Twas a bittersweet weekend. Yes, I knew that Teton Valley, Idaho, resonated with me more than any other location has. From San Diego to Michigan, Alaska to Boston, leaving one place for the next simply indicated it was time for the next adventure, opportunity, or poor decision.
I didn’t realize how deeply that valley had seeped into my soul, at the risk of sounding cliché, and the melancholy of knowing that my husband can’t pursue his dreams as a water- and natural resources- conflict mediator there. I used to joke that if I wasn’t chained to that husband of mine … But then my sister and close friends told me it wasn’t funny.
How naïvely I left. Nothing connects you with a population more than working as a reporter for the local newspaper. And I’ve found no community more delightful and fulfilling to connect with. But I was 25. I didn’t realize that the media industry as I knew it would complete it’s topple, and I’d be left in the rubble questioning my purpose, role in community, and talent. I’m “going for it” during the rebuild phase. I didn’t realize I’d miss it as much as I do, and that it would become so unattainable later on.
It had been three years since I packed up my truck and headed Portland-ho with my boyfriend at the time (now husband). And I’ve tried to bloom in several other locales. Portland (big Franzia-filled flop of rejection from the jobs I even had “resigned” myself to apply for), Aspen (a riotously-fun and unsustainable time working for the Aspen Times), and then to Golden, Colo., where I lost my soul in the corporate world (Read, my Meat Marketing Dispatches) and am “fakin’ it ‘till I’m makin’ it” as a freelance writer/journalist.
Truth be told, I was a little scared to return. When a community becomes a magical gloried past, you have to expect to be disappointed on the first visit back. Thing was, I wasn’t. The sense of community, seeing people I hadn’t thought of in years but remembered their names and details about them, and likewise for me. Nowhere I’ve felt I belonged so. I know I’m still young, but what if I never find that sort of fulfilling sense of home and community? Is it simply because that was the only place I felt I actually belonged? Should I eliminate “simply” from my previous sentence?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband. He also is my sense of home and community. And the friends I’ve been fortunate to gain in this post-Teton life are wonderful.
But oh God I miss it.