The house and yard that I grew up in had trees encircling it. We couldn't look out one window and not see trees staring back at us. Behind our house, there was miles of trees and hills. I would step out of yard to find the beginning of a sprawling valley and on the other side, the hills hid the horizon. That is where I have felt most home in nature. During my teen years, I would find myself sitting on top of my father's combine to scribble in my journal as the sun set behind the hills, my cat rolling around in the dirt field below, and the rattle of leaves as the background music. I felt trapped between worlds.
I moved to Fargo in 2000 after I decided the National Guard wasn't for me and that pursuing an English degree would further my dream. There, trees grew along the river and downtown had the sprawling parks and little hills. I didn't like downtown since the driving was confusing, so I lived in the middle of apartment complexes and retail stores. The trees were just planted, small and tethered to the ground. I settled for them, and grassy playgrounds. My college did have beautiful trees that gave me a sense of peace and sometimes I would sit under them to read and write poetry.
We bought a home last year, and we moved into the downtown neighborhood. We are blocks away from three large parks, a block away from hills, and surrounded by mature trees. I look out my window, and I give sighs of relief. This feels more like home, and it is a good feeling now that my childhood home will be more of the past than anything.
My parents will be moving to their lake house in two months. They sold their home in my little hometown and Easter will be our last holiday there. It is strange to think in two weeks that I will be pretty much closing the door permanently on the place that I still refer to as "home". A lot of good and bad things happened where I grew up, but the comfort of nature never wavered. It is almost like my own imaginery place I can go to and I always felt safe. It, really, is the setting for my first novel, "Beyond the Garden" with a few changes. It is a place that I know that I can never leave behind, but I can never truly go back as I once tried.
It seems fitting that this moment comes almost 10 years exactly after I move away. It feels strange that I will have no place to go when I attend my high school reunion (if I attend), that my toys now sit in my own garage, and that my parents will be leaving the area they grew up in. It gives chance to the future, but maybe I am overthinking it so I ignore the word "good-bye".