Things are good these days. I have a wonderful relationship, a husband who cares for me even when I'm cranky and a touch on the chemically irrational side of things, good friends, and a degree program that's going well. My house is in good shape even if it does need a bit more care than I can give it the next three weeks. I have food and clothes and my car works and my kids are healthy and happy and my parents and brother are all well. No one has been blown up or swept off to Oz. My life is measurably better in pretty much every way here than it had been for a really long time.
Despite all this, there are things I miss.
I miss driving to the top of my hill in Seattle in the morning and gazing off at the misty Olympic mountains on the other side of the Sound, with the Cascades in my rear view mirror.
I miss the green chile tuna melts at the Columbia City Ale House, with a glass of hard cider to go with it.
I miss the green chile in Albuquerque altogether.
I miss the scent of cedar smoke in the air in Albuquerque, on an early spring morning when the light is rose and gold in the sky.
I miss reaching out to my kids for a hug whenever I felt like it.
I miss watching the water ebb and flow at the lakeshore from the trail by the pine forest.
I miss sitting in the bay window of my second-story apartment and watching all the people in the street go by.
I miss the smooth hardwood floors under my feet and the built-in old fashioned china hutch at the end of living room.
I miss Rosie.
I miss dance classes and moving around the floor so smoothly I forget that it's just steps I'm taking, and feeling for a brief moment like I'm as graceful as I want to be.
I miss raising my voice in chorus and hearing it blend with everyone else's, and feeling the resulting chills travel across my skin, leaving goosebumps in their wake.
I acquire these mental snapshots slowly. These are not things I will ever recapture, not in anything but fleeting moments, if that. Some are gone temporarily, while others are gone forever. A bit of this is nostalgia, of course; these are isolated from the rest of whatever went on during that time, and that's as it should be. Nothing is ever perfect. I am still finding these moments here in my new life, and I say new knowing that I've been here for three years now, so how new can it really be? And yet it is. I am not naturalized yet here in Ohio. I do not fit. I still find things that take me by surprise, basic knowledge of this place that I am only now discovering. My snapshot book for the present is still sparse, and most of them involve an amazing person I ended up marrying rather than the places I inhabit. I guess that's why I still find myself thinking back this morning, to the best and brightest of what came before.
On days when senseless things happen and the aftermath is still rolling down upon us in waves of smoke and death and sorrow, it can seem unbearable. If I allow myself to dwell on humanity's seemingly boundless capability to be cruel to one another, it can feel like I might drown in despair that anything can ever be right again, if it ever was. I'm not exactly neurotypical to start with, and my buffer for emotion is small and easily overwhelmed, particularly if it's negative emotion. I don't process it well, and I find it all too easy to lose hope in the face of knowing that someone is so divorced from human feeling that they could rain death and destruction on others for any reason at all. The way I look past these things is to get out my mental book of snapshots and remember the awesome things that exist in the world, and know that even if I am parted from them, they go on unimpeded because the world is so much larger and more stable than anything any one person can do. I reorient myself in the scale of things through remembering the good until I feel stable once more.