On Finding Home

Vermont - back roads 1

I grew up on Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and Christy (the book, not the short-lived television series).  I idolized those feisty heroines, and I peered into their small-town lives like a kid looking through the window at a chocolate bar. 

Why are we drawn to the things we're drawn to?  Why do we love the things we love? 

I don't have the answer.  And honestly, I don't need to.  I just know that for as long as I can remember, I've pined for a small-town life, a rural life, a life with gardens and farm animals, with pantries full of home-canned goods, with potlucks, open fields, and trips into town where I run into people I know.
Vermont - Route 100 (2)
We moved to Newnan when I was thirteen.   It was a big city by any Walnut Grove standards - Laura Ingalls wouldn't have known what to do with herself. (Imagining Laura's reaction to my daily experiences was one of my favorite activities as a child - Laura in a car!  Laura watching television!  Laura in a Walmart!)  But in comparison to Atlanta, where I had spent my life until then, it was the small town I had dreamed of.  It had a town square with a courthouse and thriving shops.  The churches and the high school building looked like they'd materialized straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  I reveled in an ecstasy of quaintness. 

My sister, 5 1/2 years younger, missed Atlanta.  She's a city girl at heart.  I can't explain her love of Times Square anymore than I can explain my love of a General Store.  But I instantly adored Newnan.  My years in high school there, and the summers during college, were wonderful.  I got to experience a little bit of the feel of "small town America."  I loved the absence of anonymity, the friendliness, and the warmth.  I thought I would settle down there.  Or somewhere else just like it.

And then I came out.  By the time it happened, Newnan was mostly behind me.  I was a senior in college, heading to graduate school in DC.  But I mourned the loss of my small town dream. Though there are plenty of gay people who live in small towns in the south, it's often not an easy experience.  I am in constant awe of those who push those boundaries, but I knew that I wanted to live in a place where my children would know other children with two moms or two dads, where my legal right (and my partner's legal right) to protect and care for our children would be solid, where we would be just another couple on the block.

I loved Newnan, but I also knew it wasn't that place.  The same slow pace of life that I loved (and still love) can sometimes translate into a resistance to change.  It will come, I know.  But not just yet.

And then I met Navah, and through her, I met Burlington, Vermont.  I was immediately smitten.  Navah had worked there for a couple years before law school and told me early on that she planned to move back.  She took me for the first time over New Years.  We'd been dating for two months.  I tease her sometimes that we're really only together because of that trip.  I wanted Burlington. 

Vermont 57
It was everything I had loved about Newnan - quaint and warm and friendly - but also progressive and gay-friendly.  There were sing-alongs and potlucks, and we ran into old friends at the neighborhood grocery co-op.  And snow like I had never seen!

Of course, there's no news alert there.  I'm not the first (or the 1,000th) lesbian to get excited about Burlington.  It's in our blood, I guess.

No, the news alert is this:  After Nine Years in the Big City, Small-Town Loving Lesbian Heads For Burlington VT.

That's right!  I'm packing up.  Well, not quite yet.  Remember how I said there was trudging through the mud that had to happen?  I'm still there.  Trudging.  Navah took a great job up there at the beginning of October, so I'm holding down the fort here in DC until I leave my job in mid-January.  I'm still too close to that situation to say much about it, but it has been hard.  You may notice that there's been very little domesticity happening here on the blog.  That's because there's been very little domesticity happening in my life.  And when it does happen, I rarely have time to take pictures and post about it.  So I'm trudging along and missing Navah.

But I'm also getting a little slap happy about the next step.  I'm proud of us for pointing ourselves toward the life we want and going for it in spite of the scary parts (we both have to take the bar again, I don't have a job, and we're moving further away from all of our family).  Picking up and moving to a new place isn't easy.  Aside from all the logistical considerations, there are those pesky emotions.  As much as we wanted to get out of DC, we're leaving good friends and a lot of memories.  And though Navah lived and worked in Burlington before, I'm venturing into new territory.  Vacationing in a place and living there are two different worlds.  I'll be making new friends, learning new places, building a new life.  Exciting and scary.  Scary and exciting.  Isn't that always how it is?  Plus I've heard it's cold there.

I'm kidding.  I know it's cold.  I've been there in the winter. 

But seriously, I've heard it's cold

Guess I better get a good coat. 

Because Vermont, HERE I COME!!

Just a Saturday in Vermont