The season of unknowingness has arrived, and it's extra-ugly this year.
It's only 50 degrees out but the briskness is telling; I'm already starting to transform. The sweats are coming out. The skin is getting dry. The mood is flattening (plummeting?). Fall is stunning but it's always been too short, too ominous to truly enjoy. It's a transition. We are moving toward the BIG WAIT, but its meaning is compounded this time around because there is the oh-so-miniscule possibility that this will be our last winter in the upper midwest.
Dare I allow myself to think such a thing? Dare I allow myself to believe that we could escape? Talking to an old friend today, I explained our situation and how we really have no idea where we will end up next year. She asked, "wouldn't it really suck to have to start over again?"
My immediate, unqualified answer: "No." And I meant it.
I have come to understand that I am not built to live here. I mentioned this to Matt last night, and I've said it before. I drove past a set of empty tennis courts yesterday and thought, hey, that would be a great place for Matt and I to play some tennis when he gets back from San Diego. Then it occurred to me: when Matt gets back from San Diego, tennis is kind of out of the question. November signifies the shutting down of traditional outdoor activities in this part of the country. Tennis is a warm weather sport--do you ever see tennis players in sweat pants and parkas? I don't think so.
Milwaukee has changed me, certainly. I used to think that California was the only place to live. I now know that isn't true. Moving here made me begin to realize that our great dastardly country is absolutely chock-full of habitable cities: places with coffee shops, theaters, festivals, music, parks, markets, colleges, airports....every state has at least a few of these. Some of em are way too full of Republicans, but hey, so it goes. This is a wonderful city, and there are wonderful people here. We will survive wherever we go...and you never know, we may even find a place we love.
But in general, I've decided, the sun isn't optional. I LOVE heat. I could sweat all day. Even in Houston this past summer--which, incidentally, I'm pretty convinced is the hottest mosquito-laden hell on this planet--I made an effort to be outside, and I was happy. The sun, the water--give me a pool, a bay, a lake, some hot weather, and I will float and splash all day and I will be content. Sure, it could get old, choking on that miserable-thick air. But I will NEVER believe it is worse than 5 months of frigidity.
Even though I know these feelings might have no influence insofar as our near future is concerned, I do believe it will influence our distal outcome. The upper midwest is a niche. Those who grew up here love this place and will never leave. We have survived three years here and we realize that it has much to offer. And maybe I am just being reactionary but lately, I think the southwest is as deep a part of me as anything else I am, or do. I adore the topography; the desert and the mountains, the colors, the diversity of the people. The horses! The cow towns!!
I could start over. I've done it before, I could do it again. I have met so many wonderful people here and overall, it has been a worthwhile experience. If we stay here another five years, we will survive. But I know we won't be here forever. It's like we are just waiting to go home.