The house is full of photos I have taken and framed. Most of them are from North Carolina -- I realized this today and, to be honest, it startled me a little because if you asked me about living in North Carolina, I'd tell you that I didn't love it. But if that's true, why surround myself with these images?
Maybe I don't know myself that well.
Because the truth is that I've been thinking of going back. I never thought this would happen. But then, I didn't realize how hard it would be to be separated from my family for this length of time. Voluntary exile is still exile even if you signed up for it.
And yet. I love New England. I love being with my friends.
So I have these pictures. The morning glories that grow wild in fields and ditches glow a brilliant purple against my pale walls. Wisteria drips from tree branches above my bed. In the living room, orange and yellow mums fiercely guard a copper garden lantern. I remember taking each one, standing. Snapping. Being present in that moment.
And I think, how I want to go back.
I know, though, that this is the trick of photographs -- the trick and the lie. Because they contain all of the beauty and none of the loneliness. They remind me of lovely, perfect moments and hide all of the flawed ones. That's what they're for. It's what they do.
So I surround myself with images of North Carolina, and sometimes I dream of it, the autumn fields outside of Hinnant, the cornstalks covered with flowers, wild red, purple, pink, white, blue. Winter rye rippling in the wind. Cotton bursting white against the ground. And I stay here, where the fall will blaze with colour and the snow will fall all too long, where I can stand by the sea and dream of other times than these.
And where I can take more pictures that I will carry with me if I choose to go.