It always feels strange to say that I am "going home," meaning back to VA, when I am down in Ft. Lauderdale at my mom's house. Is Florida still supposed to be my home? It's easy to think so after driving by places that bring up memories from 10 and 15 years back, and realizing that I still know how to get everywhere, while I still need a GPS no matter the endpoint here in VA. Of course, back then, memorizing how to get somewhere was the only way to get there.
|Ft. Lauderdale by Andy Royston|
Florida proved to be a nostalgic wonderland this time around - a decidedly rare feeling as I couldn't wait to escape that hot swamp for the larger part of my life. I used to dream of snow, and seasons, and scarf weather as a child. But, finally feeling like I have a life here in Virginia brings out the sweetness of my former home.
When I first moved away, everything was shaky, everything was hard, nothing made sense, I didn't know where I was going - only that I had to keep moving forward - and going back home felt like taking a step back. I didn't want to disrupt my 'new' life. It was like being interrupted for dinner in the middle of a big project. Yes, it's fine and good, but I was just about to make a breakthrough. I think.
At this point, though, going to Florida was a welcomed break. A true vacation. I finally felt like a tourist instead of a resident. William and I played like little kids (what else is new) on the same rafts and floaties that I had as a kid, sloshing and swimming in the uncharacteristically rough waters. Florida in summer is a ghost town, so the beach was all our own, day or night.
A memory that is surely to cause those wistful pangs of nostalgia in the years to come was when, on Saturday night, we decided to head back to the beach around 8pm. It wasn't all the way dark yet, but the sun was going down and the resort lights on the shore, paired with the ship's lights on the horizon made for a night of almost cinematic perfection. The water was as warm as a bath, there were stars overhead, and no company except for gulls, and the salty air was just as cozy as the ocean. It's always when surrounded by nature, by the things most real, that I feel most like I am in a dream.
|Ft. Lauderdale - Andy Royston|
Florida was the last hurrah of the summer's travels. Now it is time to get back in the swing of things. Back to teaching, getting packed up to move, continuing with my daily hooping, and figuring out the next step.
I am excited about the future, but it was beautiful to drop in at 'home' and remember the past with a softer lens than my 16, 19, or 21 year-old self ever did. It is a calming to remember all the past confusion that I got through, and that we all get through, just fine. It lets me know that I can do it again.