Saturday, June 12, 2010

goodbye new york

Today is my last full day in New York City. Tomorrow I'm going to Boston for a few days, then I come back on Wednesday and leave again early the next morning for Baltimore. I get back from Baltimore on Monday and then fly home Tuesday morning. It's sure to be quite the week, especially with the 22 hours of travel time I'm set to endure.

So how did I spend my last day in New York City? I refused to leave my apartment. I watched a World Cup game, did laundry, packed, ate, and watched episodes of Merlin and the new Doctor Who. I might go out in a little while to get ice cream and say goodbye to this city, but who knows. I feel no remorse for staying in today. I rather enjoyed my time alone, and I had a hell of a time sleeping last night so I just wasn't feeling up for the fight that is going out into the city.

Yesterday was the perfect way to end my time here. I spent most of the day laying out in the sun at the beach, then I went and saw a CocoRosie concert that was pretty amazing. I seriously had to recover from it all today before I go to Boston. I have some great pictures from those two activities, but I seem to have lost my camera cord and so I can't upload them right now, but I will when I get back to Utah.

I'm not sad about leaving, but I feel bad that I don't feel more sad. Granted, I only spent about two months in New York, but that love/hate relationship with this place has stayed pretty balanced, and I'm excited to go back home. I think I have a better understanding of what home means now, and I'm glad that I have been fortunate enough to grow up attached to a certain piece of land called Utah, to have roots in a place. I recently finished reading The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, a thoroughly depressing novel, and one that left me weeping, but there was one passage near the end that struck me and made me feel extremely grateful that I have a home to go back to.
That was the feeling that possessed her now--the feeling of being something rootless and ephemeral, mere spendthrift on the whirling surface of existence, without anything to which the poor little tentacles of self could cling before the awful flood submerged them. And as she looked back she saw that there had never been a time when she had had any real relation to life. Her parents too had been rootless, blown hither and thither on ever wind of fashion, without any personal existence to shelter them from its shifting gusts. She herself had grown up without any one spot of earth being dearer to her than another: there was no centre of early pieties, of grave endearing traditions, to which her heart could revert and from which it could draw strength for itself and tenderness for others.
This I felt was the saddest moment of the book, and where I started weeping. Unlike Lily Bart, I had grown up with a spot of earth being dearer to me than another. I have roots, and I plan on establishing a place where my children feel that they have roots. This is a point I have actually thought about for years, since I read Wendell Berry's The Unsettling of American: Culture and Agriculture where he talked about the importance of being tied to the land, and how our American nomadism is actually harmful to us. I think there can be a balance. I love to travel and to see different places and sometimes I wish one place or another could be my home, but it's not. As dumb as people might think it is, I am pulled back to Utah because it houses my dearest memories, it was the "centre of early pieties, of grave endearing traditions to which [my] heart could revert and from which it could draw strength for itself and tenderness for others." It's true, and I don't think many people deeply understand this principle unless they had a very special piece of land which they could call home. I know that my experiences growing up on a ranch shaped who I am, living so closely to a beautiful piece of earth gave me balance and established my moral center.

And so I'm excited to go back to my homeland, and I'm extremely happy that I've been able to spend this time here. I needed it. And I plan on coming back soon because I've met amazing people and established what could be long lasting friendships. I guess in a weird way I've set down roots here to which I can return. I've become acquainted with a remarkable city, and I'm lucky I had the opportunity to do so.

So, goodbye to you New York and your trash, your loud and obnoxious people, awful smells, and oppressive heat. And goodbye to your wonderful food, your museums, the beautiful Central Park, and the kind and remarkable people who call you home. This was fun, but I gotta go back home now. I have family, friends, pets, mountain thunderstorms, sunsets, fishing, swimming at Mona, my car, and cheap delicious Mexican food waiting for me back in Utah.