Minneapolis, Aug. 23

Being back in the Midwest, even if only for a few days, has me realizing how much it’s possible to miss a thing once it’s suddenly before you again.

The recognition was instantaneous as the Lyft whisked me from the airport to my hotel tonight. I may have grown up hours south of the streets we traveled along, but what I saw from the car window was home.

I left nearly three years ago and am only just now beginning to comprehend what an ex-pat life I’ve been living. Then, I sought and found something different, but here now is the familiar. The achingly familiar…

The trees: oak, ash, maple, and elm. The verdant shades their leaves parade as they dance on this furnace-like breeze.

Place names like “Hiawatha” and “Minnetonka,” “Peshtigo” and “Oconomowoc.” The way each rolls off my tongue as I cast them faintly out the open windowpane.

Rusted out grain silos holding court against newly-built apartment complexes. Building upon building of burnished crimson brick.

The unfailing humidity of late summer…but when did my pin-straight hair suddenly turn frizzy?

Clouds: big, bulbous things with heat-lightning in their bellies. They’re putting on a show for anyone who chances to look upward from their dinner table, or more likely, their phone.

The incessant hum of locusts droning outward from hiding places in heavy-laden branches and overgrown grasses.

Rivers swollen from a summer deluge. From hearty, well-fed, rain drops; dousings and sheets of rain.

And upon arrival to my hotel, there’s “Please” and “Thank You” and smiles from strangers.

The Midwest is just as I remember it, though not quite as I left it.

And it’s never felt more like home.

 

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