Letter From New York 10 12 15 You can’t go home again, even if it’s nice…

It is 7:30 PM and it is dark already. I’m headed north on the 7:15 Amtrak out of Penn towards home after two weeks of wandering. Baltimore followed by Indianapolis followed by Minneapolis and now home. I made a stop in New York and listened as Howard Bloom recorded his podcast, “Howard Bloom Saves the Universe.” Look him up in your iTunes store. He’s very good, very funny and very wise.

Having not had very much to eat today, as in almost nothing, I stopped and got some California Roll from Penn Sushi and ate it while waiting for the train to start its journey north, which it has. I would love to be able to watch the river but it’s too dark, the river is hidden.

Minneapolis is a lovely town. There are an infinite number of things to do in the city of my birth. Often I have described my youth as being what it must have been like to grow up in one of the great provincial capitals of Europe. It has the Minnesota Orchestra, back to making music after a crippling strike. The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, the Walker, the Guthrie, an amazing theatre scene. One Uber driver said to me that in Minneapolis/St. Paul you found a college on almost every corner. Which is almost true.

The city is freshly spruced. Every building looked like it had just been splashed with a fresh coat of paint. Everything was sparkling clean and looked like the glistening city of the future. Unemployment is low and the city is prospering.

But I sampled none of the intellectual delights of my hometown. I spent all my time visiting with people, my friends and family, people that have been important to me over the years.

When I taught high school there I became close to one of the families involved with the school, the Elsens. I spent an afternoon with them at a restaurant. Don is 88 and his force of nature wife, Betty, has been dead now almost ten years. Julie was there as was her cousin Brenda. After Don and Julie left, Brenda stayed to chat with me. She wanted to let me know that I was the only teacher she had in her life she felt “saw” her. I was humbled.

There were long mornings of coffee with my brother and sister-in-law, Deb, and a long and lovely lunch with my ex sister-in-law, Sally, with whom I laughed and cried.

I have deep roots in Minneapolis though one morning, driving to some get together, I also realized that the old phrase, “ You can’t go home again,” is true. I have roots but I no longer belong there.

All was familiar but I am no longer a citizen of that place; I am a citizen, for now, of Columbia County, where I have lived for, for me, a long time. And now I am on the train, headed back to the little cottage by the creek, looking forward to being in that space, surrounded by my things, to be able in the morning to sit on the deck while having coffee and to think about the future and not the past.

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