Great White

Apparently I’ve been a little off-kilter lately, hormonal and weepy (it’s a way more tranquil substitute for the angst and bitchiness I tend to throw around in moments of anxiety that can draw on for weeks at a time). I was getting all nostalgic recently, throwing around the idea of driving my daughter up to one of my childhood homes in Upper Michigan. Next summer sounded like the perfect time for our grand adventure.  I already had our trip planned in my head, our mental itinerary taking us through the mountains of far reaching Georgia northward to Mackinac Island.  We would take a carriage ride through the pedestrian-only streets of this idyllic resort town, sampling fresh air and locally made fudge.  And by the time we made it to Gwinn, Michigan, after 24 hours in the car, we would spend a few days in my old house, now available through a resort program (ever since the military base shut down, the base housing has been promoted for seasonal rental). 

Which means I would be able to go home.

But, Dena, isn’t Florida your home? Haven’t you lived in Florida long enough to call it home?

Technically, yes.  It is.  Because it’s where I live now.  For now.  Right now.  But there’s always a part of me that wants to go somewhere else, anywhere else.  When I was a little girl, my brother and I used to trade bedrooms, only to move our clothing and personal items around and leave the beds and dressers behind. As an adult, I feel this compulsion to paint the walls a different color or hang a new set of drapes to match my brand new comforter.  I need change, even if it means moving the head of my bed against a different wall so I can have something else to look at, the same damn thing but from another perspective.

So on a whim, I started imagining life in Upper Michigan again.  The simplicity of a small but educated town (Marquette, Michigan is home to Northern Michigan University also known as Howard Schultz’s alma mater.  He’s the CEO & founder of Starbucks.), a shelter for my child from the crime-ridden city of Jacksonville, a still untouched part of the country that specializes in natural beauty and outdoor wonderment.

Then I remembered this:


That’s me on top of a snow pile near my kitchen window, which is barely visible due to the snowdrift.  I seem to be smiling and happy, though that could be a symptom of a subnormal brain temperature.  My badass moonboots have been swallowed by the Great White and my front yard has been MIA for about 6 months.  It’s really difficult to tell if this picture was taken in November or April considering this is what Fall, Winter, and Spring all look like in that part of the world. A habitable tundra with moments of sunshine that blind you no matter where you look (since the white of the snow reflects the brightness of the sun).  Your retinas are pretty much screwed for nine months of the year.

Yep. I like Florida just fine. I’m thinking this weekend I’ll go to the beach because when I get like this, all hormonal and weepy, it usually means my skin hasn’t soaked up enough sunshine.  My body’s lack of natural sunlight must have an effect on my brain because…well, just go back to the picture of me standing on top of a 7 foot pile of snow.

Snow + kid = yay! fun! Winter Wonderland!

Snow + adult = snowshovels! driving on dangerously slippery roads! seasonal depression!

What was I thinking?

One day, one fine summer’s day, I just might take Elle to my childhood home.  It’s such beautiful country up there. I miss it. I miss it terribly.  It isn’t home.  Not anymore, at least.  But it will always be a part of me.


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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2 Responses to Great White

  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for posting this picture….it makes not feel so oppressively hot outside.

  2. Pingback: 30-Day Challenge: Day 6 « Two Girls and a Road

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