mine I drive on the back roads at night, pick up frogs in the rain and make random stops to take pictures of nature. Sometimes I just take deep breaths and remind myself that life is pretty good. I read books about simplicity and spirituality as I sip my tea in the morning and I push my eggs around in the skillet thinking that this will last me through the morning hike before I stop for lunch. In these little moments of thinking about the possibility of having a New England life, I imagine myself as a writer carefully collecting stories and precious moments to put on paper. Sometimes I sit in the town diner to connect to humanity, knowing that my dog and cat just aren’t cutting it. I have a favorite place at a creek that I go to often, I work on my fly fishing technique (currently non-existent) and wonder about heating my place up for the winter. Sometimes in this life of mine I escape to the city (I’m not sure which one) to watch a movie, buy some books and music and get a few treats to hold me over. I catch up with a few old friends, but my real home is somewhere in the thick of it all, tucked away.
The reality is, this dream is a collection of memories, of moments I have already lived in some way. They are the “bests”, the pieces I miss in the chaos of this Midwestern, not quite so east way of living. Even in Chicago, I remember the ocean as I go to sleep, and think that even if a grid system helps people navigate a city, I still like the winding roads of back home.