Posted on | January 30, 2014 | 1 Comment
When I first moved to Macon, I cried.
I told my mother that the only things that could possibly flourish here were cows and insisted that the FIRST thing I would do after law school was get the hell out of this, well, hell. But then I got engaged, both with a diamond and with this city, and I stuck around. My soon-to-be husband hated Macon when he moved here as much as I’d hated it, and he constantly plotted our exit, finally succeeding when we packed up and headed to Savannah in July of 2010. From the moment I arrived there I thought: “This. This is where I’m meant to live.” It was eclectic and old and charming and crazy and I loved it. I thought I’d stay there forever, or at least for a while.
But then, there was heartache, divorce and a house still for sale in Macon. There were bills to pay, and a child to raise, and before I knew it, my car was trekking back down I-16, following the familiar path back to the place that had been my home for the better part of seven years. Savannah, I thought, held my heart in a way Macon never would. Although I’d only spent ten months there, driving each day over the cresting bridge to the islands, I felt that no where else would ever capture my soul that way again. I reluctantly moved back into my Macon house, announcing to anyone who stood still long enough that I was NOT from Macon and would NOT remain in Macon any longer than was necessary to find a way back to somewhere, anywhere else.
The first six months were full of agony. The first six months held the realization that old friends were no longer friends, the married couples I used to see no longer welcomed me into their homes with the same warmth of spirit. Divorce felt contagious and I was quarantined. I felt lonely and isolated and… well… stuck. I blamed it on Macon… this hell hole of a city that held nothing but the memories of a time when I was happy: Law School, Engagement, Early Marriage, Pregnancy. The first six months were agony.
Slowly, I settled in… embracing the regularity of routine: get up, drop J off at daycare, drive to work. Slowly I decorated and pruned and plucked and embraced, learning to breathe in the familiarity, the usual places and people and things. Slowly, Macon stopped feeling like hell and began to resemble, well… home. There were new friends to embrace, old friends to reacquaint myself with, special people and places who signed their names on my heart with a flourish of dearest calligraphy.
And then, so unexpectedly, I fell in love: mind, body, soul, heart… with the rise of the river, with the patterns of speech, with directions that invariably included something along the lines of “turn right at the old ____” and referenced a building or restaurant or store that hadn’t been at that particular site since long before I even moved to the town. I fell in love with the richness of the history, the warmth of the emotion in the people who had been born, raised, and baptized in the Southern charm that was and is and hopefully will be this town that has become my home and my heart. I fell in love with the potential that is here… the heart-aching potential that screams from every rooftop that if someone, anyone would just listen… this place could be special.
So I’m listening.
I’m wrapping my arms around this town I once rejected, embracing it as my own and realizing slowly that home is not necessarily the place you intended to end up. Home is not the perfect, the pristine, or even, maybe, the enchanting. It is not where you see yourself going… home is quite simply where you are.
And I am here, in Macon, Georgia… and my heart tells me that finally, finally, it is home.