This place is always going to be home. It really is. Even if my house is no longer here, even if I don’t step foot in New York for another decade, this place will always be home. And I’m sure that there will be many more places that I will call home in my life, but no place, except my eternal home, will ever truly be to me what this place has been, and will always be. This is home.
On Friday evening, Leigh and I drove to her family’s lake home on Keuka Lake, one of the gorgeous Finger Lakes. We left at my favorite time of day–right around sunset. There is nothing like an amazing summer sunset here. The colors of the sky are gorgeous as they set over the rolling green hills surrounding Canandaigua and Keuka Lakes–our route to her lake house. I just love how green everything is, and the colors of these country lanes in the fading sun. We had the windows down and could feel the balmy breeze of a beautiful spring/summer night. I love the drive so much because it is absolutely gorgeous to travel through these country rows, past picturesque farms, fields of endless wildflowers, and pretty vineyards. Everything is just so green and even smells so green. Fresh and alive. However I am quite convinced that there is nothings so great as the scent of a fresh water lake.
We reached Keuka right as the last moments of the remaining light from the sun began to fade. We sat on the dock as the world got dark, drinking in the scene.
It stays light out a lot later here than it does in California, probably because we are so much further north. But that night, and last night as well, was everything I ask out of and love about a summer evening in upstate New York.
Somehow Leigh and I found it within ourselves to be productive and do homework once we got to the lake, which I certainly was proud of us for. Technically my summer school courses haven’t even started yet, and I’ve already gotten multiple assignments done. I just hope that I can keep on top of my work so that I don’t become completely stressed out about school on top of everything else that I have going on.
Yesterday morning, Leigh and I woke up mid-morning to a gorgeous sunny day to spend at the lake. We walked up East Lake Road past many beautiful summer cottages, enjoying catching up about our lives and sharing many great memories from the past, greeting each person that we walked past in the friendly and familiar way that people do here. We laid out on the dock for most of the afternoon, being snowed upon by the cottonwood trees, talking about high school and all of the fun things that we have done together, as well as about our futures and what we still hope to achieve. It was the perfect day–not too hot, not too humid–to just bask in the glorious sun on one of my favorite lakes. I’ve had so many great memories on Keuka Lake over the years, and am happy that I got to add one more.
After a great day in the sun, Leigh and I met up with her mom and two of her sisters in Penn Yan, where we went out to dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. It was just so nice to be somewhere that felt so homey. There are so many differences between the east coast and the west. And I am convinced that Orange County is also some other microcosm of the world that is different than the rest of California as well. I enjoyed sitting in a nice, family-run restaurant decorated with beautiful pictures of the Finger Lakes with people who have been eating in this same place for years, and that all knew each other. I love being in a place where people sit out on their front porches and walk through the yards to talk to their neighbors. Where kids are safe to roam free and play outside until their parents yell for them to come in when it is dark. That is what I had growing up, and it does not exist in the same way in California. There are things that I like about both places, but the east coast is my love. New York is my love.
Also, the highlight of going out to dinner last night was getting to sit two tables over from an Amish family. They fascinate me.
Once again, Leigh and I drove home at twilight last night, and we talked about my love for Fairport. I love this place. I always will. But I know that there are so many things that I am doing in my time here, that I have been doing each time that I have come home since I went out west, that I do simply because it is what I have always done. That’s what I love about it so much in some ways, but I do know that I am always doing the same things and wanting to see the same things because it is what I have always done. It breaks my heart in so many ways knowing how much I love this place but being able to completely see that this is not where my life is anymore. I chose California when I chose to go to school out there in 2006. I chose it again when I left last June. In choosing California, I declared that this is not where my life is. It will always be home because it has always been home. And I will always love it for that reason. But when I am here, it is almost like my life is standing still. It’s not progressing. It’s familiar, comfortable, stable. And I enjoy that. But I can’t live in that continually. And it’s hard because in so many ways I want to.
There have been three showings of my house since I have been home. It is so bare compared to what it used to be. The homeyness of my home is gone. It is so empty. Still familiar, but different. An echo of what it used to be. And each time that I leave the house and then come back, another piece of furniture, or something, is gone, as various items are being sold and taken away. It’s like a slow death, and I’m watching it get worse day-by-day. Yet even though it is different than the home that I have grown up loving, I still love it, and I will hold on until the very last moment. I hate it as it currently is, but I still am dreading having to part with it. This is my favorite place in the whole entire world. It means the world to me.