I just spent a blustery sunny couple of days in Chicago, and then a couple more in mid-Michigan, where dark herds of deer casually watched from smooth white hills as our rental car hurtled by. (Knowing, from experience, what the heft of a deer’s body can do to a car, and what a car can do to a deer’s body, their quiet silhouettes enfold a tense undertone. “Stay, stay, stay…” we whisper.) Aside from family and friends who I miss, I have been so content to live in the Northwest. I am pleased to be in a place where water and rock make up the landscape, where ferns and moss keep the ground green all winter long. I love the bounty of the land year round– the fact that you can buy local produce any time, and learn the climate’s own rhythms in order to eat seasonally.
But here is what I have to say about some things that I miss. I love feeling crisply cold air rush at me as I walk outside, and feeling my heart warm my extremities when I walk at a good clip, even while my face and lungs still feel the icy air. I love old buildings in cities (like Chicago) that were built up considerably before the 1900s… coated with baroque ornament and guarded by carved beasts. I love when snow makes the sky darker than the land, and when plum-green-brown stands of trees divide them at intervals.