I cried a little leaving Indiana. In a lot of ways it reminds me of home, a home that doesn’t really exist anymore. Grandma and Grandpa’s house just outside of town in Northwest Montana was sold to the business next door over ten years ago, after Grandma passed away and Grandpa moved in with my parents. And the city where I went to high school has grown and changed so much since I was in school, that only parts of it are still familiar.
As I drove from Indianapolis to Kokomo yesterday, I could have been driving through the rural parts of the Flathead Valley. The farmland stretched out to a horizon capped by low, gray clouds that could just as easily have been hiding a range of mountains as more corn fields cut down to stubble. If the corn had been wheat, it would have looked just like Montana.
The houses, too, were like the ones up North. Wood and especially brick siding declared there is no danger of earthquakes there. Visible foundations hint at basements, and still-green grass tells the story of rain that doesn’t make itself a stranger for half the year.
I’ve never felt at home in California, where cement slabs form the foundations, most of the yards are too small for gardens, and a garage--not the house--is the main façade you see from the road. Even though I’ve been here since 1981, it still feels temporary. California is where I live, where my kids and my friends are, but it’s not where my heart is. I’m not sure my heart knows where it belongs anymore.