I haven’t been back to CT since moving to CO almost 15 months ago – at least until this past weekend. I wasn’t sure what it would feel like. What places had changed. What places had stayed the same. I was most interested in seeing whether my perspectives had changed it all. Would it feel like I was “back home” after a vacation or would it be the vacation? Due to the mad rush of the shortest feeling “long” weekend ever (and the fact that I was sick but trying to push through), I think it’ll take a while and some reflection to answer most of those questions. Or maybe my fried brain didn’t actually absorb enough to answer any of them. Time will tell.
There were a few things that did jump out at me though, even in my fogged mental state… Above-ground power lines are really really ugly. That’s something that as a native you automatically filter out and don’t notice until you move somewhere that doesn’t have them. So many potentially scenic shots were ruined by gross looking rows of power lines. Of course within a half day of being back, I was no longer noticing them again. I also managed to find the answer to my oft-pondered question “why do long drives go by so much faster in CO?” 2-3 hour drives have become routine on weekends since moving out there. They don’t even feel that terrible or long. That same length drive in New England is agony. Even a ride half that length sucks. It only took me from the airport to Plainville to finally realize why. It’s the damn trees. You can’t see anything while driving. It’s always an endless hallway of trees. CO has amazing and diverse views that never get old. CT has… trees here, trees there, more trees ahead.
Something I missed more than I realized is the beach. Many people find the mountains and wilderness areas to be their ultimate relaxation spots – aside from weed, that’s the primary reason people move to CO. As much as I try to adopt that mentality, they don’t relax me at all. I see adventure and challenges, and I want to go and do. Nothing about them makes me want to sit, stare, and clear my mind – quite the opposite. The brief, freezing minutes I stood on the empty beach in Old Lyme are the most relaxing minutes I’ve had since moving. Having one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen may have been a contributing factor (see title image). In fact, the top three relaxing and at-peace moments of my life have all involved evenings on the beach. I need to make a mental note-to-self to fit in a beach vacation in 2017.
Seeing people I haven’t seen since moving was, of course, cool too. One of my friends noted that after a couple of hours together it felt like I never left. I think that sums up the trip pretty well. By the second day back, it did indeed feel like I never left. I could have gone back to my old routine without missing a beat. I picked up with friends right where we left off. That made the entire past year feeling like a lucid dream. In some respects I blame the air travel. Flying always has a way of making me feel like I’m being teleported or put in a time machine. You get loaded into a giant, noisy cigar tube, you can’t see much because the douche next to you that had to have the window has the shade drawn, so you take a nap and wake up in a very different place. Flying doesn’t allow for the same level of continuity as driving, and it’s that continuity that gives me the feeling I’ve actually traveled. You can’t really see the land change or feel the climate change in a plane. You’re in one place – then you’re in another. Throw in some massive sinus pressure/pain clouding your thinking and it’s easy to wonder whether the experience is real or a day-dream. On top of all that, there’s the incredibly hectic nature of the past 15 months (and maybe even going back two years, as the move stress began long before the move day itself). Even in spite of mini-vacas and attempts to wind down, it still feels like my feet haven’t quite hit the floor yet out here. It’s not what I was expecting to walk away from the trip with, but it’s actually CO that feels like a very long vacation, during which I have to work, of course.