Reader Elizabeth just posted a beautiful, poetic reflection in the “Long Loneliness” thread:
But another sort of community feeling comes from having absorbed the culture and natural patterns of a place. I am Minnesotan to the bone. It isn’t due to family, though all my cousins on one side are in the area.
I’m pushing 60, have raised a child who feels Minnesotan to the bone who has a girlfriend who is Midwestern to the bone. But I don’t understand it. I adore the coasts, find mountains and tropical landscapes heartbreakingly beautiful, would love to avoid months of only 8 hours of daylight, when it is impossible to be truly warm. And yet. And yet. The bracing smell of winter migrating on Canadian winds, the giddiness from smelling thawing leaf mould in spring, the sentimental haze over the sunniest autumn days and the emotional caves we all retreat to in winter continue to thrill.
I. Can’t. Leave.
Strange as these people are, I am of them and they of me.
I would love to hear from readers who do not live where they were raised, but who, like Elizabeth, have so absorbed the culture and natural patterns of a place that they feel totally at home there. Tell us what that’s like. Tell us what you love about your place.
Today is the first day we’ve had in eastern Pennsylvania that has felt truly autumnal. It was wonderful to be at the farmer’s market today. The local apples are starting to come in. I bought two giant bags of Mutsus, Staymans, Jonagolds, and Fujis. If you’ve never had a locally grown apple, you’ve never really eaten apple. Seriously, I had my first local apple in 1988, when I was living that autumn in Washington, DC, on an internship. I bought some Virginia-grown apples at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill, and was taken aback by how flavorful they were. I had grown up on supermarket apples, and never much cared for apples because they were bland. Those Virginia apples knocked me flat, though. Years later, it was glorious to go with my wife to the Union Square farmer’s market in Manhattan and stock up on New York state apples. We made apple butter that first year we were married and living in New York. And now we’re able to enjoy Pennsylvania apples. Autumn is my favorite season, and because I’ve lived off and on in the mid-Atlantic for over a decade, I’ve come to associate the taste of fresh local apples with this time of year. And I shall miss it very much.