Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Where You Hang Your Hat

It's a scorcher. Now in my beloved Kansas, we don't have a great deal of variety in August. This month promises grasses yellowed with heat and little water, inconsistent winds, and kids either wet from the pool or on their way there. Sometimes we have enough humidity to melt your socks (it's at 75% right now). The sun is blinding, the rain is short lived (we've flooded badly this year, so that's a mixed blessing.) Folks get up early in order to tend their gardens and run their errands, because by one o'clock no one wants to be out.

August is also the promise of a new year to most of the people I know. I work in the schools, and my kids attend school, so August is the beginning of the year for us. It's also a time when haying is well under way or wrapping up, and although the floods were rough on our wheat, the corn looks absolutely stunning.

My vision of summer was defined by a lifetime of Kansas, until last year, when we spent all of Jume and July in Vermont. For the first time, I understood the concept of a "summer sweater." I put on a sweatshirt to greet each morning. I wore long pants on the fourth of July! We adored every second of our time in that new and gorgeous landscape.

However, I was pretty darn grumpy by my third week back East, and I couldn't understand why, until a very nice co-worker of my husband's who was originally from Iowa said, "It's claustrophobic here, isn't it?"

OMG--that's it! Those endless hills, as beautiful as they are, block everything around you unless you're sitting on top of them. I'm used to flat. We have trees as well, but they are spread out, and you can see for miles, most of the time. I felt better when we spent time in Maine, and I could sit and look at the ocean.

My heart belongs to the plains of the Midwest. I could sit and soak up the rolling Flint Hills forever. I love the cicadas trilling outside my windows, and the fact that a full basement makes me the most popular neighbor on the block every April and May.

The world is a big place. What corner of it holds your heart, if not your hat?


promoteyourblogforfree said...

nice blog

Kelly Krysten said...

That was lovely! My heart belongs any place my family is.

Maggie Robinson said...

I've lived in quite a few states and traveled through more, but I'm happy I wound up in Maine. I don't live on the coast anymore, but the western foothills of the mountains, but it's very beautiful with lakes, rivers, etc. And Gillian, my husband turned on the HEAT the other day here because he was cold! We start school the last week of August, which is far too soon.

AprilsMom said...

Isn't there a line in "The Great Gatsby" that Nick has about Life starting all over again in the Fall?

I love the horizon-to-horizon sunsets of the MidWest, the sense of being able to see for miles. Like you, I also love the ocean and the beach, and would find it very claustrophobic to live in a valley! And did you know that summer cicadas sound differently in different parts of the country? It makes sense when you think about it,(variety of the species) but I had never thought about it until I experienced it!

Lovely images in your blog.

Gillian said...

Hi guys!

Rain is falling this morning, quite a surprise, but it won't last. My first day back to work today. Summer flew!

Kelly, that is so true.
Maggie--what can I say? Maine is amazing.
April'smom- I did not know that! Now I'll be trying to listen when I travel :)

Alice Audrey said...

I, on the other hand, am quite happy in a valley. Or I would be if it weren't fire season and the valley has filled with smoke.

CM said...

Nowhere, really, for me.

My fiance is from Colorado Springs, and he feels the same way you do. He wants big sky on the one side of him and ridiculous mountains on the other. Since this pretty much only happens in Colorado, he thinks there's nowhere else to live. :)

Gillian said...

Oh Alice, isn't that always the way? Either floods or droughts. I'll hope rain heads your direction.

CM, we adore Colorado Springs. The weather, the Garden of the Gods, and the fact that when you drive from Kansas to Colorado with yogert cups, they explode when you open them (an excellent science lesson.)

doglady said...

Beautiful blog, Gillian, but I am not surprised! There are a couple of places like that for me. We lived in a little village in England called Kelsale. It was like something out of a Jane Austen novel. My mother gave us a photograph of us three kids with our father on Easter Sunday and the sky in it is just so blue. I loved my little cottage in Freilassing Germany because I could see the Alps from my front porch. I loved the beach at Biloxi. My husband did an internship at the VA Psychiatric Hospital there. It was right on the beach and we walked and talked on that beach for hours. We spent a lot of time in New Orleans too. Walked and talked a lot there too. I love my five little acres in the woods. There are times when I believe I am in my own little world. I see wild turkeys, foxes, owls, bats, woodpeckers, raccoon, rabbits and deer and when we lock eyes and just exist together for a few moments it soothes my soul.

ERiCA said...

I'm torn! My heart is equally in love with Spain (specifically Madrid--I love that city!) and Costa Rica (specifically Nuevo Arenal--I have so many friends there). Each place is magical to me for its own reasons. I love the big-city-ness of Madrid coupled with all that culture and history. And Costa Rica is quite simply the most beautiful place I've ever been in my life.

Great post!

Gillian said...

Oh, hugs to you, doglady! How I envy the travels in your life, and most of all I love how you obviously appreciated the unique beauty of each place you have lived.

Welcome Erica! You know, one of my uncles travels the world with his work, and also said Madrid is amazing. It needs to go on my list of places to visit, I think :)

Ericka Scott said...

My heart belongs where my family is....