As someone who moves around a lot, I struggle with a sense of being settled. My husband and I have made two major moves from Connecticut to Florida and Florida to Iowa. We have not stayed in the same place for long.
One of my close friends endearingly refers to us as nomads. We pick up and move. I have struggled to find roots in a new place where we have no connections. As you can probably guess by now, I love relationships and I think connection is the reason I am here.
I have spent the last nearly two weeks with my mother and sister in Maine. As a child, I came here every summer. We at one point owned a house here, a house that is no more. Being here makes me feel a connection, I have stories and memories associated with being here. I grew up here. My life has changed since then some for the better and some for the worse. I sit on the beach and I just come alive, I feel like the ocean is a part of who I am and I treat any chance to be near it as a minor miracle. I love looking out into the sea and feeling so small. One thing I have noticed about being here is other people. I have witnessed moments of connection, a waiter high-fiving a girl about her pancakes, a husband pulling his wife to safety with a smile on his face indicating how typical this is, and a boy with cherry juice dried on his chin mid-hike. I witness the best of humanity in people I do not know and probably will never meet. I have changed and become less jaded since I was here last. On a walk today I said some variation of Hi, Hello or Good Morning to a half dozen people. Those who I didn’t greet with words I greeted with a smile. I do have a sense of place here, but these moments give me hope that we can find the best of humanity if we are willing to look, to see, and to witness. I may be a nomad or I may settle, but no matter what I know a sense of place takes time, it takes years and memories and exploration. I know I can do that. I also know that it isn’t the place itself that is special but rather the memories and the feelings. Yes, the ocean may always speak to me, but so does the big sky in Iowa. Everywhere has something to love and someone to love, friends. Seeing the connections here even among strangers makes me realize we are more connected than we think. We have more in common than we believe and we can see the best if we are willing to look.