We have been having meetings in Waddington on Thursday nights. This means we get home kind of late, after dark. Which means that we are able to admire the fireflies. Driving home last week I was thinking about how fireflies were one of the reasons we left Alaska. I didn't want my kids to grow up without knowing what fireflies were like.
Pretty much, we gave up all of that, plus marvy friends, for flies who can make their bottom light up. We are easily impressed by phosphorus.
But of course, there is more to it than that. We loved Alaska. If it was next door, we would live there. But it isn't. And we love New York. People always ask Justin if he is really happy here. As though there is no way he could be. This tends to drive him crazy. He makes fun of the hills we call mountains (Adirondacks) and generally acts like he has superior mountains in his back pocket, but he loves it here. Northern NY isn't breathtaking. It isn't stunning. It isn't travel-for-5,000-miles worth it. It isn't a Rocky Mountain high. But there is something about it that really does make it worthwhile to give all the rest of it up. I think it might be the fireflies.
I was homesick a lot in Alaska. Homesick while simultaneously loving AK. I didn't want to leave, but I didn't want to stay. I used to envy planes flying over head, heading out. I used to feel marooned. And then so unbelieveably lucky that I could see Denali on clear days when walking to our post office. This was all worse after living in CO for a year, where we traveled for a living and wandered backroads most weekends. Alaska doesn't have backroads. Did you know that? They have a few, like the Old Glenn that are old main roads, but you can't get from Wasilla to Anchorage on anything but one road. And we are talking 45 miles here.
I think one of the things that I missed the most was the coziness of NNY wilderness. Alaskan mountains didn't care. They were just to busy being gorgeous to care about anything. In contrast, the Adirondacks are old and smoothly rounded with age and flattened to comfortable climbing inclines. They are trying to make you love them. Life was just way more raw up there. People died weekly from wilderness experiences.
So we traded in the last frontier for coziness. But we are happy about it. Because even if Alaska wins the landscape comeptition, New York has maple trees, summer days so hot you can smell the asphalt, warm darkness, summer stars, farms, haying, backroads, weekend road trips, pine trees, squash, tomatoes, grandparents for my kids, marvy friends, lower shipping costs.... Oh and fireflies.
And really, this landscape isn't bad as a consolation prize.