Landscapes and Goodbyes

By: Rora

Aug 30 2010

Category: Japan

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I have spent the past few days letting my mind wander about what I could best describe as “blog tactics.” I want to take this project seriously (don’t get me wrong! not too seriously. Just dedicated, is more like it) but I feel bogged down with having to introduce myself or start on the right foot.

Many most of you know who I am, so I’ve decided that rather than stall and decide how to start, that I should just do it. Of course! So simple. And lately my mind has been filled with thoughts of place, and landscape, and change, and goodbyes, and all of the things one might expect, considering I am going away and all.

I am currently winding my way through the hills and valleys of central upstate New York, on a bus home after a bittersweet week visiting friends and family. Although I spent most of my formative years in Maine, New York is my family’s home base (the Albany area, to be exact). I feel deeply attached to both places. For as long as I can remember, a few times a year, my parents, brother and I braved the 8+ hour trek across New England to reunite with the rest of my extended family, and in doing so I have become intent on studying the differences between the landscape and architecture and details of the two places, becoming something of an expert in noticing things I can’t name.

A few things I have noticed: The hills in New York are softer and longer and feel larger. You can feel the ocean’s proximity in Maine, I believe, even when you’re an hours drive away. Maine is abundant (choked, really) with pine trees, while New York’s forests are lush and deciduous and many of the trees also host vines and moss. Maine air is cold at night, year round. Front porches look different, state by state, as do windows and garages. Subtle differences, yes, but ones that can spark a deep feeling in my heart.

Goodbyes, of course, feel impossible. One great piece of advice I have heard is “don’t worry, because when you come home everything will feel exactly the same as when you left.” While this may be true for the pond behind my grandparent’s house or the i95 bridge from Portsmouth to Maine, I’ve had a hard time convincing myself that truly everything will be the same, especially with people- how could it? This week gave several reminders of life’s capacity to flux, subtly and dramatically. Things change, often in an instant. I’m trying to cope with it as best I can.

While I know I am not contributing anything new to the dialogue on change, I am facing change in a new way for the first time. I have loved this small pocket of the earth ferociously, documented it as best I can photographically, and am doing the only thing one can do when they move across the world- hope for the best, prepare for the worst, pack my bags with nice memories and spend an adequate amount of time on Skype in the meantime.

One week to go!

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